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

p. 56


Tao—the Eternally Nameless.

Though primordial simplicity is infinitesimal, none dare make it a public servant.

Were princes and monarchs able to maintain it, all creation would spontaneously submit. Heaven and earth harmonized, there would be an abundance of nourishing agencies; the people unbidden, would co-operate of their own accord.

Names arose when differentiation commenced; once there were names it became important to know where to stop. This being known, danger ceased.

The Tao spread throughout the world, may be compared to mountain rivulets and streams flowing towards the sea.

One Life pervades all, the names by which men identify the phenomenal aspects of The One being but attributes of That. Infinitesimal! It defies analysis but is nevertheless The Force above all forces and in all forces. Were the rulers of earth able to emulate It and so cease to arouse opposition; were they able to maintain this Primordial Simplicity, which being impersonal, generates no force with self-gratification as its objective, everything would be harmonized, for there would be no loss of effort, as there must inevitably be where the full force of action is broken by the personal side wishes of its generator. Then the intellectual and the emotional, the ratiocinative and the spiritual, the aesthetic and the scientific, the strength of the man and the tenderness of the woman, the experience of the adult and the innocence of the child would be diffused into one grand, homogeneous, all-comprehensive consciousness—the whole man, memory, imagination, reason, co-ordinated and united in the worship of the Unseen. "The Tao into whom," in the words of the Gîta, "all desires flow as rivulets flow into the ocean, which is filled with water, but remaineth unmoved, would be spread throughout the world."

p. 57

Yet the differences in creation, which have given rise to names, have their uses—danger arises only when man stops at the name, instead of passing on to the Nameless. "And He gave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints … till we all attain to the unity of the faith … unto a full grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." (Eph. iv, 11, 13.)

Next: Chapter XXXIII