YEAR by year the Lord's work through our Society seems to be increased, and with joy we recognize it and tell it to each other. It is so great a privilege to be associated with our wonderful Redeemer-Lord in the harvesting period of this Gospel age. And every now and then we see the Chief Reaper's personal care over the workturning aside and making void some of our well intentioned efforts to serve him, and guiding and giving success in another direction. Such experiences are not disappointments in the proper sense of that wordrather they are causes for fresh rejoicing, because we desire the Lord's will, not our own; and because they give fresh evidences that we are not fighting our own battles merely but his; and because they give added assurance that he will continue to guide us and his work to the glorious victory foretold by all the holy prophets.
The year past has not been free from disappointments and heart-aches and testings of faith, perseverance and patience; but now it is gone and we may well rejoice that it finds us a year nearer to the Kingdom glories, and by faith we already sing with the poet:
The reports we are rendering will surprise many of you, in that they show but 1,024 increase in the output of DAWNS, and that the subscription list of this journal, ZION'S WATCH TOWER, instead of increasing greatly as we had so confidently expected, has not much more than maintained itself at the 20,000 mark of last year; and that our expenses have exceeded our receipts quite considerably.
On the other hand, however, you will be surprised to note the tremendous circulation of free literature, tracts, etc., distributedso greatly in excess of all our past records, and so greatly beyond any other tract work ever done by any or all peoples or societies. And when you scan the expense columns we are sure you will be amazed at the low cost of all this work. [R3471 : page 371] The Lord seems to bless the consecrated dollars as of old he blessed the loaves and fishes.
We are publishing 25,000 copies of our journal regularly now, and this leaves about 5,000 copies for surplus, samples, etc. This, counting two readers for each paper, represents a considerable number, but it is not enoughwe ought to have double this number. Experience teaches us that, in these busy times, those who do not receive the TOWER every two weeks to stir up their pure minds, are apt to become "overcharged" with the cares of this life, and lose their interest,fail to make progress.
We must look to the dear friends of the Truth, everywhere, to effect the increase in the TOWER'S circulation, and thus to do something to deepen and fix the interest of those they love and desire to see well established and well developed spiritually.
What can and will you do, dear brethren and sisters, to push forward this part of the work? This, like every other part of the service, is a great privilege and will bring to you a great blessing. Inquire of the brethren and sisters and friends of the Truth, whether or not they are regularly on the TOWER lists. Tell them of its worth to you and remind them that if too poor to pay they are perfectly welcome to it free. We want that the TOWER list shall be nearly as possible a list of all "the sanctified in Christ Jesus"the Lord's jewels. This is your part of the work! Do it faithfully and let us have a better report next year. In sending in new subscribers' names for 1905, number them when writing to ussay, This is my first, or second or fifth, as the case may be.
We have had a great increase in the number of Colporteurs during this year. We now have about 300, but to our surprise the number of DAWNS sent out is not much greater than reported last year. Some of the new laborers have excellent success, too, and all seem very earnest, very loyal to the Lord, to his Word and to his brethren whom they seek to serve and to deliver from the thraldom of Babylon's errors. Let us hope for still greater things in the year before us. Some of these dear Colporteurs have merely learned [R3471 : page 372] how to do the work recently, and will doubtless have greater results to show soon.
This feature of the work shows a great increase over all previous records. We have been cheered and comforted many times by your letters telling us of your love and zeal and efforts and triumphs and failures, etc. And we in turn have endeavored to encourage and strengthen you, with, we trust, some good results, of which we shall know more fully when we reach the Kingdom and have plenty of time to talk matters over and recount present blessings and crosses.
During the year we received letters and postal cards to the number of 52,065, and sent out 50,254. No small labor is represented in these figures, viewed from the earthly side; but when compared with our debt to the Lord it is nothingvery small interest; we can never pay the principal. As we can do nothing for the Lord direct we are glad to pay the interest to his Brethren in this and other ways.
More and more we perceive the Lord's leading in connection with this branch of the harvest work. The supply of funds more or less regulates its extensiveness, and the Lord's program seems to be to have the Pilgrims encourage his people without taking from each little gathering the responsibility of its own affairs. In other words, it preserves the order of meetings usual in the primitive Church, as described in I Corinthians, twelfth chapter, and does not foster the idea of regular preaching and paid ministry common today. The little companies, thrown upon their own resources, are getting more and more free from the entanglements of Babylon, which exercise one man on every occasion and force all others to idleness as listeners.
