IT SEEMS very wonderful to us that, notwithstanding the fact that there are nearly nine millions of copies of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, in twenty different languages in the hands of the public, the demand continues as it does. Our output for August was over twenty thousand copies.
We have recently heard of a Colporteur who felt a little hesitancy about selling STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES in view of their reference to the year 1914, and who, therefore, turned his attention to the sale of SCENARIOS. In our opinion the brother took a wrong view of matters. STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES are not prophecies. The fact that our expectations respecting the "change" of the Church in 1914 were not realized does not signify that the prophecies failed. Our readers should know that we never prophesied anything. We merely gave our opinions respecting prophecies and gave the reader the reasons for those opinions, showing the chapter and verse. Nothing in the Bible declared that the Church would be glorified by the fall of 1914. The author did express it as his opinion that the Church would be glorified by that time, and gave his reasons for so thinking. Now that the date has passed and the Church is not glorified, the author is not disappointed. All the while he wished the Lord's will to be done and none other.
What the Scriptures did clearly seem to teach, and what we did seek positively to affirm, was that, so far as the Bible chronology would show, the Times of the Gentiles would expire with the fall of 1914. Some time ago we pointed out that this expiration of the Times of the Gentiles need not be understood that they would be dispossessed at that date, but rather that their dispossession proceedings might be expected to begin. (See also THE WATCH TOWER, July 1, 1904, article on Universal Anarchy.) We gave the illustration of a lease of property. At the expiration of the lease the tenant should move; but, if he still seek to retain possession, the owner of the property is justified in taking forcible possession and in putting out the tenant and all his belongings.
This seems to be the course of events as respects the nations of the world. They do not recognize the times in which we are living—that the New Dispensation has been ushered in, and that the time has come for Messiah to take control of earth's affairs. The kings of earth would laugh at any suggestion that they should resign their thrones and kingdoms to Messiah. The bearer of such a message would probably be looked upon as a lunatic. The Lord, instead of sending such a useless message, has begun dispossession proceedings. He is allowing the nations to rage against each other, to weaken each other, to destroy each other's property, to humiliate each other. Thus the winds of strife in the present war are leading on to the great social earthquake; and it, in turn, will lead to the fiery cataclysm of anarchy, that in due time, as St. Paul declares, everything may be removed that is shakable, in order that Messiah's Kingdom, which is unshakable, may be fully established.—Hebrews 12:27-29.
As for the time for the completion of the Church, we do not know it and never claimed to know it. We merely expressed the opinion that it would occur some time before the greatest violence of the great Time of Trouble. We still think the same, and expect that the Church, the antitypical Elijah, will all have passed beyond the veil before the anarchy predicted in the Bible.
The great war now raging in Europe seems to be the beginning of the end of Gentile Times. Instead of feeling ashamed or discouraged, we feel the reverse. We are applying now the words of our Master, "When ye see these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your deliverance draweth nigh." (Luke 21:28.) Any who are not rejoicing, but who, on the contrary, are feeling discouraged, despondent and disappointed and ashamed of the Truth, have evidently wrong impressions. Such should speedily correct such impressions and begin to share in the rejoicing that the Savior counseled, and should begin to share in the great opportunities offered for the serving out of the Truth. Surely there never was a time of greater soul-hunger amongst mankind in respect to the Word of God! We know nothing so good to give them as the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. In our opinion they need no change nor alteration.
It is not necessary for us to print something and insert it in the books saying that our expectations of the "change" of the Church before October, 1914, did not come true, for sensible people would not need such a [R5794 : page 329] notice. They would see that that suggestion or expectation had not been realized. But they would see also that the expectation based upon the prophetic Word is being realized. We are in the days of the Son of Man. The nations are angry, and shortly His wrath will come. Then the various other steps leading on to the full accomplishment of the great blessing of Messiah's Kingdom will be in order. We urge the Colporteurs, therefore, not to permit any misconception or false shame to interfere with their scattering of the only literature in the world that gives an accurate and reasonable account of the Bible program, and that has shown in advance experiences upon which the world has already begun to enter.
