It is only the Sage who can relate the myriad things to the One and tie it to the origin. If the source is not traced and the development from it followed, nothing can be accomplished. Therefore in the Spring and Autumn Annals the first year is changed to be called the year of yuan (origin). The origin is the same as source (yuan). It means that it accompanies the beginning and end of Heaven and Earth. Therefore if man in his life has a beginning and end like this, he does not have to respond to the changes of the four seasons. Therefore the origin is the source of all things, and the origin of man is found in it. How does it exist? It exists before Heaven and Earth. Although man is born of the force of Heaven and receives the force of Heaven, he may not partake [of] the origin of Heaven, or rely on its order and violate what it does. Therefore the first month of Spring is a continuation of the activities of Heaven and completing it. The principle is that [Heaven and man] accomplish together and maintain the undertaking. How can it be said to be merely the origin of Heaven and Earth? What does the origin do? How does it apply to man? If we take the connections seriously, we shall understand the order of things. The Sage did not want to talk about [the behavior] of animals and such. What he wanted to talk about was humanity and righteousness so as to put things in order.
Zhongshu, aka Dǒng Zhòngshū or Tung Chung-shu
Chinese Han Dynasty Scholar associated with the promotion of Confucianism