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

p. 93


Who cherishes energy in abundance is comparable to an infant child. Poison insects will not sting him; fierce beasts will not seize him; birds of prey will not strike him. 1

His bones are weak; his sinews pliable; his grip firm; 2 unconscious of sex, his virility is active 3—the excellency of his physique. He may cry all day without becoming hoarse—this is the consummation of harmony.

Knowledge of harmony is called 'The Unalterable'; 4 knowledge of the Unalterable is called 'Illumination.'

Increase of life is called infelicity, the resting of the mind in the vitality of form is called animality.

The corporeal begins to age as it nears its prime. This indeed is not the Tao. What is not the Tao soon ends. 5

"The Great Man never loses his child's heart," says Mencius, and Lao-tzu in language which is both quaint and suggestive expands the same thought. The infant has neither the desire nor the ability to appreciate sensuous pleasure. It may cry all day and not become hoarse. It lacks that passionate vehemence which would produce exhaustion after a similar effort by an adult. Its innocence and its weakness are its strength. It receives no harm from poisonous

p. 94

insects, fierce beasts, or cruel birds—the lusts and passions of the animal man. Without prejudices, the infant seeks only that which is essential, "mother's milk," indifferent whether it comes from this woman, or from that. Its inner harmony is undisturbed. Its bodily organs are perfect; the years add nothing to them, but only develop their functions, but do not add to them. "Except ye turn and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter the kingdom of heaven." *

Says the Indian Gita (the Lord's Song): "The contacts of the senses, O son of Kuntî, giving cold and heat, pleasure and pain, they come and go, impermanent; endure them bravely, O Bhârata. The man whom these torment not, O chief of men, balanced in pain and pleasure, steadfast, he is fitted for immortality."  He has escaped from that which "is not the Tao."


93:1 Hsü-hui-hi explains this to mean that nature will cease to be inimical to man when man ceases to injure Nature. Cf. chap. 50.

93:2 "A curious anticipation of recent scientific investigation into the clinging power of new-born infants."—Maclagan.

93:3 "Baby boys before emptying the bladder are frequently troubled with erections, which is here misinterpreted as a symbol of vigor."—Carus.

93:4 See conclusion of chap. 52. Also comp. chap. 16.

93:5 The two concluding paragraphs express the opposite of the eternal, or unalterable. The conclusion of this chapter is almost identical with that of chap. 30.

94:* Matt. xviii, 3.

94:† Discourse, ii, 14-15.

Next: Chapter LVI