The "Berean Bible Studies," outlined on the third and fourth pages of the WATCH TOWER BIBLES, bring all to the point of careful thought on the subjects discussed, and all who do think on the divine plan grow stronger and stronger in the Faith. The Lord's plans are always the best, and blessed are those who most carefully follow them. If WATCH TOWER readers were numerous enough to form large congregations and then were to adopt Babylonian methods it would mean great spiritual loss. Each should to the extent of his ability take some part in some of the meetings of "the household of faith."
The Pilgrim visits are far better, therefore, than if protracted stays were made. They can assist and encourage without relieving the friends from personal responsibilities which are properly theirs and to their advantage. Excellent reports have come in respecting this branch of the service. We will continue it and add to it as divine Providence seems to direct and make possible.
Our records show that twenty-seven brethren took part in the Pilgrim service during the year. This record includes Brother C. T. Russell's travels, etc. Over 140,000 miles were covered, sixteen hundred and ninety-five public services and twenty-six hundred and twenty-three parlor meetings were held.
We consider this an excellent showing of a great work which the Lord is directing. As the friends generally know, these ministries are wholly freenot one penny of collections having been solicited. The Lord supplies the workers and the means for the work. We have only the one general fundthe Tract Fundsupplied by voluntary contributions and used for the various departments and services according to our judgment of their needs and usefulness, as the Lord gives us wisdom.
The total cost of this service was $6,837.86. The "miracle" of so great service for so proportionately small a sum is partly explained by the fact that some of these "Pilgrims" not only served without compensation, but actually paid their own traveling expensesdonating the same to the Tract Fund. None of them receive more than their "expenses"this in a very few cases including small allowances for dependent families. But all other things being equal we give a preference to the "free"the unmarried.
This is our Foreign Missions account. The labor for the Truth amongst benighted Christian brethren in Europe and Australia and Jamaica is certainly a better work than any we could have done among the heathen; and surely the results, though not great, are superior to any we could have hoped for amongst the degraded of heathendom. As in the beginning of the Gospel age the apostles went to the Jews and most intelligent and most religiously inclined with the message of divine mercy, so the same course should still be pursued.
We have put forth a great effort in foreign fields during the past year, and have spent $16,354.00 in connection with it, we hope and trust under divine guidance and approval. What the fruitage or harvest will be the Lord alone knows. We trust that to you and the dear colaboring friends abroad, and to us, the Lord may ultimately say in connection with this and our other services, 'Well done, good and faithful servants, enter ye into the joys of your Lord. Ye have been faithful over a few dollars and talents; I will make you rulers over larger opportunities in my Kingdom." About one-third of the above sum is represented in DAWNS still on hand at the foreign branch depots.
The largest expenditure was made in Germany, amongst whose people over a million tracts and sample German TOWERS have been circulated free. No great results should be looked for immediately; but we are getting into touch with some of the Truth-hungry who "have an ear to hear."
In the French and Italian languages, too, many thousands of tract-papers were circulated free, besides work being done by Colporteurs. Some fruit is showing; yet faith in the Lord is constantly necessary or we should be discouraged. Our confidence is that "The Lord knoweth them that are his;" and that he desires us thus to sound the great trumpet of Jubilee from one end to the other of the nominal "heavens."Matt. 24:31.
The Swedish and Danish friends have joined also in the free circulation of the Truth through the use of sample copies of the Danish and Swedish TOWERS. Some excellent heads of "wheat" are ripening there.
The British Branch received from us tracts to the value of $2,739.82, and did a splendid Volunteering work. This branch is growing and bids fair ere long [R3471 : page 372] to be self-sustaining. The Lord has many true children there and we are gradually finding them through the various channels in active use;colporteuring DAWNS, tracts, preaching and TOWERS.
The Australian branch is our latest foreign work on a considerable scale. In money and printed matter it received during the past year $3,453.75 out of the total mentioned above. We trust that it will soon get so under way as to be nearly self-sustaining. Several of our American Colporteurs (among the best) have gone to Australia at their own expense,to endeavor to give the work there a good start.
Jamaica was the center of a good work during the past year. The interested are nearly all blacks, and Brother Browne (colored) has apparently been doing excellent service there; not so much in awakening new interest as in crystalizing and rightly directing and deepening that already started.
Total number of DAWNS sold at cost,...............
These were of various languages and volumes
and all in cloth binding. DAWN I. in
magazine form is included in statement of TOWERS.
