Personal Inventory by Appointment

Seltzer, Louis Benson


  • Louis Seltzer describes how he accounts to God daily for his conduct and describes his efforts to always make the best of his abilities, however limited, and to produce goodness in the world through his actions.
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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. Louis B. Seltzer is a newspaperman. He has been, in turn, a reporter, editorial writer, city editor, news editor, and today is editor-in-chief of the Cleveland Press. The newspaper business is a fast-moving and even a frantic way of life. Yet, somehow Louis Seltzer has managed to find time to do some deep and honest soul-searching, as his beliefs demonstrate.
Each day I have a special appointment. Unfailingly, I have kept it since a small boy. I intend to keep it every day for the rest of my life. I meet my God. With His help, I take an inventory of myself just before I release my mind to sleep. The measure by which He and I judge me is simple. It is a blunt, searching, severe inventory. It covers thoughts and acts and impulses and temptations, and even tentative inclinations. In what respects have you failed? What thoughts had you that were not good? What man did you ignore? Were you completely honorable in all you did that day?
I believe God gives us something to begin with. It is not much—in my case I know it was not much. I’m not sure today it is much.
It is, however, up to me, with God’s help, to fashion myself of that clay and those chemicals and that tentative personality and that spirit, into something approximating what He should like me to be. In my wallet, I have three pieces of paper; they are yellowed and frayed. I refer to them constantly. One says, “What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.” Did I do so, that day? Another says, “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, I can do or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.” Did I measure up to that, this day?
Another says, “Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram, once recorded, will never die.” At the end of the day, in communion with God, what of that?
I believe profoundly that each of us has a mission to perform, as long as he lives. It is to take the foundation God gives us at birth and make of it, by discipline, such light as we let into our soul; such reason as we cultivate by nurturing our minds with the good thoughts and distilled wisdom of others and our own;
by consciously lifting ourselves to the spiritual summits achieved by God and his good people, thus to make and strengthen ourselves, so that in our time on this troubled planet, we will have given to it something more than just our labor and our material accomplishments, something that we can measure as good in the sight of our God.
There the creed of Louis B. Seltzer, who heads The Press, a distinguished newspaper in his home city of Cleveland, Ohio.