Some have been in doubt whether or not to respond to "Another Branch of the Work," in Sept. 1 TOWER, and "Introducing Tower Tract Society Representatives," in Sept. 15 TOWER; because, while willing and anxious to donate some of their time to special service, and believing that by the grace of God they possess (and are growing in) the eight qualifications for special ministry mentioned, they are so situated, with families dependent upon them, etc., that they could give but little time to the service and could rarely go away from home,—unless the Tract Society could pay their home, as well as their traveling expenses.
We fear that we have been misunderstood by a few. It is not our purpose to start or to encourage a paid ministry. The funds at our command would be but a drop in the bucket for such an enterprise; and even if it were otherwise, we should doubt the wisdom of such a plan. One or two special representatives might be advisable, and they should be persons of remarkable humility and very clear in the truth—otherwise they themselves might be injured as much as others would be benefitted by them; but we would not think it advisable to divert to this branch more than a small part of the limited Tract Fund receipts now being expended in tract work, in the preparation of translations of DAWN in foreign languages, etc.
Voluntary service from all, at the sacrifice of some earthly comforts, conveniences, etc., seems to be the Lord's order of development. Those who do not serve from the love of the Lord, his people and his truth should not serve at all,—their service will do harm. He who serves from love, and according to his opportunities for sacrifice, will have his opportunities enlarged and his talents increased. He who does not so serve will not serve long, but will be speedily gathered out—into outer darkness, error: for he will "gather out of his Kingdom all things that offend, and them that do iniquity."
We had specially in mind certain brethren whose business calls them from place to place, and who we had reason to believe possessed the eight qualifications specified; and several of these have responded, glad to spend their Sundays and many of their evenings in visiting and helping the Lord's "little ones." We have accepted all so offering who have responded satisfactorily; and we trust that this branch of the service will accomplish much good during next year; for it will require some time to prepare lists of TOWER subscribers in so many towns.
But do not forget that the Colporteur work offers an open door to one of the most effective branches of the Lord's service. Those unincumbered can give their entire time thus, and pay their way; while those who can give but a few hours a week can be used also. And for such as are unincumbered, but too diffident and bashful to succeed as regular Colporteurs, we now have a new plan of work to suggest. "Go ye also into the Vineyard!"
It is not our design to supplant the DAWN and tract work, as a means for reaching the Lord's sheep with the "meat in due season;" for we know of no better method,—none nearly so good. The new branch of service is designed to "strengthen the brethren," to help them over difficulties and to lead them more and more to apply the truth and its spirit in their daily lives.
The form of certificate mentioned in our last issue is an old one, and is not quite satisfactory to us. We have gotten up what we believe is a better one, instead, a copy of which will be given in our next issue.