Booklets sold at cost,............................ 68,438
Copies of English WATCH TOWER sent out free,...... 293,542
Tracts of various kinds sent out,................. 4,589,300
These tracts and TOWERS represent in tract
pages, the usual form for stating such
These figures are really astounding, far beyond any tract distribution ever before accomplished. May the Lord's blessing go with these messages of his love and mercy to their readers, and abide also upon all of you, dear readers, who joined in their circulation, either by distribution or by financial assistance in their preparation.
The dear friends in every quarter entered into the "Volunteer work" with great zeal during the past year, and experienced divine blessings accordingly, we believe. As examples of the four Churches most actively engaged we note the following:
Allegheny Church made a wonderful record this yearover 304,960. These, however, were not all distributed in the usual manner: a thorough distribution in this and adjacent cities used about 100,000 and the remainder were sent out by mail, some sending in the addressed wrappers and some wrapping them. About fifty participated and much pleasure and profit resulted.
Many will read a Gospel message from a newspaper who would not so readily hearken to the message from other quarters. Some of these are "disgusted" Christians, confused by the jargon of Babylon. Some are worldlings, whose parents were Christians, and who have never seen anything attractive in the so-called Gospel they have heard preached. During the past year the Lord has opened a door to many of these through the publication in the secular press of "Brother Russell's" discourses. Millions of sermons have thus been scattered far and near; and some at least have done good. If the Lord wills we shall be glad to see this "door" keep open, or even open still wider. The dear friends in various quarters were prompt to encourage the journals which thus published the "meat in due season," by purchasing extra copies and circulating them amongst their acquaintance.
Naturally the outlay for so great a work has been considerable; and it will be seen that we have miscalculated to some extent and spent more than we received. Some who sent us "Good Hopes" for the year have written us of their inability to do as they desired. We of course reminded them that their "Good Hopes" were merely suggestions of what they hoped and would have liked to do; but that God accepted the good intentions and so do we: and that they must not grieve as if this meant the breaking of a pledge, for it was nothing of the kind. This has occurred before, but never for so large an amount. We must guard our expenditures during the coming year, for our Lord's commands prohibit our going into debt, except, as in the present instance, temporarily.
Surplus on hand, Dec. 1, 1903,....................$ 1,094.11
Receipts from "Good Hopes"........................ 26,159.89
" Tract Fund from other sources,........... 12,345.93
For "Pilgrim" expenses,...........................$ 6,837.86
" Publishing matter circulated freetracts,
" Foreign Missions account, on which there
may be some later returns,....................... 13,614.18
Deficit,receipts less than expenditures,......$ 6,760.15
Praising God for his mercies, we have started on our new fiscal year with good courage and a realization that never before have we had so many evidences that the crisis of Babylon is approachingthat the division between "wheat" and "tares" was never more marked, and that very soon the harvest work will witness a great impetus from the repellant force of "higher criticism" or scholastic infidelity. The fields are white for harvest and laborers shall receive abundant wages, not only in the life to come but also in the joys of the Lord in the present time. Be of good courage, dear brethrenour Lord's reign will soon be due, and if faithful we shall share his glory, honor and immortality.
Sale of Cloth and Leather DAWNS,..................
" Paper DAWNS,.............................. 1,364
" TOWER DAWNS,.............................. 3,844
Sale of Booklets,................................. 4,213
Tracts circulated free,pages,...................24,169,200
Letters and cards received,....................... 4,282
" " sent out,....................... 5,256
It is again my privilege to send you a report of the work of the British Branch so far as the circulation of the various publications and the receipts and expenditures of the Tract Fund are concerned.
We are pleased in being able to say that the work of the past year has been one of continued progress. The circulation of the DAWNS has increased quite considerably. We report increase of 4,000. Last year the increase was 3,000, the year previous 2,000; so that not only is increase going on, it is growing proportionately. Besides these sales we have sent out about 5,000 of the special DAWNS in TOWER form. Then the booklets are increased in numbers, though at a rather slower rate. Most of this work was the result of the labors of the Colporteurs, and we thank the Lord for their zeal in the harvest field. This service has hitherto been confined to a few zealous ones who have held on to the privilege of serving the Lord and his people, but during this year some others commenced the work, to their own joy and to that of those to whom they have been privileged to minister. However, from one cause or another, the total number of active workers has not been greatly increased. Some of these who have been in the work for a time are now resting; we hope to see them back soon. There is still a large portion of this country untouched with the harvest message, and the inquiries which come in tell us that there are yet many waiting for the Truth. We continue to pray that "the Lord of the harvest will send more laborers into his vineyard."
