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by [?]

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And religious theorizing touches it but lightly–can touch it but lightly.

Established on the bedrock of actual life, and on the living unity and community of present, past and future generations.

Each man stands bound already, and by the most powerful ties, to the social body–nor needs the dreams and promises of Heaven to reassure him.

And all are bound to the Earth.

Rendering back to it as a sacred duty every atom that the Earth supplies to them (not insensately sending it in sewers to the sea),

By the way of abject commonsense they have sought the gates of Paradise–and to found on human soil their City Celestial!

The first general knowledge of Confucius came to the Western world in the latter part of the Sixteenth Century from Jesuit missionaries. Indeed, it was they who gave him the Latinized name of “Confucius,” the Chinese name being Kung-Fu-tsze.

So impressed were these missionaries by the greatness of Confucius that they urged upon the Vatican the expediency of placing his name upon the calendar of Saints. They began by combating his teachings, but this they soon ceased to do, and the modicum of success which they obtained was through beginning each Christian service by the hymn which may properly be called the National Anthem of China. Its opening stanza is as follows:

Confucius! Confucius!
Great was our Confucius!
Before him there was no Confucius,
Since him there was no other.
Confucius! Confucius!
Great was our Confucius!

The praise given by these early Jesuits to Confucius was at first regarded at Rome as apology for the meager success of their ministrations. But later scientific study of Chinese literature corroborated all that the Jesuit Fathers proclaimed for Confucius, and he stands today in a class with Socrates and the scant half-dozen whom we call the saviors of the world.

Yet Confucius claimed no “divine revelation,” nor did he seek to found a religion. He was simply a teacher, and what he taught was the science of living–living in the present, with the plain and simple men and women who make up the world, and bettering our condition by bettering theirs. Of a future life he said he knew nothing, and concerning the supernatural he was silent, even rebuking his disciples for trying to pry into the secrets of Heaven. The word “God” he does not use, but his recognition of a Supreme Intelligence is limited to the use of a word which can best be translated “Heaven,” since it tokens a place more than it does a person. Constantly he speaks of “doing the will of Heaven.” And then he goes on to say that “Heaven is speaking through you,” “Duty lies in mirroring Heaven in our acts,” and many other such New-Thought aphorisms or epigrams.

That the man was a consummate literary stylist is beyond doubt. He spoke in parables and maxims, short, brief and musical. He wrote for his ear, and always his desire, it seems, was to convey the greatest truth in the fewest words. The Chinese, even the lowly and uneducated, know hundreds of Confucian epigrams, and still repeat them in their daily conversation or in writing, just as educated Englishmen use the Bible and Shakespeare for symbol.

Minister Wu, in a lecture delivered in various American cities, compared Confucius with Emerson, showing how in many ways these two great prophets paralleled each other. Emerson, of all Americans, seems the only man worthy of being so compared.

The writer who lives is the man who supplies the world with portable wisdom–short, sharp, pithy maxims which it can remember, or, better still, which it can not forget.

Confucius said, “Every truth has four corners: as a teacher I give you one corner, and it is for you to find the other three.”