I have been reading Daniel Webber’s William Carey and the Missionary Vision (Banner of Truth Trust, 2005). It is a fairly easy read at about 50 or so pages of textual introduction to Carey’s An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (1792), a classic defense of missions, and Andrew Fuller’s The Instances, the Evil Nature, and the Dangerous Tendency of Delay, in the Concerns of Religion (1791), which played a vital role in garnering support for Carey’s vision as laid out in the Enquiry. Found this great piece of advice by Fuller to Carey when certain of their friends were clamouring for a likeness of Carey to be made. “Eight hundred guineas have been offered for Dr Carey’s likeness!,” Fuller wrote to Carey in India. Fuller rightly feared such fame might go to their heads and he gave this advice to his friend as well as to himself: “if we be kept humble and near to God, we have nothing to fear” (p.41). It is noteworthy that the first clause is in the passive. Fuller’s prayer to God for himself and Carey was: “Lord, keep us humble and near to Thee.”
Though we must use the means of grace to stay in the place of humility and use those same means to cleave to our God, ultimately this is his great work. If we are kept humble and near to him—then truly we have nothing to fear.