Retreat and Progress

According to ordinary human thought the words "retreat" and "progress" might seem to have diametrically opposite meanings, and not to be in any way complementary to each other.

The word "retreat" serves as both a noun and a verb, and conveys the idea of going back, or of a secluded spot or a quiet resting place. Yet the word has a very definite relationship to progress, and indeed one may say there is no true progress without it. All world leaders, past and present, have spent many formative years in quiet retreat, and most business men periodically rest temporarily from their activities, while in various ways they "take stock" and generally consolidate their position before going on to greater developments of business. If it may, therefore, be conceded that it is a good thing to retreat in this manner in the ordinary affairs of life, it should hardly be surprising if it were even more important in the affairs of real or spiritual life, and in those things which belong to our inward peace.

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