At nine o’clock on Thursday night, June 12, 1806, pioneer missionary William Carey, weary from the day’s labors, sat at his desk and wrote this letter in the flickering light of his oil lamp:
I rose this day at a quarter before six, read a chapter in the Hebrew Bible, and spent the time till seven in private addresses to God and then attended family prayer with the servants in Bengalee. While tea was pouring out, I read a little in Persian with a Moonshi [a native assistant] who was waiting when I left my bedroom. Read also before breakfast a portion of the Scriptures in Hindoosthanee. The moment breakfast was over sat down to the translation of the Ramayuna [an Indian epic] from Sangskrit, with a Pundit … continued this translation till ten o’clock, at which time I went to College (Fort William), and attended the duties there (teaching Bengali, Sanskrit, and Marathi) till between one and two o’clock—When I returned home I examined a proof sheet of the Bengalee translation of Jeremiah, which took till dinner time. … After dinner translated with the assistance of the chief Pundit of the College, greatest part of the 8th Chap. of Matthew, into Sangskrit—this employed me till six o’clock, after six sat down with a Tilingua Pundit … to learn that Language. Mr. Thomas (son of the Rev. Tho. Thomas of London) called in the evening; I began to collect a few previous thoughts into the form of a Sermon, at seven o’clock, and preached in English at half past seven. … The Congregation was gone by nine o’clock. I then sat down to write to you, after this I conclude the Evening by reading a Chapter in the Greek testament, and commending myself to God. I have never more time in a day than this, though the exercises vary.
Eustace Carey said that her uncle never displayed resentment at interruptions. He could give visitors his undivided attention then return immediately to his work. And he never took a furlough from missionary service, living and working in India for nearly 41 years.
“I can plod,” he once said. “To this I owe everything.”
Teach us to use wisely all the time we have. (Psalm 90:12)
Robert J. Morgan, On This Day : 265 Amazing and Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs & Heroes, electronic ed. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2000, c1997). June 11.