"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of truth." — (Psalm 60:4)
"Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them." — (Isaiah 13:2)
Devoted To The Defense Of The Church Against All Errors And Innovations
Vol.IV No.III Pg.16a
October 1941

A Look Into The Mirror

Cled E. Wallace

My friend and admirer, Brother Grover Cleveland Brewer, who sits among the doctors and betimes views the landscape o'er with somewhat of a lofty disdain, has held up before us a life-sized mirror in a recent issue of the gospel Advocate. He indulges in a lengthy analysis of the personal pronoun and its antecedents, with particular reference to its relation to personal egotism. I took a long look into the mirror and my efforts at deduction led me to -the conclusion that the antecedent of "I" is "me." Robert Louis Stevenson once wrote an essay on "An Apology for Idlers" which was pleasing reading to me as it seemed almost like a personal defense. I am almost tempted to make a hit with the preachers by writing "An Apology For Egotists." According to Brother Brewer, and I guess he knows one when he sees him, there are so many of them, an apology for them ought to prove popular. He virtually asks the Lord to be merciful to us a bunch of sinners, and I'm not inclined to find fault with the prayer but suspect we should all say "Amen!"

Some home-made philosopher once appealed to the popular imagination by suggesting that "it takes a rogue to catch a rogue." It is somewhat surprising, therefore, in view of Brother Brewer's nation-wide reputation for humility, that he should be able to so accurately ferret out "the following characteristics" of an egotist. They shine like a mirror.

1. Sensitiveness.

2. A disposition to criticize or to find fault.

3. A disposition to domineer or dictate or boss.

4. A lack of forbearance and willingness to forgive.

5. A disposition to be conspicuous and to seek publicity.

6. The desire for personal attention, compliments, and special mention."

Now, that doesn't leave much of a hole for even a "layman" to escape through much less a "doctor" or even a popular "minister." This is no complaint against the accuracy of the diagnosis, but rather an exclamation of dismay over the epidemic spread of the trouble. It reminds me of the despairing cry of the apostles: "Lord, who then can be saved?" Brother Brewer evidently expects the setting of this mirror in front of us to be disarming, for he immediately adds: "Let those who are without sin cast the first stone." Now, that may be Just, but it seems a little severe under the circumstances. We might get too much "personal attention" from the disarmed multitude if Brother Brewer and I alone carried stones in our hands, and it might encourage even in us "a disposition to domineer or dictate or boss." Then we would be no better than the rest of the brethren. I'm in favor of letting them keep their side-arms, just in case egotism, or no egotism, it would be mighty hard on me and Brother Brewer, for instance, not to be able to stoop down and pick up a stone occasionally, when we see the other in print too often. I suggest that we might help the Lord a little in his efforts to keep us humble. There are brethren who believe that it we should have a nation-wide contest, I would be chosen as Public Egotist Number One, with Brother Brewer running a close second. He might even nose ahead of me due to the fact that he has a slight edge on me in the way of "sensitiveness." Since looking into the mirror, however, I do not see how anybody could concede him any edge on me in the "disposition" business, criticizing, finding fault, domineering, dictating, bossing, being conspicuous and seeking publicity. As free as he is known to be of such "a disposition" I have actually heard him criticized here and there as he has doubtless heard me criticized. Now, when critical brethren, and sisters too, are with him, they do not criticize him, they criticize me; and when they are with me, they do not criticize me, they criticize him. To get the straight of all this, maybe we ought to get together, light up, and swap yarns. It might help the Lord to help us to be humble. I'm sure it would, if brethren have told as much on me as they have on him, which they doubtless have. Again it might not, as we would probably wind up by accusing the brethren of eating sour grapes, and licking each other's wounds with some compliments, even if we did retain some mental reservation's to be expressed later in different company. Possibly we will just keep looking into the mirror and decided that what we see is somebody else.