VERY PROPERLY all who are truly the Lord's people feel a deep interest not only in the Truth itself but also in all pertaining to it and its propagation;—not only in their own vicinities but also in its world-wide field and mission. And what is thus generally true seems to be intensified in all such after they have become acquainted with the "harvest" message—the light of the last days of this age,—the light of the parousia;—the bright shining of the present one—the epiphania—parousia.
We are conscious therefore that many eyes will look for and carefully scan this report of the work accomplished in the year just ended,—especially all who have had a share in it, great or small, "every man according to his several ability" (Matt. 25:15), whether as a contributor to the funds which propel the work or an assistant in the labor of circulating the truth, or both. All such we know will be rejoiced in heart, refreshed for fresh endeavors for the new year as they read what we have to present. Rejoice, for it is your work, our work, the Lord's work. And as we realize how comparatively few there are whose eyes of understanding are opened that they can see the light, and when we remember too, that (as our Lord foretold) among them there are not many great or wise or rich in this world's riches and wisdom, we must say that the showing is "marvelous in our sight."
(1) To begin with, we always reckon the truest progress of the cause to be indicated by the WATCH TOWER'S subscription list; for however interest may be awakened, by tracts, booklets and DAWNS, it is rarely fixed and riveted except through the regular visits of our semi-monthly pastoral. You will be pleased then to know that the WATCH TOWER list grew considerably during last year: and that the evidences point to a still larger increase during the year now beginning. And as each reader is interested in and praying for such results, each will proportionately lend a hand to the answering of his own prayers, by doing what he can to increase the circulation. Are there not friends to whom you have loaned and given tracts and books and whose interest is partially awakened? Why not go to such with a sample copy of the TOWER and ask them to look it over and consider the advisability of having its visits regularly?
We offer no "premiums" to those who thus labor for this journal. Oh no; our friends need no such inducements, for they render this service with gladness and willingness of heart—"as unto the Lord" and on behalf of his brethren. But we will gladly furnish you [R2548 : page 282] sample copies free. And furthermore to assist you we will arrange a "special offer" thus: Anyone who is already a WATCH TOWER reader may send in new subscriptions for the year (one dollar each) and to each [R2549 : page 282] we will send one volume of the DAWN series free—whichever volume may be designated in your order;—but all such orders should be designated "Special offer" that we may understand that they are in compliance herewith.
Furthermore: some of the brethren have intimated that they would like to send the WATCH TOWER for a while to their friends, with a view to awaking their interest in its teachings and have asked whether or not we will receive six months subscriptions under such circumstances. Assuredly we will and we will do more than that: we will share with you in the service by sending four six months trial subscriptions for ONE DOLLAR, eight for TWO DOLLARS, twenty for FIVE DOLLARS, forty for TEN DOLLARS. But we will accept only new subscriptions and none for longer than six months on these terms. Not that we are unwilling to treat old friends as well as new ones, but that our regular terms (page 2) are amply reasonable—those who cannot afford to pay one dollar a year for the WATCH TOWER cannot afford to pay anything, and such are as welcome to it as to the air they breathe, if they will apply for it on terms stated.
(2) THE COLPORTEUR WORK has prospered during the past year as will be noticed by the Secretary's report following. The number of DAWNS put into the hands of the people exceeded the number circulated the previous year by fifty per cent; and the number of booklets over one hundred per cent.
This increase is due in great measure to the financial prosperity which permits people to purchase books, and thus has permitted colporteurs who had been driven from the service by the "hard times" to reenter this fruitful quarter of the "harvest" field: besides the Lord has raised up new laborers willing, yea anxious, to spend and be spent in serving to others the meat in due season which has so blessed and strengthened their own hearts. It doubtless is true that tho money is more plentiful by reason of the "good times," the time to read the literature is curtailed thereby: nevertheless, the truth-hungry will find time for it; and if it costs some self-denial the blessing will be the greater. Others will find plenty of time in the not distant future when another financial collapse will carry labor to the lowest plane it has occupied for fifty years. Remember continually in your prayers the dear brethren and sisters of the Colporteur service.
(3) THE PILGRIM SERVICE. During the year this branch of the service has been increased and its field widened—hundreds of meetings being held from Canada to Georgia and Texas, and from Massachusetts to California and Oregon. Many letters testify to good accomplished through this department of the work. We are planning for its still more effective operation during the coming year, as the Lord seems to be opening up ways and means. To him let our praise and thanks ascend: let us remember in our prayers the dear brethren serving as "Pilgrims."
(4) THE TRACT DISTRIBUTION. This department has shared in the general prosperity, as you will see by the report of the Secretary following. It is the largest showing we have ever been able to present. It speaks volumes for the loving zeal of the Lord's people in the distribution of these tracts as well as in the providing of the funds for their publication. We publish no names: it is not necessary, for we are unitedly laboring for the Lord's approval and final "Well done!"
