that the mental perplexity which besets us is a part of the growing pains of the race.
Not at all that such principles must be accepted as objective, dead, literal laws, but rather as living principles with all the transforming potencies of life.
The injunction of the Decalogue against slaughter has never been improved upon.
“Thou shalt not kill,” said the law-giver, and unloosed a living moral principle — a seed with infinite possibilities of growth contained in it. It was not understood or applied.
It never has been understood or applied.
Perhaps it never can be, but therein lies the very secret of its power and immortality.
Morality is not a matter of rules but of tendencies.
Our own language shows it. (And what wonders of ancient and forgotten wisdom are buried in our language!) “Right” and “wrong” (wrung) mean “straight” and “crooked.”
Ethics involve the direction which we take to a goal, and are of necessity relative to us and our present position.
The goal should be forever beyond us. “Hitch
your wagon to a star.”
“Thou shalt not kill.”
Turn your prow that way. Avoid killing.
Kill just as little as possible.
It should go against our grain to pull up a weed or cut down a tree.
And some day when this sense of the sacredness of life has been fully cultivated by the very necessities of slaughter which surround