GERMAN SOLDIER'S NIGHT WATCHES
I wish to thank you for your labors in sending me THE WATCH TOWER and letters "To the Brethren in the Field," for it is joy to me to let you know with what eagerness I look forward to your mail. To me it is a holiday and a day of special grace whenever I receive anything which bears the stamp, "W. T. B. & T. Soc'y." I imagine myself in the midst of my brethren, reminiscences are being awakened, and before my mental eye appear forms so dear to my heart. While they all differ in form and character, in one thing they are all alike, that is the new mind. Gentle are their steps, their actions, their language, injuring none; but nevertheless full of power and firmness. These are my brethren in God's family, as I have come to know them.
While we are separated in the flesh, the ties of Christian love unite us all the more firmly.
A few hours ago in our march we passed through fields of corpses, and now night has settled. I am lying in my tent; not far distant, along the ridge of the forest, 21-cm. howitzers are hurling their destructive projectiles, while about a mile and one-half further on rattles the gunfire of the infantry. The mere sound of it makes me shudder. To sleep is impossible. A rattling in my pocket, and the last WATCH TOWER, the Herald of Christ's Presence, has fully awakened me. I am reminded of the sixth verse of the 63rd Psalm: "When I remember Thee upon my bed, and meditate upon Thee in the night watches." O what peace fills my heart, and what precious hours of communion with my Father are my portion!
Weeks ago I passed through Lemberg. The engineer of a machine shop to whom I spoke concerning the hope of the Jews, assured me that they are waiting for the Messiah. Only as I rode by on horseback was it possible to speak to some of the Jews. I laid my hand upon their shoulders and shouted into their ears: "Your Messiah is coming; I have been asked to tell you"! Astonishment, tears of joy and God-speed--and onward went the march.
How far we still have to journey I know not; the Lord knows. But we well know that
"Soon our conflicts and toils will be ended;
We'll be tried and tempted no more,
And mankind of all ages and nations
Shall be blessed in that triumphant hour."
Faithfully your brother, MAX VON DER STEIL.
(From German WATCH TOWER.)
"THOU CROWNEDST THE YEAR"
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greetings in the name of our Redeemer from the Class in St. Louis, with best wishes of the Season--a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year increased a hundredfold to you and the Bethel family!
We wish to report to you the progress made by the Class during 1915, which now numbers about two hundred and fifty consecrated members. Seventy-six of these symbolized their consecration this year and two hundred and three partook of the Memorial supper.
Twenty-three meetings are held weekly for Bible study, praise, prayer and testimony, etc. A number of public meetings have been held, in the Odeon, our best auditorium, and other halls, with a total attendance of about ten thousand.
The PHOTO-DRAMA was again presented here this month, the Coliseum being used with most thorough publicity; eight performances were given with an average attendance of three thousand. The EUREKA DRAMA was sent out for one month to small towns near St. Louis, giving twelve performances with an average attendance of two hundred and fifty. Great interest was manifested.
The pieces of literature distributed by the Class this year totals one million.
We feel that every effort has been made to witness to the Truth in the city of St. Louis. It appears now that a clearly marked line is drawn between those who are friendly and those who reject and slander the Truth.
We are indeed thankful for the great privilege that is ours and pray our Heavenly Father's continued blessing and guidance as we seek to do His will, knowing that it is all His work and that we can do nothing of ourselves. Our prayers are offered daily for you and all colaborers in the Master's service. With much Christian love,
Your brother and fellow servant,
J. H. HOEVELER, Secretary.
BRETHREN HELP IMPOSTORS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
From time to time, in the Pilgrim service, I come across the trail of certain "false brethren" who appear to make it their business to travel from Class to Class, borrowing money from the brethren, with the plea that they are bound for a certain Colporteur field, etc., and have just run short of funds. These "gentlemen" seem to be fairly well posted on the main points of the Truth, and can talk glibly about Brother Russell and the Pilgrims, although, if the brethren were a little more cautious, frequent slips would betray these frauds.
One of these men recently passed west through Montana, doubtless bound for the Pacific coast. He succeeded in bilking a number of the brethren. The plan followed is to secure the name of one of the brethren at some farther point, then, upon arrival, to "pump" this brother for detailed information about the other brethren in the Class--their financial standing, etc. This information is all too frequently advanced with surprising freedom.
In my judgment such information furnished to strangers (even though pretended brethren) is wrong. The Bible House plan of giving out no information about the brethren, their names, addresses, etc., especially to strangers such as the above, could profitably be followed by all the brethren.
Might it not be well, dear Brother, to repeat the warnings that have appeared from time to time in THE WATCH TOWER against these "false brethren" that the Classes may again be put on their guard?
With assurance of my deep appreciation of your labors of love on behalf of all the flock, I am
Your fellow-servant in the one Hope,
W. A. BAKER.--Montana
A DEDICATED TOY BANK
Please find enclosed our "Good Hopes" for 1916, and also $10 as part payment toward the same. We are very anxious to serve our dear Master, but there is so little we can do, although if we are a little more alert and thoughtful we can increase our donation to the "Good Hopes."
At the beginning of the year we decided to have a toy bank and dedicate it to the interest of our "Good Hopes" (aside from our regular donation) and drop into it such money as should be saved on special occasions; for instance, if we walk to Prayer Meeting instead of riding, we drop in 10 cents; or if one of the brethren pay our car fare, another nickel goes into the box; or if we decide to have some refreshments and for this reason deny ourselves, another 10 or 20 cents goes into the box. Sometimes we have taxed ourselves a certain amount for foolish words or actions, etc.
It was to my surprise on opening the bank today to find $2.98, which was accumulated within less than a month! So we expect by His grace to continue this plan and see how the dear Lord will bless our feeble efforts. Oh, that we could do more to manifest our appreciation of his unspeakable blessing to us!
The time is almost over in which we shall have the privilege of ministering to the "Feet" of Him, because the last one of the "Feet" members will soon be glorified, and then they will not need our help. May God's blessing be upon you all!
Faithfully yours in the One Hope,
SHIELD H. TOUTGIAN AND WIFE.
EUREKA DRAMA SHOWN IN STATION
I read your regrets in THE TOWER about the EUREKA DRAMAS lying idle and I regret the matter also. We try to make use of ours when we can, but the weather has been cold and expenses high.
February 1, 2 and 3 my wife and I took the DRAMA to Black River, Mich. The three days cost us $8.43, and we were entertained free, at that. A French Catholic family entertained us and we gave the DRAMA in the R. R. Depot, which was a good place. It was well warmed. The stereopticon and graphophone were side by side, inside the ticket window. We had all the light we wanted for operating, while the auditorium was quite dark. We had as fine pictures with gas as I ever saw.
In a town like Black River the passing of the EUREKA DRAMA was a great event and I believe other R. R. Depots could be obtained free of charge. Several persons walked five miles and back again every night to see the DRAMA! The audience was very quiet and needed no reminder. I am sure the Lord's hand was in the whole matter. We had about eighty persons each night. Yours in the service, -----