WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY'S REPORT
--DECEMBER, 1908, TO DECEMBER, 1909.--
HOW fast they fly, these busy "harvest" years! How golden are their hours for reaping work and for the ripening work in our own hearts and the filling and rounding out of our own characters! Hours and days of toil and danger--yet wonderful in their compensating joys of grace and truth! They are too precious to lose a single one in sin or in worldly vanities, or even in religiously "beating the air"; and yet we are glad to see them speeding past and to hope that they are bringing us nearer and nearer to "the rest that remains for the people of God."
"For how can we with such a hope
Of glory and of home;
With such a hope awaiting us,
Not wish the hour were come--
The blessed hour, the glorious morn,
When we shall see his face!
Yet peace our hearts! and hush our tongues!
Be calm our troubled breasts;
Each passing hour prepares us more
For everlasting rest.
We know full well the time our God
Appoints for us is best."
While our faith and hopes would be equally clear and logical whether this age ends in October, 1914, or a century later, nevertheless our expectation that "Gentile Times" will conclude October, 1914, undoubtedly has a stimulating effect [R4531 : page 371] upon our hearts and influences all of life's interests and helps to "wean" us from earthly joys and ambitions and to set our affections on things above!
If we may judge from hundreds of oral expressions and letters, received as being the sentiments of our readers in general, we conclude that the year past has to many of them been their very best of all years. It surely has been the Editor's best year; and, notwithstanding grievous heart-wounds, it has been one of his happiest as well as one of his busiest years.
However, candor requires that we note that the past year has been one of severe trial and testing upon the Church. And, alas, some fell in the attack--some whom we dearly loved and whom we had hoped would be with us in the battle to the end--the victory! Even though forewarned that a thousand would fall at our side (Psa. 91:7), we have been surprised--we feared more for some who fell not and feared less for some who fell.
It would be a mistake, however, to suppose that the deflected ones are many; nor should the fact that some of them were prominent imply that the harvest work has been crippled. We have no thought that it is within the power of opponent to thwart the great King or hinder his "harvest" work. "All his purposes shall be accomplished." We merely sorrow for the dear ones themselves as we think of what they have cast away--their share in "the sufferings of Christ," their share in drinking His "cup"; their share in "baptism into His Death"; their share in "His Resurrection."
For years night and day we have forewarned the dear brethren that the harvest tests would surely be along these lines, and that supreme loyalty to God and to his Word and his Providences in the Church would test our love for the brethren. Surely, too, we have long warned the dear friends that however we might point out to them the precious truths they must put these on as an armor, else they would be unprepared for the Adversary's attacks when they would come.
It is just what we might have expected, that our wily Adversary would attempt to keep the Lord's people from putting on the whole armor of God and fastening it on. More than this, he attempts to prejudice them against the very instrumentalities God provided to keep the "feet" of Christ in this evil day.--Psalm 91:11,12.
From various quarters the word came to us that the leaders of classes were protesting that WATCH TOWER publications should not be referred to in the meetings, but merely the Bible. This sounded loyal to God's Word; but it was not so. It was merely the effort of those teachers to come between the people of God and the Divinely provided light upon God's Word.
Let us remember that Satan is behind such a move as that! He poses as an angel of light and a defender of the Bible, yet he has succeeded in blinding millions with Bibles in their hands and in regular Bible-study classes! Why would it be any more disloyal to the Bible to consult THE WATCH TOWER publications respecting the meaning of a verse of Scripture than to consult the leader of the class or any of its members? Ah! says the leader, it would be right enough to consult THE WATCH TOWER publications, only that since (because) from them you got nearly all you know about the Bible that is rational you are inclined to stick to those things. I would like you to forget them and let me lead you in a hunt after the old style, in which anything found is more likely to be confusing than helpful.
On the other hand we forewarn all that Satan surely will try to lead them to an opposite course--to learn, parrot-like, to answer Berean questions from the printed page without comprehending the meaning. The questions should be discussed freely by all first, and then before proceeding to the next question the DAWN answer should be considered and discussed and understood. Never forget that the Bible is our Standard and that however God-given our helps may be they are "helps" and not substitutes for the Bible.
