William Carey, egotism, and eternal ennui [boredom]

Writing to his dear friend Samuel Pearce in the autumn of 1795, William Carey told him: “Egotism is tedious…” [Letter to Samuel Pearce, October 2, 1795 in Periodical Accounts relative to the Baptist Missionary Society, I (1800), 215].

In the years that followed, Carey became something of a celebrity in the UK. He was very glad he was far away from most of it.

Why is egotism so tedious? Because to focus on the finite inevitably leads to boredom. But to focus on the Infinite God–infinite in glory, Infinite Beauty, infinite in kindness, infinite in goodness, Infinite Holiness–now that is a subject of which we shall never tire and it will take an eternity to plumb–and even then we shall not be done! And to be with men and women who are taken up with the Infinite God and filled with his glory and goodness and beauty–wow, what holy company, what fascinating fellowship–who would not want to be with such?

In this snippet of a comment, Carey joined that great theological conversation that had been going on since Origen postulated that the wicked angels fell because of satiety. Not so! But they and their fiendish leader are taken up with themselves–filled with egotistical pride–and what insufferable company to spend eternity with–eternal ennui–horrific the thought!

My thanks to Michael Haykin for this.

Peter serves as a pastor-teacher, at home and abroad, resourcing gospel-centred communities.

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