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

p. 120


The limits of the greatest fear have been reached when the people cease to fear that which is to be feared.

Neither regard your lot as mean, nor despise the conditions of your birth, for that which is not despised arouses no disgust.

Hence although the Holy Man knows himself he makes no display; although he loves himself he seeks no reputation. On this account he rejects the one while clinging to the other. 1

Discontent with the present and fear of the future constitute the inner life of the multitude, but those who have transcended the limitations of the seen, so that they neither enjoy nor fear the effects of sensation, have entered into a fear which is fearless. "Wherefore receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God with reverence and awe: for our God is a consuming fire." (Heb. xii, 28-29.)


120:1 Su-cheh has the following: "The real self of man is as great as heaven and earth. Those who are ignorant of this look upon their physical frame as themselves, and are very careful to cherish that. Thus they know nothing excepting what they see and hear, and consequently are insignificant and rustic. Hence the instruction 'Do not regard your lot as mean!' On the other hand there are those who knowing the greatness of their real selves, are vexed at the contracted limits into which they are born. They long to escape from them but cannot. They do not know that the more they chafe (at their surroundings) and banker after something else, the more heavily their limitations press upon them. Hence the instruction 'Nor despise the conditions of your birth.' The Sage on the other hand is without regrets, and without dissatisfactions. He lives as one of the people; he is in harmony with the Tao. He knows no difference between the wide and the narrow, the clean and the dirty. Because he does not despise life be learns that life is not to be despised."

Cf. Paul's witness concerning himself "I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therein to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know also how to abound: in everything and in all things I have learned the secret both to be filled and to be hungry, both to abound and to be in want. I can do all things in him that strengtheneth me." (Phil. iv, 11-12.)

Next: Chapter LXXIII