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BELOVED IN THE LORD:—The opportunity for a Christmas and New Year's Letter is again at hand. My heart goes out with peculiar warmth and interest to the six hundred co-laborers whom I now address. I feel that you individually and collectively are very close in my heart's affections. It is right that we should consider, appreciate and admire the Christian likeness of the Lord in each other—and I see so much of this in you, dear friends. Your loyalty and faithfulness to the Truth, coupled with your zeal for its service, are continually an inspiration. I doubt not they also inspire many of the Lord's dear sheep who long for some such service as that in which you are engaged, but are denied the privilege, because of other duties and responsibilities.
As I look over the various departments of the harvest work I perceive that every feature of it is being used of the Lord for the blessing of his people and the enlightenment of the world. The Conventions and other public meetings are doing a grand work; the printed sermons are influencing many minds; THE WATCH TOWER and the newspapers and the Volunteering are accomplishing much. But the Colporteur work, in connection with the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, seems to be pre-eminently used of the Lord, in the full deliverance of those who have been more or less influenced by the Truth through other channels. I inform you of this for your special encouragement, well knowing of your many discouragements. Dear Colporteurs, you are awakening more than ever to an appreciation of your wonderful opportunities, and I rejoice accordingly!
Some years ago the work was esteemed more as a business. Of late an increasing number appreciate the fact that they have a great ministry of the Truth to serve. No longer are they satisfied to sell the books—good as that work alone often is. More and more the privilege is appreciated of watering the seed sown—of calling back upon those who gave evidence of Christian character and spirit—to see if they were reading and to help them wisely over any difficulties, and later to assemble them with others for Chart Talks, which later on develop into Dawn-Bible-Studies. The kind word, the happy face, the gentle presentation of Christian work in the encouragement of the study of the Scriptures, etc., find the hearts of those who are really hungering and thirsting after righteousness. It finds some hearts that never before tasted of the grace of God.
The Spirit of the Lord in the Colporteurs magnetically attracts the "wheat" class, and family relationship and oneness in Christ is recognized. The tired, the troubled, the soul-hungry, find in these "angels" which are flying through the midst of heaven (Mark 13:27), the sympathy, consolation, Christian love, etc., which their hearts have longed for and nowhere else found. The solace which they have sought in vain in the sects they had reason to expect in the Lord's followers, but rarely found. Is it any wonder that such would be ready to hear the message of Truth, and ready to confess that they had long been burdened and perplexed with the error?
At the opening of another year we bid you God-speed for the New Year, dear fellow-Pilgrims and Colporteurs. May the Lord's blessing continue with you richly, rewarding you, not only in the life to come, but also with large measures of blessing in the present time, and, if for your good, granting you to see some fruitage to your labors. One dear Colporteur reports that during the year, by the Lord's grace, she has been guided with the message to seven who have received it gladly. It is not merely the planting of the seed, but the watering of it and the holding of it that brings it to fruitage.
We take this opportunity of calling your attention to the great work that is being done through the newspapers and Volunteer work. You may not have great opportunities of assisting in either of these departments of service directly, but you can at least exercise a good influence in favor of them with others. There are many cities and towns which have never been volunteered. We offer the printed matter free every year, but the dear friends residing in or near these places have not yet realized what a blessing they are missing when they neglect this service. Cannot you give them suggestions and examples along these lines and thus add to the service of the Truth and to their joy and spiritual blessing through participation?
In the matter of the newspapers publishing the sermons: Where a paper in the County publishes, mention the fact in your canvass. It will help you effect a sale of the books and you may secure an order for the paper in combination. Make such price as you think proper: You have the published prices in the Peoples Pulpit and this will permit you to give a clubbing discount, as between the newspaper, THE WATCH TOWER and the DAWN-STUDIES. Make such combinations as you please. The one important thing is that no price ever shall be quoted in the combination that would be less than the cost of the newspaper.
Inform the friends you meet of the importance of sustaining the publishers of the sermons in view of the fact that the Adversary is ever on the alert through various channels to discourage them and to interrupt this form of spreading the Truth. Have in mind that the publishers of these newspapers have no interest in the Truth, but merely in the circulation of their paper and in the profit. Advise friends not to attempt to write theology to the editor, but to leave that to the sermons, and merely to express their own pleasure, interest, satisfaction in the reading of them and that this constitutes their chief interest in the paper.
We desire to send a little Christmas token to each regular Pilgrim in the service and to each regular Colporteur. By "regular" we mean such as devotes entire time to the work, or at least one-half of his time.
Please accept one of the new gold Cross and Crown pins and advise us at your convenience where we shall send it. Reckon on its leaving here January 11, which will give us time to get through with our Christmas rush.
We will enclose one of the little booklets, "The Sweet Brier Rose," and trust that the sentiments of the poem are those of your heart. We send also one of the "Heart Bookmarks" and trust that the sentiments thereon expressed will find echo in your souls throughout the coming year. "Keep thy heart with all diligence" for the Lord and in his service and love, which means in the love and service of all who are truly his. Thus doing, undoubtedly the year 1910 will be to us a very happy and profitable one. As you look at the grape clusters on the bookmark, let them remind you of the Master's words, "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit"—fruits of the spirit of love.
Still remember throughout the coming year, as in the past, that my Christian love for you is very deep and very warm, and that in all your afflictions I am afflicted, and that if at any time you are in trouble, I would have you call on me, after you have first called upon the Lord.
The above was prepared as a letter, but later concluded that as we are rushed in the office work it would save labor and reach you equally well through THE WATCH TOWER. We conclude, indeed, that others might be interested also.
Possibly amongst their New Year's resolutions the dear Colporteurs will include the following: (1) To send us promptly the lists of addresses of those who purchased STUDIES. (2) That on each Report Sheet they will give their own name and address. (3) That they will begin on the first page of Report blank. (4) That they will give at the head of each list name of the town and county. (5) That they will write very plainly. We use these lists for sending samples of our literature and have been obliged to destroy many because imperfect along some of the above lines.
After the singing of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table we consider the MANNA text: (1) 130; (2) 219; (3) 293; (4) 259; (5) 109; (6) 291; (7) 41; (8) 325; (9) 50; (10) 214; (11) 52; (12) 72; (13) 32; (14) 296; (15) 294; (16) 4; (17) 264; (18) 144; (19) 313; (20) 316; (21) 210; (22) 162; (23) 272; (24) 18; (25) 226; (26) 60; (27) 110; (28) 178.