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The Tao Teh King: A Short Study in Comparative Religion, by C. Spurgeon Medhurst, [1905], at

p. 90


When knowledge compels me to practice the supreme Tao, the danger lies in putting it into action. 1

The supreme Tao is a vast plain, yet the people prefer by-paths. The palace is magnificent, but the fields are full of weeds; the granaries are empty, but elegant clothes are worn; sharp two-edged swords are carried, fastidiousness in eating and drinking is displayed, many useless things are amassed—this is robbery and swaggering. 2

This is not the Tao! 3

The true life of the soul is realized as it exercises its power apart from the senses. Until reborn into the spiritual the senses are blind to the beautiful, or simplicity without superfluity. Man, not realizing this, prefers the by-paths in the lowlands of the physical. These, says Lao-tzu, are not the TAO. To comprehend THAT one must, in the language of Michael de Molinos, know that the center of the kingdom of God is the soul; this must be kept quiet, unoccupied, peaceful, free from fault (personal), inclinations and desires. "Du sollst wissen das Deine Seele der Mittelpunkt, die Wohnung and das Reich Gottes ist; dass deshalb, and damit der höchste aller Könige auf diesem Throne Deiner Seele ruhen kann, Du Dir Mühe geben sollst, diesen Thron

p. 91

rein, ruhig, unbesetzt und friedvoll zu erhalten, frei von Schuld und Fehlern, frei von (persönlichen) Neigungen, Begierden und Gedanken, und gelassen in Versuchungen und Ungemach."—(Der Geistige Führer, S. 1.)


90:1 Translators differ widely.

90:2 If, says Han Fei Tzu as rendered by Giles in his Remains of Lao Tzu, "If accumulation of property prevail in the State, the ignorant masses will naturally take to chicanery in imitation of their betters, and thieving will come into vogue. The lower classes respond to the higher precisely as the lesser musical instruments of a band follow the leading instruments."

A lesson for modern times. Extravagance now-a-days is common, where there should be economy, economy is practiced where there should be extravagance. There is much extravagance in the glory and swagger of war, and too much economy in the impartation of the economic science and the fine arts.

90:3 The Tao is Simplicity. vid. chap. 32.

Next: Chapter LIV