But, notwithstanding the loss of some of these dear "reapers" (who very soon begin to do all in their power to oppose the "harvest" work and to dishearten other "reapers") the work as a whole progresses, as our details to follow will show. "The Lord knoweth them that are his," and will keep those whose hearts are loyal to the sacrifice they made when they were begotten to the new nature as members of the Christ--the Prophet, Priest, Mediator, King of the World.
Have we no hope of their return? We would be glad to welcome them back, but our experience along these lines [R4531 : page 372] forbids us to so hope. If after having seen our fellowship in the "Mystery," in the sufferings and in the glory to follow, they now become blind to them so that they see them no longer, how can we account for the matter? Apparently in only one of two ways. Either they never really saw these privileges, or else for some reason the Lord has so thoroughly taken that spiritual sight from them that they are completely gone now. Of course, some may be merely confused, and may eventually be recovered: we have not ceased to pray for them, nor to do all in our power to awaken such as may be merely dreaming, and who may not have actually lost the light wherewith they once seemed to be "illuminated."-- Heb. 10:32.
On the whole, the "sifting as wheat" seems to be having an awe-inspiring effect upon those whose sight remains, making them more careful, drawing them nearer to the Lord and to each other. The effect upon the others seems to be the reverse. They seem glad to "separate themselves," anxious to bring about division, to boast of their "liberty." They denounce the majority because they will not allow the minority to lord it over them, speaking evil of them as "slaves," "in babylonish bondage," etc.
It would appear that nearly every case of doctrinal deflection and blindness was preceded by more or less of a mind-poisoning by slander, evil-speaking, evil surmising. By such rapidly developed roots of bitterness the Adversary prepared the way for the error, in nearly every case.
The number being reached and brought into fellowship in the sufferings of Christ is greater than ever: as if to include substitutes for those who no longer esteem it a privilege to "walk in His steps," to "suffer with Him," to "be dead with Him," to drink of the "cup" of their great Redeemer and Advocate: who prefer to count themselves under the New Law Covenant and prefer to think of Christ as a Mediator between them and the Father, rather than as their "Advocate with the Father."
Mark them that cause division and stumblings contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. (Rom. 16:17,18.) Do not render evil for evil, nor slander for slander; but both think and speak kindly of them with pitying love, even as toward all men confused by the Adversary. (2 Cor. 4:4.) Let us keep our hearts in the love of God, and full of love for all the brethren, and in love for truth and justice everywhere and on all matters. Let us "mark" how the wrong spirit misguides and blinds and leads into the dark, while the right spirit of love, the holy Spirit, guides into the Truth. Let us "mark" the course taken by those who have separated themselves from us "because they were no longer of us," and whither that course leads them.--I. John 2:19.
We congratulate ourselves, and all the dear "members" of the Christ associated with us in this Society, that we still see the "Mystery of God," and still rejoice in "the fellowship of this Mystery." (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:26.) And that as servants or able (qualified) ministers of the New Covenant we still realize that we are in the "harvest" time; and that the present work of gathering the elect will soon be finished; and that then the selection of the sacrificing members of the Mediator being completed the New Covenant with Israel will go into effect for the blessing of every creature, with Restitution privileges.
We congratulate you also that the Lord has so wonderfully blessed your efforts and ours in the harvest work during the past twelve months. Small and insignificant as we are amongst the great religious systems our work and labor of love is not in vain, but is mighty through God to the pulling down of the strongholds of error and the finding of the Lord's jewels in all parts of the earth. Most evidently our Lord has prospered the work, else it never could have been accomplished. Recognizing this let us acknowledge it and give thanks for the privileges granted to us to have some little share in it. While the reward is future, we realize that already we have been more than compensated by the joys of the Lord for every trial, every self-sacrifice connected with the service of the Truth and the brethren.
THE CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT
Like other features of the work, the correspondence of the year shows a further increase over previous good records. The Editor is not able to answer so many personal letters as formerly, but he is still in touch through your letters and often their intimations influence his writings in THE WATCH TOWER.
