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

p. 98


When the government is not in evidence 1 the people are honest and loyal.

When the government is meddlesome the people are in want.

Misery!—Happiness lies by its side! 2 Happiness!—Misery lurks beneath. He who understands the end has progressed beyond limitations.

The regular becomes the irregular; the good becomes unpropitious. This has bewildered men from time immemorial!

Hence the Holy Man is a square which has not been cut, and whose corners have not been planed; 3 he is straightforward without being reckless, and bright without being dazzling.

The chapter proceeds from the outer to the inner, from that which is objective and manifest to that which is subjective and not so manifest. The evils of a meddlesome government are plain, they arise from too much emphasis being placed on externals rather than on principles. Less manifest to the "man on the street" is the trouble which arises from confusing happiness and misery, which are not separate

p. 99

but the reverse sides of the same shield. Jesus referred all his experiences, the success which attended his preaching, and the sorrow in which sin involved him, equally to the Father's will. Hence the "Prince of this World" found nothing in him.

"Omnes! Omnes! Let others ignore what they may,
I make the poem of evil also, I commemorate that part also,
I am myself just as much evil as good, and my nation is—And I say there is in fact no evil
(Or if there is, I say it is just as important, to the land or to me as anything else)."

Thus the poet Walt Whitman, in his "Starting from Paumanok," confirms, in his own fashion, the teaching of our pre-Christian Chinese mystic. Robert Browning also sings the same theme in one of his later poems

"Ask him—'Suppose the Gardener of Man's ground
   Plants for a purpose, side by side with good,
 Evil—(and that he does so—look around!
   What does the field show?)—were it understood
 That purposely the noxious plant was found
   Vexing the virtuous, poison close to food.
 If, at first stealing forth of life in stalk
 And leaflet promise, quick his spud should balk
 Evil from budding foliage, bearing fruit?
 Such timely treatment of the offending root
 Might strike the simple as wise husbandry,
 But swift sure extirpation would scarce suit
 Shrewder observers. Seed once sown thrives: why
 Frustrate its product, miss the quality
 Which sower binds himself to count upon?
 Had seed fulfilled the destined purpose, gone
 Unhindered up to harvest—what know I
 But proof were gained that every growth of good
 Sprang consequent on evil's neighborhood?'"


98:1 Like the sun behind the clouds, felt but not seen.

98:2 "Calamitas virtutis occasion." (Calamity is virtue's opportunity).—Seneca.

98:3 The Sage is four-square, perfect, not because he has become adjusted to the limitations of time and space, but because he has risen above these and is one with the Invisible.

"The peace which comes of surrendering all likes and dislikes is possible only when the Triangle becoming Quaternary is inscribed in the Circle, when the Perfect Man—unifying his consciousness by indrawing the purified personality—so expands as to step beyond the limitations of the causal body and embrace the Logos—when the Divine Man, now a perfect square, recognizes Himself as a mode of expression of the Divine Life, a form of the Divine Consciousness, an organ of Iswara and an image and reflection of the true Self."—Studies in the Bhagavad Gita, by The Dreamer. (The Yoga of Discrimination) p. 110.

Next: Chapter LIX