IT is with great pleasure, deep gratitude and profound recognition of the great Master's providential leadings, that we summarize and lay before our readers the results of their labors and ours with and under the great Chief Reaper in the present harvest work, for the past year—from Dec. 1, 1893 to Dec. 1, 1894.
We congratulate our readers that although the year has been marked by Satan's fiercest assaults upon the Lord's work and upon us of the WATCH TOWER as his and your representatives in the supervision of that work,—and notwithstanding, too, the fact that the year has been one of unprecedented pinch in financial affairs, nevertheless it has been the most successful year of the Tract Society's experience in the amount of money received and expended, and in the tract pages circulated, as you will see from the reports of the Secretary and Treasurer subjoined. True, the work is small:—very small is the sum at our disposal for the spread of the Truth compared with the immense sums donated to other tract societies for the promulgation of what we believe to be chiefly error. The Lord in his wisdom has seen fit to limit the means at our disposal, and no doubt for good reasons;—quite probably to draw out to greater activity and self-denial each one who has the cause at heart.
"It is required of a steward that he be found faithful." We at the WATCH TOWER office are in several respects stewards of the Lord's goods, "stewards of the manifold grace of God," and it is his approval which we crave. We trust that as he reviews the efforts and results of the year—your efforts and ours—that he can approve both you and us, saying, "Well done, good, faithful servants." But we of the TOWER office are not only the Lord's stewards, of goods both temporal and spiritual, but we are also your stewards,—stewards of those monies which you have contributed to the Tract Fund—and as your stewards this report is due to you, and submitted accordingly.
If we cannot congratulate you that the sum is a large one, we can congratulate you that it has accomplished more than double as much as the same amount generally accomplishes in the hands of other Tract Societies, where [R1745 : page 393] salaries and office rent consume a large proportion of the receipts. Twenty-three millions of pages of tracts is a good showing; and if the DAWN pages circulated were added, it would represent over thirty millions of pages more. Thank God for the privilege of having a share in this, his work of gathering together his elect unto him, preparatory to the setting up of his Kingdom in power and great glory. Compare Psa. 50:4,5; Matt. 13:30, and Matt. 24:31.
The colporteur work has been considerably interfered with by reason of the financial depression. Tens of thousands of people who have the time to read, and whose minds are more than ever open to the message of God's Kingdom coming, have been obliged by necessity to refuse to purchase DAWNS, and have been supplied with free tracts instead. This in turn has worked unfavorably to the colporteurs, many of whom have been obliged to receive credits and some assistance from the Tract Fund while others have been forced to quit the work entirely until times improve, which we expect will not be before next Spring. These dear co-laborers have many trials and discouragements by the way, and need our prayers. Let all who feel an interest in the cause remember in their devotions these whose labor of love has been God's instrumentality for carrying the good tidings of great joy to so many of you, and this branch of the service, which has been specially attacked by the Adversary during the year just closed.
Impressed with the fact that a number of school teachers, ministers and business men who had tried the colporteur work had failed to make it a success, we have devised a new method of work specially suitable for them. A few are already using it with success, and we hope that it will enable many to engage in the harvest work in a self-supporting way during the coming year. The new method is not at all adapted to the use of the average colporteur, who succeeds best with the usual methods: indeed the new method is suited only to those who by the grace of God can respond that they possess the eight qualifications for public ministry, [R1746 : page 393] mentioned in our issue of Sept. 1; and it is consequently explained only to such as can and do thus respond.
The "New Branch of Service," started some time ago, but mentioned and enlarged recently,—viz., the arrangement for the holding of meetings, by traveling representatives of the Tract Society—is proving spiritually profitable to the Church, as indicated by letters received from various quarters, which tell of spiritual good derived, and truth more clearly discerned.
This work is carried on economically, too, that the means supplied by the Lord may reach as far and accomplish as much as possible. A reference to the Treasurer's report will show that only $403.88 has been expended in this way; and this was nearly all spent during the past three months. Brother M. L. McPhail only has been giving all of his time to this work, and he alone has all of his expenses paid out of the Tract Society's fund, the other laborers in this branch of the service, Brothers Antoszewski, Austin, Bell, Blundin, Bohnet, Draper, Merrill, Murphy, Owen, Page, Ransom, Richards, Thorn, Webb, Weber, Weimar, West, Williams, Wise and Witter, being traveling salesmen, colporteurs or business men whose expenses are met by their business or otherwise and who delight to give an evening or a Sunday, as they can arrange it, in serving the Lord's flock—pointing to the green pastures and the still waters and feeding and rejoicing with the "sheep."