He again requests that the dear friends accept THE TOWERS as personal letters twice a month. The increased volume of letters, in and out, measures to a considerable degree the general work. The letters received and sent out by the various foreign branches are not included in the report which appears in the Summary further on in this Report.
THE WATCH TOWER
The subscription list of THE WATCH TOWER we rely on as the best test of all respecting the numbers of the deeply interested. Hence we urge that each one of this class send us every year his subscription or renewal--whether for cash or on credit or as the Lord's poor for the "Charity (love) List." Numbers of the brethren stand ready and anxious for the privilege of paying for the "Charity" list. But under the later interpretations of the postal laws we are hindered from counting as a subscriber any who do not yearly comply with one or the other of the above conditions. Do not wait until your name has been dropped; but save us and yourself trouble [R4532 : page 372] by renewing promptly and in plain language; for sometimes P.O. Inspectors ask to see the letters.
Our WATCH TOWER list does not show a marked increase over last year. We still publish 30,000 copies each issue--which allows about 3,000 for sample copies and for new subscriptions. The cutting off of some who did not renew, accounts for this in part.
Responsibility for the size of the list lies largely with you, dear readers. You are our agents; not for the sake of "premiums," but because you appreciate the contents and because you desire as "fellow-servants" to dispense the Divinely provided "meat in due season" to all who belong to the "household of faith."
THE COLPORTEUR DEPARTMENT
The output of volumes the past year, as will be seen from the Summary, was less than for the year preceding. But that year had a phenomenal record, which we dare not hope ever to exceed. Assuredly no fault lies with the dear Colporteurs, who now number about 625, and whose loving zeal for the service is continually manifested in various ways. One Brother has tried the plan of introducing the six volumes of DAWN-STUDIES for $2.15--only about the price of one volume as such books are ordinarily sold. He reports that he sells as many sets of six as he formerly sold sets of three. And where formerly he sold one he now can usually sell three. Should this plan become generally successful it might lift our output for the coming year still higher than that of 1908. Nor is it merely the sale of the books, for some are more attracted by the IV. or V. or VI. Volume than by the first three. Again, the entire six upon the book-shelf attract more attention and are the more likely to be examined.
We are glad to note that this service seems to be yielding
a larger fruitage than ever before. Either the public are
in better attitude of heart and head to receive the Truth
or the Colporteurs are more successful in finding and gathering
the deeply interested. Surely the Colporteurs, too, are
putting forth more effort to establish little classes for DAWN-SCRIPTURE
STUDIES. Communicating with the Office they frequently
arrange for a Pilgrim visit, or themselves give a few
Chart Talks, and illustrations of how to conduct profitable
"Scripture-Study Meetings" with our helps. One thing is
very evident, namely--that the dear Colporteurs themselves
are reaping rich blessings from their privileges in the service
as "able (qualified) ministers of the New Covenant"--seeking
to serve it in the sense of seeking for and assisting and
making ready the "members" of the Great Priest who shortly
will establish his Mediatorial Kingdom and bless Israel and
the world under the New [Law] Covenant.
[R4532 : page 373]
THE VOLUNTARY TRACT DISTRIBUTION
More and more those who love the Truth and have zeal to serve it are anxious to do so. If they cannot give their entire time to preaching or Colporteuring they can enlist in the army of voluntary tract distributors. Many are doing so and the result is great. The fruit of their labors is manifested in many ways--partly by the greater yielding of prejudice and opposition--partly by the letters of inquiry for more reading matter which reach our Office. But a very special blessing resulting from this work is the rich outpouring of the Lord's favor upon the heads and hearts of those who render this service--to the Lord and to the Truth and to Brethren in Babylon, who could not otherwise be so well reached. The Summary shows a grand total that certainly should be inspiring to us all. Surely the quantities are far in excess of any other tract distribution work. So far as we know, it exceeds all others combined.
Yet we would not boast. When we have done all in our power we are to realize that we are unprofitable servants, that we do not bring to our Lord as much as we receive from him. If we could double or treble the work, surely we all would rejoice in the privilege which thus would be afforded us of testifying to our Lord of our love and zeal for him and his Truth, and for showing forth to our fellow creatures "the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light." What shall be done in this Department of the harvest work during 1910? Let each reader ask himself this question and answer it according to his judgment of what would be pleasing to the Lord.
