OUR accounts are run from December 1 to December 1, in order to permit our report to reach you before January 1. The present report is for the year ending December 1, 1895. We recognize our stewardship as being unto the Lord, and trust that the use made of the time, opportunity and means has been pleasing and acceptable through him to the Father. But inasmuch as our fellow-contributors to this Fund are to be sharers in our Lord's "Well done!" it is proper that they should know of the results of our united efforts, and thus share our present joys and encouragements. Amongst these co-laborers we reckon not only those who contributed funds, "Good Hopes," etc., and those who contributed time and strength, as Colporteurs, but those also who, having no opportunity for the latter service and no means for the former privilege, have "done what they could" in circulating OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS and DAWNS and TOWERS. Nor do we forget to reckon amongst these helpers those whose opportunities for service are few, whose efforts are necessarily confined to the building up of their own characters, and the few with whom they are associated, and who often cheer and encourage us with kind words of love, sympathy and fellowship, assuring us as some do, that no day ever passes without their mention of us before the throne of grace. Yes, these too, in thus "holding up our hands" do a service that is appreciated both by the Lord and us.
Notwithstanding the fact that the year has been far from a prosperous one with many, it has shown a slight increase over last year in the sales of MILLENNIAL DAWN, a slight increase in the Tract Fund receipts, a considerable [R1905 : page 286] increase in the WATCH TOWER subscription list (the surest index of the number deeply interested), and quite a large increase in the tract-pages circulated. The work in England and Scotland has made quite an advance within the past eight months—three brethren having found greater opportunities for serving the truth than they had previously recognized.
These annual reports are among the best evidences of the progress of the work of grace, no less than the work of service (financial conditions being kept in mind); for it requires heart-interest to touch the pocketbook, also to circulate unpopular literature. By this rule of evidence it would appear that those favored by the Lord with a knowledge of his gracious plan are growing more "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." But in still another way we are enabled to know of your welfare; viz., by your letters. Through these we learn of your hopes and fears, your difficulties and perplexities, your successes and discouragements as individuals and as companies. Through these letters we know that many of late have been passing through severe trials and testings which we trust will all work for their good—purifying them as gold is refined, by the elimination of its dross. "Pray one for another," and, "Brethren, pray for us."
This pastoral work extends all over the world; for the "harvest" work extends now to every land. The same mail which brings many queries on many subjects, and requests for remembrance in prayer, and kind expressions, or occasional fault-findings, from all parts of our land and Great Britain, sometimes brings also an inquiry from individuals or groups of the interested in Africa, or India, or Australia, or South America, or the West Indies, asking for advice from God's Word concerning the ways of life. Some of these require no reply; or only a reference to a back number of the TOWER or to the DAWN, while others require replies at considerable length. But all that we can do is gladly done, for the Lord and his people. It will, perhaps, surprise some to learn that we received about 20,000 letters during the past year, 12,939 of which were answered.
In the handling of this correspondence, and in other departments of the work, we are blessed by the Lord in having assistants whose hearts and hands join with ours in this blessed service to the King, his people and his truth. All are actuated by the spirit of the Master, so that they do not count their lives (time, talent, strength) precious unto themselves, that they may be spent "in the service of the King."
In the Treasurer's Report herewith presented you will find no salaries of thousands of dollars—the item which usually eats up such funds. The office expenses, including the items of rent, fuel, light, taxes, etc., are borne by the TOWER PUBLISHING CO.
During the year from December 1, 1894, to December
1, 1895, there have been circulated, at the expense of the
Copies of the OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS,........... 1,440,374
" " ZION'S WATCH TOWER,............ 122,616
Since tracts vary as to the number of pages, it is customary
to state their circulation by pages. The foregoing,
so stated, represent 26,505,972 pages.
The total number of copies of MILLENNIAL DAWN circulated
by the cooperation of this fund, but not at its expense,
For Tracts, and for TOWERS sent out free, $ 8,388.53
Postage, freight, wrappers, etc.,........ 826.63
Labor, for mailing same,................. 520.00
Foreign translations, etc.,.............. 844.40
DAWNS to the poor, and hopeless, long
standing, abandoned debts of former
Colporteurs, etc. (Monies ever received
on these accounts will be credited
to the Tract Fund direct.),............... 896.95
Interest on accounts of Colporteurs, etc.,
owing to TOWER PUBLISHING CO.,............ 570.71
Expenses of traveling Evangelists,....... 1,172.63
From "Good Hopes,"....................... 5,868.85
" other sources,...................... 7,351.00
These reports are certainly very encouraging to all who love the Lord's cause, and who, being blessed thereby themselves, are seeking to bear the "harvest" message and to "gather together" his saints unto HIM. (Psa. 50:5.) They will help to offset discouragements which are sure to come to us all. One item alone is unfavorable—that of interest. The debts for which the Tract Fund is responsible to the TOWER PUBLISHING CO., and for which the latter has pledged its credit (notes), because of the money stringency, and because of our desire to assist the colporteurs and others, has climbed to the large sum of $10,623.31 against which there is an offset of $1,111.48, paid in advance by some of the most successful colporteurs, and subject to their future orders. This leaves a net balance of $9,511.83 on which we pay interest. In view of this we must refuse additional credits to those already in debt, and ask them to use every reasonable effort to cancel their indebtedness, and thus relieve us of trouble and loss of interest. (This [R1905 : page 287] indebtedness is entirely aside from WATCH TOWER subscriptions in arrears, and those which are supplied free to the Lord's poor. We do not wish to stop your paper so long as you are interested in it. See page 2 and write at once.)
Let us unite our prayers and efforts that the year beginning may show "a work of love well done" on the part of each of us severally and all of us collectively. Experience proves the wisdom of the Lord's arrangement that "his people" should be developed by "overcoming;" and that their love and harmony with his spirit, should thus be put to the test. Let us watch and pray, and continually seek to provoke one another to love and good works.