The Unfailing Moral Standard

- from "Toleration" by John Bigelow

CHAPTER I - Part 2
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It is by this standard that we measure man's progress from the animal to what we are accustomed to term the civilized state. In fact, it is only by this standard that civilization can be accurately measured. As the Golden Rule becomes the rule of life, man becomes increasingly gracious, social, trustful, considerate of the interests and welfare of his fellow creatures and proportionately dependent upon them.

The most striking feature of human society in Christian countries is the rapid consolidation of interests which has marked its progress; the inter-dependence, not only of separate nationalities, but of communities within those nationalities, which the advance in science and the arts has made not only practicable but necessary. The number of separate states or political sovereignties has been as steadily diminishing, while the facilities of intercourse have been as constantly on the increase.

A standard of duty which is universal must know none of the limitations of time or space. There is no reason to suppose that the Golden Rule has ever been subject to any such limitations; no one ever reached the age of rationality without knowing how he would like to be treated by others, and to know that is to what is right or wrong according to the standards of Infinite Wisdom. Is there, then, any universal standard that all will accept? Yes, and no I Paradoxical as it may appear, there is one standard which all will recognize, and yet the standards of no two. persons are ever entirely the same.

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