CONSIDERING the financial depression of the year ending Dec. 1, '93, which has very generally affected everybody and everything, it is not surprising that the work of the WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY also has been somewhat hindered.
We have many indications that the spiritual condition of the WATCH TOWER subscribers is bettertheir love and zeal strongerthan ever before; and this naturally would have meant larger donations to the Tract Fund and more of them,had it not been for the financial stringency. Under the circumstances, therefore, the showing of this report, below, is most satisfactory.
The fact that the donations aggregated little less than for '92 may therefore be considered an improvement of one-half over that year; and it will be remembered (refer to our report of one year ago) that '92 was a marked improvement over the several years preceding it.
Another item which no doubt influenced the total was the Chicago Convention. An estimate, made at the time, showed that the total expense of those who attended that Convention was five thousand dollars or more. This extra expense no doubt affected the Tract Fund receipts to a considerable extent. And while we have had many reports of good accomplished by that Convention, it is still a question whether the same time and money spent in colporteuring DAWNS, publishing and distributing Tracts, etc., might not have accomplished still more goodhave yielded still greater returns to the King's glory.
Indeed, we have been favorably impressed with a suggestion made by one who was present at the Chicago Convention, and who usually attends the Allegheny Convention, that hereafter our Conventions, held for several years past, be discontinued; that thus the interests of the general work would be conserved. And although we have enjoyed these annual gatherings greatlythe personal greetings and communions with visiting saintswe feel that there is wisdom in this suggestion of their discontinuance in favor of the Fund for the propagation of the truth by means of tracts, etc.
Another reason, almost as weighty, and one of growing importance to the work, is the [R1600 : page 379] item of time. Each year, as the number in attendance increases, the demands upon the time of the Editors of the WATCH TOWER increases; so that the time for preparation before these Conventions, and the time spent after them in getting caught up on work which meantime gets behind, in addition to the time spent during the Conventions, means in all two monthsthe one-sixth of each year. We of course enjoy this use of our time; and our only question is, regarding the best and wisest use of that time. It seems to us wisest and most to our Lord's praise to use this time for the benefit of all the saints in preparing and publishing truth in a printed form, at least until the MILLENNIAL DAWN series has been completed. Together, these considerations seem to us a sufficient reason for discontinuing the General Conventions heretofore held at Allegheny on the anniversary of our Redeemer's death. At all events, we can well dispense with the meeting next Spring, since it is so short a time since the Chicago Convention. And this economy will undoubtedly redound to the benefit of the work for '94.
We point with pleasure to this showing. While our total receipts would not amount to one half the salary of a popular preacher, the results are large. Our Society has no salaried officers, and the item of "Labor" is for mailing and other necessary work. Your donations go directly for the spread of the truth, according to our best judgment. We trust that all the friends will be pleased with the showing, especially those whose contributions are therein represented; and, more than all others, we trust that our Lord approves it.
The "Good Hopes" plan has proved so much of a blessing to those who have adopted it, that no doubt many will desire its continuance (It is not our plan but the Apostle's1 Cor. 16:2), laying by them on the first day of each week something for use in the Lord's cause.
We urge no one to give to this Society (those who approve the work and its methods need only to know of their opportunity), but we do urge all of our readers to follow the apostolic rule and set apart for the Lord's service a weekly thank-offering. If it be but one cent a day, or one cent a week even, it will surely bring a blessing.
It is fair to presume that all Christian people set apart some portion of their incomes for the propagation of what they believe to be truth. WATCH TOWER readers have learned that in the past they have unintentionally helped to spread error. The question for each to decide is, How can I now use time and means at my command, to the best advantage, in counteracting those errors and spreading the truth?for the glory of God and the blessing of his people? To all such we say, Consider carefully to what extent the WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY can assist you in this matter, and act according to your judgment.
While the colporteur work, for the circulating of MILLENNIAL DAWN, is under the supervision and patronage of this Society, it is self-supporting to a very large degree;the only [R1600 : page 380] liabilities being in the way of credits to Colporteurs (the Society now stands responsible for about $7,000.00 of such accounts, much of which, however, will yet be paid by the Colporteurs), and in the preparation of foreign translationson which account an item appears above in the Treasurer's account.
The number of Colporteurs engaged in this ministry of the truth is one hundred and fourteen: of these seventy-two give their entire time and the remainder almost all of their time to this service. Many of these have started quite recently. And besides these there are probably two thousand of our readers who do what they can, in connection with their ordinary duties of life.
All who report any effort expended in the service of the truth report corresponding blessings in their own hearts. They that watered others were themselves watered. They whose hearts burned with love to the Lord and his people, so that they were led to service and sacrifice, have been kept firm by the power of God in the truth.
Let us each watch, pray and labor during the new year. All who do so will be blest. He who is most faithful and earnest will be the most blest. The "harvest" is great indeed, and the laborers are few in comparison.