During the past five months Brother McPhail has visited groups of WATCH TOWER readers in fifty-three cities, and has held about one hundred and fifteen meetings in the states of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Delaware, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan. The other brethren, all together, have probably held as many more meetings—some in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Massachusetts, Iowa, Wisconsin, Indiana, Canada, Illinois, Texas, California, Oregon and Florida. Several others expect to engage in this branch of the work early next year. This branch of the service also deserves our sympathies, co-operation and prayers. The blessings attending these meetings will depend largely upon the sympathy and cooperation of those visited; and the Lord will not be unmindful of your labor of love and [R1746 : page 394] service in such co-operation, in however humble the capacity; and he will reward with grace now and with glory hereafter. All who desire such meetings, and who would co-operate in making them a blessing to themselves and others, are invited to let us know of their desires. And any who make use of the "Good Hopes" blanks which accompany this issue may, if they so prefer, designate what proportion of their donations they wish to have applied to the forwarding of this special branch of the service.
In view of the activity of our great Adversary, and his endeavor to counterfeit not only the light of truth, but also the ministers of the light, it is well that the Lord's people should be on guard against the agents of another gospel, which denies that our Lord bought them (2 Pet. 2:1) and claims that he was merely an example and teacher. No such error need be feared from any of the Brethren who bear our Letter of Introduction and Commendation.
Concerning the spiritual condition of the Church in general, we have exceptionally good opportunities for judging, being in communication with many of the household of faith the world over; yet only the Lord can read the hearts;—"the Lord knoweth them that are his." However, we are glad to be able to report that while the love of many waxes cold, we have many cheering evidences that the spiritual warmth of others is constantly increasing; and although Satan is permitted to sift out some, as we were forewarned, others are by the same trial only the more firmly rooted and grounded and built up in the most holy faith. And for every one who leaves the ransom and the light of present truth, another, more earnest and zealous, comes forward—reminding us of our Lord's words, "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."—Rev. 3:11.
Not only do the letters received, and the reports from the traveling brethren and the colporteurs, testify to much earnestness and love for the truth, but the Treasurer's Report, which follows, testifies to the same in no uncertain tones; for where the poor give their hard-earned dollars their hearts must be also—especially in the recent close times. While the sum contributed would be small indeed for wealthy people to spend in forwarding the grandest tidings that ever reached the ears of man, yet we know that the donations of some have not been without considerable self-denial; for among our readers are not many great or rich in this world's greatness and riches.
Copies OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS, 1,159,091
" ZION'S WATCH TOWER, 125,892
Since tracts vary as to the number of pages,
it is customary to reckon their circulation by
pages. The foregoing, so stated, represent
From "Good Hopes,".......................$5,664.56
" other sources,...................... 4,076.00
For Balance due from last year,..........$ 478.60
" Tracts, TOWERS, etc., sent out free,. 5,738.97
" Postage, freight, wrappers,
etc., for same,...................... 658.55
" Labor, mailing same,................. 572.00
" Foreign translations, plates,
etc., Tracts and DAWNS,.............. 1,025.26
Assistance to colporteurs, DAWNS
to the poor, etc.,................... 553.30
Interest on colporteurs indebtedness
to T.P. Co.,......................... 310.00
Expenses of traveling Evangelists,....... 403.88
Thus, by the grace of God, we start upon the new year free from all debts and hopeful of great privileges and opportunities just before us. Let us each do with our might what our Master has placed within our reach; and let us do it promptly and zealously, remembering that nearer and nearer comes the night when no man can work.—John 9:4.
It is but our duty to mention that the foregoing statement takes no account of some five thousand dollars of credits extended to colporteurs [R1746 : page 395] by the Tower Pub. Co., for which our Tract Society is pledged;—and the most of which it is to be hoped the colporteurs will soon be able to settle for themselves. Those who can do so should have their accounts paid ahead or else send the money with their orders, as our Society is obliged to pay interest on these balances. In this connection it is proper to mention that the items of rent, light, heat and clerical work are not omitted by accident from our account of expenditures. These are donated by the Tower Publishing Co.
While the colporteur work for the circulation of MILLENNIAL DAWN is under the supervision and patronage of this Society, it is self-supporting to a very large degree;—the only liabilities being the guarantee of their accounts above mentioned and in the preparation of foreign translations. An item on this last account appears in the Treasurer's report, above.