Story of the lowest Virtue

The ground which occupies a low position does not struggle to secure a lofty one; and therefore it is tranquil, and out of danger. Water flows downward, but one stream does not struggle to outrun another; yet it flows swiftly and never lags behind. In ancient times Shun cultivated the ground at the Li mountain, and at the expiration of a single year all the husbandmen from other places came and settled there, appropriating all the poor, stony soil to themselves, and ceding all the rich fat land to each other.

When he fished by the river-side, all the fishermen came and settled near him,—everybody choosing for himself the places where the water was shallow and the fish scarce, and yielding to others all the places where there was a good depth and plenty of fish.

During this time, Shun never either uttered a word of admonition nor did he lift a hand to direct them what to do; he simply held the principle of Virtue firmly in his heart, and the reformation of the people was effected with a supernatural rapidity. If Shun had not held this object in view, however eloquent he might have been, and however indefatigable his admonitions, he would not have been able to convert a single man. How vast, therefore, and how great, is that Doctrine which cannot be spoken of!


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