The display which obtains in Confucian ethics is here condemned, and Lao-tze's words remind us of Christ's warnings against the self -righteousness of the Pharisees. Lao-tze wants us to abandon: (1) saintliness and prudence, (2) benevolence and justice, (3) smartness and greed. He declares that culture (i. e., Confucian morality) is insufficient to accomplish these three things. He advises:
"Hold fast that which endures,
Mind simplicity, preserve purity,
Lessen self, diminish desire."
The word "learnedness" in contrast to wisdom means the artificial scholarship of Confucian literati, who like the Pharisees of the New Testament insist on external propriety more than on a regeneration of the heart.