Sacred Texts  Taoism  Index  Previous  Next 
Buy this Book at

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

p. 32


The great Tao faded and there was benevolence and righteousness. Worldly wisdom and shrewdness appeared and there was much dissembling. 1

The family relationships no longer harmonious, there was filial piety and paternal love. The state and the clans in anarchy, there was loyalty and faithfulness. 2

The so-called monotheistic races are as idolatrous as the most polytheistic. The former love their idols, the latter fear them. The graven images of the one often consecrate their sin; the worshiped virtues of the other consolidate their vice. Virtues and duties are separative, subtle forms of self-assertion, something lower than that Ideal of ideals which identifies itself with the All, and in the joy of service annihilates self. Benevolence, righteousness, filiality, paternalism, loyalty, devotion, is each in its own way a degenerate, when The Tao, the Great Ideal, The One Life, recedes from view. Woe to that captain who, when navigating his vessel into port, allows the various lights and sounds of the harbor to turn his attention from the flashing signals of the lighthouse. To

p. 33

know true monotheism, meditate on lives such as Buddha and Jesus—from these consciousnesses The Great Tao never faded.

"For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they which live should no longer live unto themselves, but unto Him who for their sakes died and rose again." (II Cor. v, 14-15.)


32:1 The spiritual intuition of the primitive ages—"the Golden Age" described by Plato in the fourth book of his Laws—having vanished, ethical science in which the phantasms of righteousness, benevolence, etc., loomed large became the vogue. The omnipresent Unity, the great Tao, having disappeared, the veil of Maya showed multiple minor reflections, and these shadows being mistaken for substance the evils mentioned in the text arose, because, to borrow the explanation of the commentator, Kuan-yin-tzu, "Although in themselves true, these moral qualities, when substitutes for the Tao, become false."

32:2 Given a normal condition of affairs and obedience and love in the family, loyalty and faithfulness in the State, may be taken for granted, as the ceaseless heating of the heart, or the continual flow of blood through the healthy body. The special mention therefore of loyalty and love indicate disease.

Cf. The review of "Life and Labor of the People of London; Religious Influences," by Charles Booth in The Athenæum for May, 16, 1903, and the article thereon in The Theosophical Review, vol. xxxii. 515.

Next: Chapter XIX