"THE FIELD IS THE WORLD"
Evidently the due time has come for the proclamation of the harvest message in every nook and corner of this favored land, to which the Lord has brought people of every nation and through whom in turn the message properly goes back to their home lands. For a time the Lord's providence opened up to us no other channels for distributing the Truth than the interested--Colporteurs, Sharpshooters, Volunteers, etc., but latterly he has opened secular channels--newspapers. The intimation would seem to be that there was not a sufficient number of "reapers" to accomplish the work intended in the time apportioned.
A year ago we noted the fact that eleven newspapers were publishing the sermons regularly and that brethren familiar with newspaper work had advised our removal from Pittsburg that the sermons might come from a preferred city and that the number of newspapers to use them would greatly increase. We noted the providential leadings in connection with the transfer of the Society's office to its present location. We now note the resulting blessing of the Lord upon this newspaper service; for, instead of the eleven publishing the sermons a year ago, we now have more than four hundred, with the list continually increasing. The Brethren having this part of the service in charge estimate the present weekly circulation of the sermons to be about two and a half million copies; or for the year, one hundred and twenty-five million copies. As newspapers are reckoned to reach four persons each, these figures run up enormous totals.
The majority of these papers are weeklies which reach rural districts not so easily accessible to Colporteurs, Volunteers, etc. Moreover we have occasionally encouraging reports. For instance, we learned recently the following from a Brother who was Colporteuring in Tennessee. He canvassed the clerk of a country store, where several men had congregated. As soon as it was learned that his books were from the same pen as the sermons they had been reading in their newspaper he got a hearty welcome and sold sets to nearly all in the store. Later one of these purchasers, laboring with others upon a road, recognized him as he passed and introduced the subject to his associates. Thus several more sets were sold and the Brother was urgently requested to hold a meeting and to address them along these lines. The lesson to us is "Sow beside all waters. Withhold not thine hand; thou knowest not which will prosper, this or that."
Now an additional feature of newspaper work has been started. Some of the larger newspapers desired the sermons but could not spare more than one column of space. In an endeavor to meet these requirements and thus to still more fully circulate Present Truth we have commenced to supply these papers--the weekly Sunday School Lesson headed "Brooklyn Tabernacle Bible Studies." Already ten newspapers are publishing these, and, their circulation being large, about one-half a million of readers are now being reached in this manner weekly.
Our intimation above, that this service is carried on by worldly agencies alone, might give the wrong thought. In a very particular and important sense all of our readers have the privilege of co-operating in this service, and very many of them are doing so--by patronizing the journals which publish the sermons, and by encouraging their editors from time to time by post card or otherwise--advising them of their appreciation of this feature of their journals. It is not ours to reward you, dear friends. The great Chief Reaper takes note of your efforts and ours to use the various agencies which he is pleased to open up for the dissemination of the Truth. We are all waiting for the joyous moment when he shall say, "Well done!--enter into the joys of your Lord." Indeed in these various ways we are already entered into some of those joys--the joy of sacrificing and serving in the interest of others. If we thus drink of his "cup" now, we shall drink afresh of his cup of joy in the Kingdom.
THE PILGRIM SERVICE
The report of Pilgrim service in our Summary does not include work of this kind done in other lands, but merely in the United States and Canada. The summary shows fewer Pilgrims, but about the same amount of work--a little more. The results of the work continue to be favorable every way. The new location of the office is favorable to the Pilgrim service. Our office helpers use their Sundays and evenings in this work and we are now planted in the center of a population of twenty millions of people, the most remote accessible by a few hours' ride.
The dear Brethren engaged in this Pilgrim branch of the service have special opportunities for serving the Lord's dear flock. We pray for them, and believe that they enjoy special blessings of the holy Spirit, specially qualifying them for this work of ministry. All of the Lord's dear people are to be "Able ministers of the New Covenant"--serving it by their own sacrificing and the promotion of the spirit of sacrifice in the brethren in general, by exhorting them to drink of the cup of the New Covenant, of which our Redeemer drank; that they may be accounted worthy of sharing with him in his Kingdom glories.
