This I Believe

Long, Sylvester


  • Sylvester Long recounts his experiences growing up in an Ohio farming family, and describes his belief that he is merely a "window" through which to reveal God's light to others and God's "subcontractor" whose work is done ultimately for and with God.
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And now, This I Believe, the living philosophies of thoughtful men and women, presented in the hope they may strengthen your beliefs so that your life may be richer, fuller, happier. Here is Edward R. Murrow.
This I Believe. Sylvester A. Long is a Wichita, Kansas businessman. After teaching high school as a young man, he spent twelve years in the Lyceum and Chautauqua, speaking in every state of the union and Canada. His chief topic was the philosophy of human life, a theme to which he continues to devote himself. After serving as president of the International Lyceum and Chautauqua Association for two years, he embarked on his present career in business. Over the years, he has not only built a thriving wholesale appliance concern, but
has been productively active in community and civic affairs. Here is Sylvester Long's creed.
I believe in God as the prime source of all life and energy. I believe every man is a place where God shines through. This alone makes man important. I have known strong men through whom the Creator expressed Himself with the brightness of a noonday sun. There are other men, like myself, through whom, as through a soiled window, the light flickers with timid but persistent rays. It is my job to keep the window open.
Such belief came to me naturally. I was born in a log house on a farm in Ohio. Great hardwood trees stood jealous guard on the edges of the land we cleared for cultivation. My parents were pioneers. They had a simple,
fundamental, but living faith. We were immersed in nature. We saw the divine hand everywhere. By hard work, frugality, and confidence in our maker, we managed to live rather comfortably, while friendly neighbors helped us to respect the mingled hope, companionship, kindness, and austerity that underlies belief in a supreme being. To me, God has always been a reality.
I believe in a supreme intelligence completely powerful, good, and wise. I also believe in man as a creature, bearing certain divine characteristics. All nature is indeed an expression of the first great cause. The flower, the bird, the mountain, the sea, and the firmament above are all expressions of their maker. To none of
these wonders, however, has it been given to alter at will their method or means of expression. Without choice or volition, their glory is unchanging. In contrast to these, as well as to other animals, man is free to design, shape, and build his own life. In the process of his own self-perfection, man is a co-creator with his maker. His ability to create, to develop, to change, and to improve his and other forms of life sets man apart from all creation. This, I believe, is God’s image given to man.
I believe the Creator considers me a subcontractor in the project of building human life. The coincidence of my tiny life and effort, with the lives and efforts of millions of other men, carries on the slow but sure creation of man. The great moments in my life are when I sense this working companionship with my creator. I believe the sum of my religion is the added total of the instances in which I am conscious of the life of God in my own soul.
There the beliefs of Sylvester A. Long, a Wichita, Kansas appliance distributor who has not neglected the business of living.