Go Forward

Those who fear danger halt and hesitate, and in hesitance is danger. In the place where they ought to be, no danger is; but if they pause where they should not be, the safety that awaits them they do not make their own. The Israelites in their exodus from the land of bondage camped by the shore of the Red Sea. A mountain ridge fenced them on the second of three sides. So they were hemmed in and helpless, as they thought, when the word came that Pharaoh's army, with chariots and horsemen, was marching amid dust-clouds from the side of the desert to take them in a cul de sac. Supine and inert the people stood, ready prey for the bow and spear of the warriors. Their politicians began to complain and clamor, and to show how badly everything had been done. Moses tried to reassure the people that the evil prophecies would not be fulfilled, for the claim the people made was that it would have been much better to have continued to serve the Egyptians than thus to die in the wilderness.

Then came the word of the Lord to Moses: "Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward." The army was behind, the mountain wall beside, the sea in front; yet to go forward into the very wave was the safe way and the only way out of danger,—the only way to the expected land. This land of promise, with its rich pastures and bee-haunted flowers,—"a land flowing with milk and honey,"—would be forever unreached were there no going forward.

Likewise in life, all worth-while attainments are for those who watch and work. The backward child is simply one who has not gone forward. The complainant asking pity is pitiable only because the blessing he should have had he did not march forward to possess. The invalid dallies with symptoms and feelings, and lies prostrate instead of having courage to obey Truth, which says, Rise and walk. The prodigal wants to go on caring for the swine a little longer, indecisive as to arising from the husk-strewed earth and beginning the journey to his father's house. The politician bemists himself with sound and fury of words, so that there may seem to be activity but no progress, much sound of the hammer but nothing actually builded. Meanwhile life and liberty, hope and inspiration, humanity and divinity, are calling mankind to go forward.

The Science of Liberty
August 4, 1917

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