The Pilgrim Brethren should be, and we believe are, specially qualified for this service. We continually look for the guidance of the Lord's Word and the leadings of his providence in respect to who may serve the flock most advantageously along the lines of this service--the means which the Lord puts at our disposal being considered a factor also in determining how many shall be thus engaged, etc. These dear Pilgrim Brethren, Colporteurs, and others express themselves [R4533 : page 373] as encouraged greatly by the fact that they are remembered daily by the more than six thousand of our number who have taken the Vow suggested in these columns some time ago. This was our motive in the framing of that particular clause of the Vow which specifies prayer for the harvest workers everywhere. Many letters told the Editor that he was continually remembered at the Throne of Grace, and in the knowledge of this he is greatly refreshed and strengthened. This led him to desire that the sympathies and prayers of all might be enlarged so as to include all who love the Lord and who are seeking to manifest their love and faith by devotion to the Harvest Work.
We remind you again that the amount set down in the Reports of the last two years as expended for the Pilgrim service includes much more than their personal expenses and traveling expenses. It will be remembered that we invited the friends everywhere to send to the office a memorandum of [R4533 : page 374] funds which they expended in connection with One-Day Conventions and Pilgrim Visits--for the hire of halls, advertising of meetings, etc. We give credit in the TRACT FUND for the amounts thus expended, just the same as though the money were sent to us and paid out by us. All such expenditures are charged to the Pilgrim Service account, thus swelling the amount considerably.
While the Society proposes to furnish all the expenses of the Pilgrims, it expects, and the Pilgrims heartily agree, that their expenses shall be kept just as small as decency and comfort will permit. Neither they nor we forget that many of those who contribute to the TRACT FUND are very poor in this world's goods, and that their donations frequently represent special self-denials for the sake of the Lord, the Truth and the Brethren. Our thought is that all engaging in the Pilgrim service should do so from this same standpoint of self-sacrifice. Nevertheless it is our desire that the Pilgrims shall be comfortable and that their clothing shall be such as would not cause the friends to be ashamed of their appearance-- "decent."
SUMMARY OF THE YEAR'S WORK
Letters received....................................... 81,649
Letters sent out....................................... 88,230
Dawn-Studies sent out--all volumes, all languages...... 626,981
Average per working day................................ 2,035
Tracts and Towers and People's Pulpit circulated
free in English language, 8,538,800--pages............171,999,000
Tracts and Towers and People's Pulpit circulated
free in other languages, 6,269,700--pages............. 83,368,800
Sermon circulation--weekly service--newspapers......... 407
Total number of sermons published......................140,421,496
Pilgrims in service during the year.................... 42
Miles traveled in the Pilgrim Service (Bro. R.
Public meetings held by Pilgrims....................... 2,781
Parlor meetings held by Pilgrims....................... 6,070
Balance from 1908 report...............................$ 8,100.34
"Good Hopes," 1909..................................... 96,870.81
Expended in Foreign Missions:
Switzerland, France and Italy...... 350.06
Greek, Syrian, Spanish............. 623.93
Foreign Missions total........$18,013.70
Account Tracts, postage, freight,
People's Pulpit, Sermons, etc....$43,794.19
Gas, coal, office help, etc........ 6,024.72
Account Pilgrim Service, conventions,
advertising, etc................. 27,420.16
---------- $ 95,252.77
Balance for 1910................................$ 9,718.38
We rejoice that in God's Providence we are able to make so favorable a report. We congratulate you and ourselves that the substantial balance on hand will give us a good start for the new year. Present prospects are that it will afford us better opportunities than ever before for the glorious harvest work. We shall greatly miss the few dear friends who walk no more with us, but we cannot delay for tears. We leave them in the Master's care and onward press our way. Some very precious brethren have been found by the Truth during the year closing and we doubt not the Lord has others ready for every crown that may be vacated.
"A little while, our trials will be over.
A little while, the harvest time will end.
A little while until the Great Chief Reaper
Shall have us in his Kingdom without end."