During the republican period of Rome it was considered a menace to the commonwealth and equivalent to an invasion of inviolable territory for a general commanding an armed force to cross the Rubicon into northern Italy. When, therefore, Julius Caesar, at the head of veteran legions, had the temerity to pass over the small stream from the country of the Gauls, he committed an aggression that was virtually a declaration of war against Rome.

We are told that the night preceding his crossing of the Rubicon, Caesar was much perplexed and exercised in thought, and spent the dark hours in deep deliberation, for he hesitated to risk the bold step that was fraught with great danger to the army and possible defeat to his daring enterprise. When with the dawn he had arrived at the decision to hazard the venture at any cost, the great general exclaimed. "The die is cast!" These memorable words, which so admirably convey the idea of unalterable resolve, stamped the destiny of Caesar, who carved with the sword a career of conquest and lifted himself to the highest position of power in ancient Rome.

There comes a crucial point in the experience of every mortal, when he must cast the die,—take the irrevocable step across the Rubicon that marks the boundary-line between the Egypt of bondage and the Canaan of liberty and light. One may have to stake his all in launching out upon what may seem an uncertain enterprise, and after reaching the other shore may feel like an alien on unlawful soil; but what of that? Ignorance is the spring of fear, and darkness scares the timid with a dread of consequences. Moral courage is essential to success in any responsible undertaking, and only the lion-hearted secure the reward that manliness deserves. Failure follows the coward, like a treacherous cur that bites in the back. The pilgrim of the night must necessarily take his first steps in the dark, and doubt and danger will dog his goings until dawn dissolves the mystery of gloom that occasions fear.

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January 11, 1908

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