MELBOURNE, Australia, Nov. 1, 1905.
It is again my duty and great pleasure to hand you the report of the Tract Fund expenditures and receipts, and of Publications circulated through the Society's Australasian Branch during a year.
As the years roll on, and Faith, grounded on the testimony of God's Word, comes the nearer to that realization of her conviction concerning the things as yet unseen, and in which she rejoices with joy unspeakable and full of glory, her sister, Hope, well instructed, learns to tinge with brighter hues for her the borders of the clouds of trouble with which the passion of selfishness in its greed of gain and power is rapidly obscuring the outlook on the world, ecclesiastical, social, political and commercial. And one of the greatest incentives to Hope to use her brightest colors on these ever-darker clouds is what those of the Lord's people whose spiritual perceptions have not been dulled by the cares of this world may now "see" and "hear" in the progress of the harvest.
Two classes of laborers are engaged in the great work: the one class, by far the greater, numerically, is working among the "tares," binding them by means of errors into their various bundles, religious, social and political; with these we have nothing to do. The other class of laborers seeks the "wheat," in order that by means of the Present Truth it may be gathered into one body, of which the Lord Jesus himself is the Head. "Gather my saints unto me," is the command to them, and this is the labor in which we esteem it an honor to be joined.
In the past year there has been a notable increase in the circulation of the MILLENNIAL DAWN Series in this portion of the field. The Colporteurs who came out from the United States and Canada, with the Australasians who have left all to join in the same service, have had their hands full of labor and their hearts full of joy as they have sought to thrust in the "sickle" by distributing the volumes, and subsequently have been brought into touch with eager inquirers after the Truth, desiring to know the way of the Lord more perfectly. Others are contemplating entry into this blessed service, and there is opportunity for still others to say to the Lord, "Here am I, send me."
Viewed from the practical standpoint, the best day's work done by a Colporteur in this portion of the field has been in securing orders for 105 volumes in one day; 103 of these were afterward delivered in a half day. The same colporteur maintained an average of 50 volumes per day for two consecutive months. Certainly, this is exceptional; but it may be taken as a straw, indicating the direction of the wind, and an encouragement [R3714 : page 38] to those who are asking what share they may have in the great doings of the harvest time.
But for those who cannot seize opportunities like the above, there is the Volunteer Work of Tract Distribution. Our statistics show that this has had attention in the last twelve months; but we sometimes wonder whether the friends realize that a large supply, well assorted, is maintained here, and that the tracts are to be had for the asking. Indeed, in no other way are they supplied, no charge being made for them under any circumstance. We shall hope to be called on more largely than ever for these little messengers.
It has been the writer's privilege to make a Pilgrim Tour of about 5,000 miles in Eastern Australia and New Zealand. In all parts visited, it is plain to be seen that the "eagles" are being gathered to the "carcase." (Luke 17:37.) The largest attendance at meetings was at Sydney, where 200 to 300 came to the Chart Talks announced for the public. Besides this tour, there have been occasional extra meetings in and near Melbourne.
Yet, the influence exerted by the Truth, when compared with the enormous power of Error, seems very small; and were it not for the assurance that God's Word does not return unto him void, but accomplishes his good pleasure, and prospers in the thing whereto he sends it, one might feel discouraged. But we do not know all things. We do not know the way of the wind, [R3715 : page 38] or other wonders of the works of God; neither do we know how hearts here and there may be in process of preparation for the reception of the Truth. We cannot tell where the good-ground heart may be found. But as surely as clouds full of rain empty themselves upon the earth, and as surely as the fallen tree remains in the place where it fell, so surely shall the bread-corn (truth) cast upon the waters (peoples) be found after many days. Therefore, "in the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand; for thou knowest not whether shall prosper either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good."Eccl. 11:1-6.
The financial report tells its own story. Without the generous cooperation of the Head Office, in this and other ways, the Australasian Branch could not go on as it does.
Seeking a continued interest in your prayers and those of all the dear brethren scattered abroad, I remain, dear Brother, Your servant and His,
Copies of DAWN and TOWER DAWN................
Copies of Booklets........................... 1,996
Tract Pages sent free........................ 4,218,600
Letters and Cards received................... 1,686
Letters and Cards sent....................... 2,490
EXPENDITURES L. s d
Pilgrim Work, expense of meetings, etc. 216 18 5
Cost of literature sent out free, rent,
gas, etc., etc........................ 256 5 0
Postage, freight, etc.,................ 73 12 6
Total.................................. 546 15 11
Receipts from Australasia.............. 108 12 6
Deficit................................ 338 3 5
[We should remark that the deficit above shown, also those of the German and English Branches previously reported, are all owing to the Headquarters at Allegheny. These were all included in our principal report and its statement of a deficit.EDITOR.]