The Volunteer work has gone on well, though the number of tracts delivered this year is less than last. However, as the tracts are double the size, there has been much more reading matter distributed, as well as much more weight. The tracts are bringing in evidences of the distribution. The TOWER list continues to grow, as you will have noticed: however, it does not grow as fast as your very liberal terms would lead us to expect; the friends do not appear to appreciate fully the offers which have been madefree to the Lord's poor.
The receipts of the Tract Fund are less this year, by a considerable item; but as last year's were made large by two special donations and as there is this year an increase of the average, there is even in this a cause of satisfaction.
You will be glad to know that Wales is now getting its share of the harvest blessing: several colporteurs have been working in South Wales, and they find the books sell there readily. In Ireland, too, the Truth spreads: the dear brethren in Dublin continue to scatter the message of love, with much joy to themselves. Scotland still keeps in the vanguard, though most of its towns are now well colporteured. Since writing my last report we have lost the fellowship of some dear brethren, gone to be with the Lord; but the knowledge that they are with him helps to enforce the fact that the time for the establishment of the Kingdom draws very near. We pray that we may be faithful to the end, that we also may hear him say, "Well done."
I am sure the British friends would think this report incomplete if I did not make mention of their love to you, and of their desire that you may find it convenient to come to this country again very soon, and the sooner the better; and so, dear brother, please take this from them and from me, and do your best to come.
I trust that the record of the work accomplished, and the signs that much is waiting to be done, will prove the needful stimulus to us all to "do" with our might what [R3473 : page 374] our hands find to do.
Sale of DAWNS cloth bound,........................
" " in TOWER form,...................... 5,600
" Booklets,................................. 3,471
Tracts and TOWERS distributed free, stated in tract
pages, and not included in general report,.......34,344,000
Letters and cards received,....................... 1,355
" sent out.................................. 2,025
I have the pleasure of handing you herewith a report of the work here during the year past. It has seemed a short but eventful year, and we are grateful to the Lord for all his sustaining grace. We feel that without him we could have done nothingnothing that would have been worth mentioning. As it is, though well aware of weakness and inabilities, we may mention with pleasure evidences of some fruit of labors. We feel confident that the Society's sacrifices on behalf of the household of faith of the German tongue are not in vain, neither will the witness to the German nation be without avail. Evidences have reached us within the last two weeks showing that weapons prepared against the Truth are rapidly increasing. At least a dozen different papers have issued articles against the DAWNS and TOWERS: some repeatedly. The latest step is taken by the national church authorities in publishing leaflets of a warning, and causing them to be scattered abroad. Of course, these "weapons" of misrepresentation, etc., will not prosper against the Truth and the "very elect," but they are prejudicing a great many so that they will not prove "our gospel" (the old gospel)whether the things said about it are true or false. But we are not dismayed, "whether they hear or whether they forbear," the witness being given as the Lord directed, "in every city," "in all nations."
However, encouraging features of the work are not wanting. The German TOWER is now being sent to from five to six hundred regular subscribers in Europe, many of whom are quite zealous in spreading the good news, though most of them are poor and cannot, as they would like to do, support the work financially. But these "brethren" are learning to appreciate more and more the fact that the Lord, the Head of the one body, is fulfilling his good pleasure toward them through some of the "stronger members" of the same "body." They think with gratitude of those "brethren" whom the Lord has made "rich" in faith and love and "good works,"good works in the laying down of their lives and giving of their substance to "do good, specially to the household of faith." But these younger members in the knowledge of [R3473 : page 375] Present Truth need also your prayersyea, we feel that your prayers are with us.
In several places Bible Study meetings are now regularly held where the number of those deeply interested in the DAWNS is gradually increasing. I might mention fifty to sixty in Barmen and Elberfeld, thirty to forty in Konigsberg, thirty to forty in Wermelskirchen, twenty to twenty-five in Weidenau, etc. Having very few Colporteurs and Volunteers to start with, the progress made with the spread of the good message was naturally slow. But within the last three weeks, since we have been sending the Volunteer TOWERS to newspaper lists, the inquiries for further reading are coming in quite encouragingly. I doubt not that, the Lord willing, another year of faithful effort to gather the elect will be well rewarded with "gathering fruit unto eternal life."
Germany is well supplied with false teachers of great influence and popularity, who are "shaking" the powers of ecclesiastical "heavens" of all denominations. This fact seems to make it timely indeed that the Lord should send his message to bear up the "feet" members who are in danger of falling into doubt, infidelity or other snare of the devil. We know of some who have already been so helped. Are these not also our "brethren," for whom we should lay down our lives?
