Tsze-hsia said, “If a man withdraws his mind from the love of beauty, and applies it as sincerely to the love of the virtuous; if, in serving his parents, he can exert his utmost strength; if, in serving his prince, he can devote his life; if, in his intercourse with his friends, his words are sincere:– although men say that he has not learned, I will certainly say that he has.”
CHAP. I. The Master said, “He who exercises government by means of his virtue may be compared to the north polar star, which keeps its place and all the stars turn towards it.” CHAP. II. The Master said, “In the Book of Poetry [a very old collection of Chinese poetry, collected by Confucius] are three hundred pieces, but the design of them all may be embraced in one sentence— ‘Having no depraved [very evil] thoughts.’” CHAP. III. 1. The Master said, “If the people be led by laws, and uniformity sought to be given them by punishments, they will try to avoid the punishment, but have no sense of shame. 2. “If they be led by virtue, and uniformity sought to be given them by the rules of propriety [morally correct behavior], they will have the sense of shame, and moreover will become good.”
CHAP. XVII. The Master said, “The superior man in everything considers righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of propriety. He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with sincerity. This is indeed a superior man.” CHAP. XVIII. The Master said, “The superior man is distressed by his want [lack] of ability. He is not distressed by men's not knowing him.” … CHAP. XX. The Master said, “What the superior man seeks, is in himself. What the mean man seeks, is in others.” CHAP. XXI. The Master said, “The superior man is dignified, but does not wrangle [quarrel, bicker]. He is sociable, but not a partisan [a very strong supporter of a particular idea or person].” CHAP. XXII. The Master said, “The superior man does not promote a man simply on account of his words, nor does he put aside good words because of the man.” CHAP. XXIII. Tsze-kung asked, saying, “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?” The Master said, “Is not RECIPROCITY such a word?”
Around A.D. 51, Paul, a disciple of Jesus, founded a Christian community in the thriving commercial city of Corinth. After his departure, he wrote two letters to the newly converted Christians to encourage and guide them in their faith. In this excerpt from Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians, Paul declares that, for a Christian, love is more important than any other quality.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal [musical instrument]. And if I have prophetic [able to predict events] powers and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures [suffers] all things.