Nevertheless, we have no objection whatever to any Colporteur changing from the sale of the STUDIES over to the sale of the DRAMA SCENARIO, if he prefers it. It is merely a question of which you make your specialty. If selling the STUDIES, you do well to call attention before leaving to the SCENARIO advising the great value of it for children, as well as for adults. It is written in [R5795 : page 329] simple language. Its ninety-six lectures are brief, condensed, pointed, in simple language and interesting to everybody. No better book could possibly be put into the hands of Christian parents from which to teach their children something respecting creation and the Bible in an interesting and historical way.
Likewise, those who specialize with the SCENARIO should, of course, inquire on every suitable occasion if the STUDIES are in the home and are being read and found helpful. So doing, especially when delivering the SCENARIO, you might be the means of removing prejudice and of deepening interest.
When the SCENARIOS were gotten out, it was not our thought that they would ever be colporteured; hence no special Colporteur price was arranged for. At the request of Colporteurs, we have fixed a retail price on them now as follows:
The paper-bound sets.............................$0.10
" 68-cent, cloth edition....................... .25
" De Luxe edition (to get rid of large stock)
will go below cost until it is reduced, namely, .38
These prices do not include postage or freight or expressage. These prices are open to any of the Colporteurs regularly enrolled—or to any of the Bible Students' Classes, or in quantities of not less than twelve to any WATCH TOWER subscriber.
Our thought is that the numerous illustrations of these books make them very attractive to the public. We find that nearly all who purchase them read them, which is sometimes not the case with the STUDIES. Quite a number thus far have been brought into the Truth through the DRAMA SCENARIO.
The EUREKA DRAMA is being blessed of the Lord beyond our expectations. We feared that on account of the popularity of moving pictures, the EUREKA DRAMA would awaken interest only in country districts not supplied with moving picture theatres, etc. Experience is proving the contrary. It is demonstrated by experience that people will come to the EUREKA DRAMA and sit for two hours watching the DRAMA pictures and listening to the DRAMA lectures with rapt attention, altogether in preference to going to a picture show. Indeed, the class of people attending the moving picture theatres is not always the intelligent and those of lofty sentiments. This is manifest from the character of the plays chiefly patronized. The theatre managers know the tastes of their audiences. Indeed, some of the good people whom we would interest are far from being regular attendants at picture theatres.
For a time we tried to interest theatre managers in presenting the DRAMA. Then to meet their ideas, we consented to cut some of the entertainments in two. Finally the theatre people wanted us to eliminate the lectures and slides almost entirely and merely to show their audiences the beautiful films. This has led us to the decision that the regular DRAMA can be hereafter shown only in its full, complete form. What films we still have must be saved for presentation to the sort of audiences that will appreciate the lectures and the slides as well.
Where theatres are unused on Sundays, and can be obtained by the Classes at very moderate rates permitting the showing of the complete DRAMA in its four parts, the Society will be willing to cooperate by loaning the DRAMA free and literature free—the Class bearing all the expenses of transportation of DRAMA and operators. The operator of the DRAMA must be one who has already had a training with the Society, in order to guarantee proper presentation, and so that the valuable films be not destroyed. Ordinary operators are not capable of handling our DRAMA. It requires at least three months' careful preparation for this.
But, returning to the EUREKA DRAMA: It is being presented everywhere, often in high schools and colleges. Both professors and students are charmed with the pictures and with our wonderful phonograph records and our free SCENARIOS. At the colleges they object to the slide advertising Pastor Russell's STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. We do not object to the omission of this slide when it is not desired. We believe that all of the schools should be interested in the EUREKA DRAMA; but we would not think of showing it to any except the advanced grades, unless the children were accompanied by their seniors.
No tear ever falls, when the heart's wound is sore,
But the Lord's tender heart keenly suffered the more;
No cup His hand pours, which He fills to the brim,
But His own loving lips were pressed first to its rim.
No night can be darker than that which He knew,
And no waters be deeper than those He passed through.
Ah! then, when thy cross seems too heavy to bear,
Oh, remember thy Lord doth know, pity and care!
GERTRUDE W. SEIBERT.