I have the honor to hand you herewith the report of the Tract Fund receipts and expenditures for the Australasian Branch of the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY for the period beginning Feb. 10, 1904 (when our first consignment of DAWNS, etc., arrived) and ending Oct. 31, 1904, being eight and one-half months.
Freight and postage...............................
77 15 6
Pilgrim work...................................... 19 16 11
Rent, gas and other expense,...................... 42 11 3
Total............................................ 140 3 8
Receipts from Australasia......................... 19 6 11
Deficit, supplied by the Home Office............. 120 16 9
Copies of DAWN and TOWER DAWN.....................
" Booklets................................ 1,004
Tracts sent free.................................. 214,150
These represent tract pages....................... 5,108,800
Letters and cards received........................ 1,135
" " sent............................ 2,300
The work of harvest, as we have the privilege of being associated with it in Australasia, though not large, has shown considerable to encourage. For example, the TOWER list in this state of Victoria has increased eighteen-fold during the period covered by our report, and we have reason to believe that most of these are intelligently and deeply interested, some of the names representing more than one interested person. Fresh interest is continually coming to light, not only here but in all parts of the commonwealth and New Zealand.
Hundreds of TOWER-DAWNS are being read from North Queensland to Southern Tasmania, and from the west coast of Australia to the east coast of New Zealand, with highly gratifying results in respect of interest taken and activity developed by those who have read. The influence of these TOWER-DAWNS will be making itself felt for some time to come.
Another encouragement has been afforded by a brother resident in this state. He donated L.10 to the Tract Fund, requesting that it be used to pay postage on packets of tracts to be sent to addresses in Victoria. For this sum we can post 4,800 packets; part of them have been sent.
In response to invitations, I made a Pilgrim tour of about 4,500 miles. The brethren in South Australia and Western Australia made us heartily welcome. Interesting meetings were held almost every evening, with double duty on Sundays, and we were cordially invited to come again, which we hope we may do in the course of the next twelvemonth.
The volunteer work is going on in the largest cities of this part of the world, also in some of the smaller towns. And there has been a considerable demand for other tracts, all of which is indicated in the report of literature distributed. If these were to be charged against the Tract Fund of the Australian Branch, as might appropriately be done, our deficit would be much larger than it is.
In Melbourne some hundreds of DAWNS and a good many thousands of tracts have been put into circulation. These are having an effect, as is to be expected. Some few souls are being drawn to the Truth; they hear the Lord's voice and recognize it, as the sheep do that of their Shepherd. Public warnings have been given against the DAWN literature. The Universalists decry it, because they consider it too narrow; others object that it is too broad. What are we to do? "I am in the place where I am demanded of conscience to speak the Truth, and therefore the Truth I speak, impugn it whoso list." Oh, may our "speech be with grace, seasoned with salt;" may we be able clearly and meekly to give a reason for the hope that is in us; may we be workmen that need not to be ashamed, "rightly dividing the Word of Truth!"
An incident which occurred not long ago will interest you. Of itself, it was a small matter; yet it illustrates perfectly the spirit which now possesses some who professedly serve the Lord. A minister came to secure Vol. I and booklet about hell for a friend. He himself had been reading it and agreed with much of the teaching. To the writer he said, "Doesn't the author err in associating the eternal torment doctrine so closely with the ministers? Very few believe it now." Said I, "Mr. Russell is aware that very many ministers disbelieve that doctrine and avoid teaching it; the point is that under those circumstances they allow their congregations to believe it without [R3474 : page 375] trying to teach them otherwise." Said he, "Perhaps it is as well that the people believe it." I was so astonished at hearing such a sentiment actually expressed in living words that it took me some moments to recover. Then I said, "That won't do; if the doctrine be true, it should be preached by all means; if it be false, it is too awful a misrepresentation of God to allow the people to remain under." He came down, so to speak, and saying, by way of excuse, "Perhaps the ministers wish to be sure of their ground," he departed. Is it surprising, in view of such things as this, that the Lord has spewed out the Laodicean [R3474 : page 376] (present) state of the nominal church, and that he has deprived them of the honor of declaring his Truth as it becomes due?
Public meetings are now being held regularly in Melbourne in the interest of the Truth. Excellent attention has been given to the opening series of Chart Talks, and we believe genuine interest is being aroused, notwithstanding the opposition.
Discouragements there have been, both locally and in connection with the work at large; but they are behind, and we need not trouble you with details. Let us class them with the "light afflictions." The Lord has been very good to us and we are thankful for his great mercies. Our thanks are due our Australasian friends who have put their shoulders to the wheel. A continued interest in your prayers, and those of the saints generally, is earnestly solicited.