(5) THE VOLUNTEER SERVICE. A year ago we called for volunteers to undertake the distribution of the booklet, The Bible vs. the Evolution Theory, to church attendants in every city and town on Sundays at respectful distance from church edifices. Responses were prompt—many true soldiers of the cross accepted the offer as the God-given opportunity, for which they had often prayed—opportunities to do and to serve, and opportunities, if need be, to suffer joyfully for the truth's sake. These, it is needless to say, besides the blessing they carried to others, received a great blessing in their own hearts, and are the stronger, and the closer to the Lord in consequence. Let us not judge some who discontinued as soon as they found some of the cross and its reproaches attached to this warfare for the truth—this endeavor to preach the gospel to those dear brethren who are shut off from other means of hearing the good tidings of great joy: let us even think very charitably of those who not only did not go out to the battle themselves, but who sought to discourage others from enlistment. Let us remember the noble Apostle Peter who sought to hinder our Lord from his sacrifice and thus became his "adversary," but who subsequently became one of his most faithful and zealous soldiers; and let us hope and pray that each true soldier of the cross may become bold to serve the truth according to the convictions of his own conscience, and brave and willing in some manner to endure the cross, that in due time we all may rejoice together as crown wearers in our Captain's Kingdom.
(6) THE CORRESPONDENCE feature of the harvest has grown gradually to vast proportions; and we believe it is used of the Lord to the blessing of his flock. During the year just ended we received 31,956 letters and postal cards and sent out 23,676, or a total in and out of over a thousand per week during the year,—some brief, others lengthy. What a wonderful privilege to be thus in close touch with the household of faith, the [R2549 : page 283] "brethren" and other truth-seekers! We esteem it a great privilege to lend a helping hand to all in this way and welcome all your letters. But remembering the numbers, please condense your queries and separate them from orders in your letters. And do not be offended, if we refer you briefly to some back TOWER or to some page of the DAWN series for reply.
(7) THE FINANCIAL end of the work,—has prospered amazingly, too,—for us "not many rich." The Treasurer's report shows nearly fifteen thousand dollars handed in by the Lord's people for use in his service—without one penny of it being begged or even asked. The most we ever do is to inform the friends of the cause that there is a Fund to which such as desire may contribute little or much as their holy spirits prompt them and their circumstances will permit. We do not even blow a trumpet for them nor herald their names—the matter is left between each soul and its Lord and each is encouraged to use his own best judgment in serving the Lord's cause and to look to him for the rewards of faithfulness and self-denial.
True, fifteen thousand dollars is not much money—it is less than the salary of some ministers of the gospel in the nominal church, not to mention many in worldly positions who receive salaries or have incomes of as much or more. It is as nothing compared to the vast sums donated by the various denominations, by gift and bequest, to home and foreign missionary work, to their Bible Societies and Tract Societies. Yet this little under the Lord's blessing is accomplishing much in the keeping up of meetings through Pilgrims and in circulating nearly sixty-five millions of pages of literature throughout the length and breadth of the civilized world. It reminds us of the widow's cruse of oil and remnant of meal.—1 Kings 17:9-16.
(8) THE FOREIGN WORK is constantly growing. Brother Weber is still the representative of the French work, laboring in Switzerland. Brother Winter looks out for the interests of the Truth in Denmark, while Brothers Lundborg and Nelson do the same in Sweden. Sister Giesecke is the Society's representative in Germany. The latter has just sent in report which shows 246 letters received and 263 letters sent out, and a free circulation of reading matter representing 258,664 tract pages. The work in Great Britain we do not reckon as foreign, because of close connection and one tongue, but it is prospering, too, and our stock of books and tracts in Brother Hart's care is larger than ever, made necessary by increased demands.
All of these "brethren" need our love and sympathy and prayers. Let us remember all the interests of Zion when we approach the throne of the heavenly grace. And finally, dear brethren, pray for us of the home office, who occupy not only a place of interest in your hearts, but a place of prominence for the great Adversary's attacks. Pray that we may have more and more of the Master's blessed spirit—the spirit of wisdom and of might, the spirit of patience and of meekness, the spirit of zeal and of a sound mind, the spirit of love and devotion to the Lord, his truth and his "brethren." And as you thus pray, you will be drawn nearer to us and to the Lord and to the same spirit which worketh all in all. Very truly,
Receipts—Cash, "Good Hopes"................ $11,303.32
" " from other sources.......... 3,467.20
Expenditures—Pilgrim Account............... $2,612.01
" Publishing tracts and
postage, etc., on same.................... 11,286.97
Cash balance for 1900....................... 871.54