Front Page Titles (by Subject) TSIN SIN. PART I. - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius
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TSIN SIN. PART I. - Mencius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius 
The Chinese Classics: Translated into English with Preliminary Essays and Explanatory Notes by James Legge. Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius. (London: N. Trübner, 1875).
Part of: The Chinese Classics
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TSIN SIN. PART I.
2. “To preserve one’s mental constitution, and nourish one’s nature, is the way to serve Heaven.
3. “When neither [the thought] of premature death nor [that] of long life causes a man any double-mindedness, but he waits in the cultivation of himself for whichever issue,—this is the way in which he establishes his [Heaven-] ordained being.”
2. “Therefore, he who knows what is [Heaven’s] appointment will not stand beneath a dangerous wall.
3. “Death sustained in the fulfilment of one’s proper course may correctly be ascribed to the appointment [of Heaven].
4. “Death under handcuffs and fetters cannot correctly be so ascribed.”
III.1. Mencius said, “When we get by our seeking, and lose by our neglecting, in that case seeking is of use to getting;—the things sought are those which are in ourselves.
2. “When the seeking is according to the proper course, and the getting is [only] as appointed, in that case the seeking is of no use to getting;—the things sought are without ourselves.”
2. “There is no greater delight than to be conscious of sincerity on self-examination.
3. “If one acts with a vigorous effort at the law of reciprocity, nothing, when he seeks for [the realization of] perfect virtue, can be closer than his approximation to it.”
V. Mencius said, “They do the thing, without clearly knowing [its propriety]; they practise the doing, without discriminating [the reason of it]; they [thus] pursue the path all their life, without knowing its nature:—this is the case of multitudes.”
VI. Mencius said, “A man should not be without shame. When a man is ashamed of having been without shame, he will [afterwards] not have [occasion for] shame.”
VII.1. Mencius said, “The sense of shame is to a man of great importance.
2. “Those who form contrivances and versatile schemes distinguished for their artfulness do not allow their sense of shame to come into action.
3. “When one differs from other men in not having this sense of shame, what will he have in common with them?”
VIII. Mencius said, “The able and virtuous monarchs of antiquity loved what was good and forgot [their own] power. And shall an exception be made of the able and virtuous scholars of antiquity—that they did not act in a similar way? They delighted in their own principles, and forgot the power [of princes]. Therefore, if kings and dukes did not cherish the utmost respect [for them] and observe all forms of ceremony, they were not permitted to see them frequently. If they found it not in their power to see them frequently, how much less could they get to employ them as ministers!”
2. “If any [of the princes] acknowledge you [and follow your counsels], look perfectly satisfied. If no one do so, still do the same.”
3. [The other] asked, “What must I do that I may always wear this look of perfect satisfaction?” “Honour virtue,” was the reply, “and delight in righteousness; and so you may [always] appear to be perfectly satisfied.
4. “So it is that a scholar, though he may be poor, does not let go his righteousness, and, though prosperous, does not leave [his own] path.
5. “Poor and not letting go his righteousness;—it is thus that the scholar holds possession of himself. Prosperous, and not leaving [his own] path;—it is thus that the expectations of the people [from him] are not disappointed.
6. “When the men of antiquity realized their wishes, benefits accrued [from them] to the people. When they did not realize their wishes, they cultivated their personal character, and became illustrious in the world. When poor, they attended to the improvement of themselves in solitude; when advanced to dignity, they promoted the improvement of all under heaven as well.”
X. Mencius said, “The mass of men wait for a king Wăn, and then receive a rousing impulse. Scholars distinguished from the mass, even without a king Wăn, rouse themselves.”
XI. Mencius said, “Add to a man [the wealth of] the families of Han and Wei, and, if he [still] look upon himself without being elated, he is far beyond [the mass of] men.”
XII. Mencius said, “Let the people be employed in the way which is intended to secure their ease, and, though they be toiled, they will not murmur. Let them be put to death in the way which is intended to preserve their lives, and, though they die, they will not murmur.”
2. “Though he slay them, they do not murmur; when he benefits them, they do not think of his merit. From day to day they make progress towards what is good, without knowing who makes them do so.
3. “Wherever the superior man passes through, transformation follows; wherever he abides, his influence is of a spiritual nature. It flows abroad, above, and beneath like that of heaven and earth. How can it be said that he mends [society] but in a small way?”
2. “Good government does not lay hold of the people so much as good instructions.
3. “Good government is feared by the people, [but] good instructions are loved by them. Good government gets the people’s wealth, [but] good instructions get their hearts.”
XV.1. Mencius said, “The ability possessed by men without having been acquired by learning is their intuitive ability, and the knowledge possessed by them without the exercise of thought is their intuitive knowledge.
2. “Children carried in the arms all know to love their parents; and when they are grown [a little], they all know to respect their elder brothers.
3. “Filial affection for parents is benevolence; respect for elders is righteousness. There is no other [cause for these feelings];—they belong to all under heaven.”
XVI. Mencius said, “When Shun was living amidst the deep retired mountains, dwelling with the trees and rocks, and wandering with the deer and swine, the difference between him and the rude inhabitants of those remote hills was very small. But when he heard a single good word, or saw a single good action, he was like the Këang or the Ho, bursting its banks, and grandly flowing out in an irresistible flood.”
XVII. Mencius said, “Let a man not do what [his sense of righteousness tells him] not to do, and let him not desire what [the same sense tells him] not to desire:—to act thus is all that he has to do.”
XVIII.1. Mencius said, “When men are possessed of intelligent virtue and prudence in the management of affairs, it generally arises from their having been in distress.
2. “They are the friendless minister and the despised concubine’s son who keep their hearts under a sense of peril, and use deep precautions against calamity. They become in consequence distinguished for their intelligence.”
2. “There are ministers who seek the safety of the altars;—they find their pleasure in securing that tranquillity.
3. “There are those who are the people of Heaven;—[judging that], if they were in office, they could carry out [their principles] all under heaven, they proceed [so] to carry them out.
4. “There are those who are great men;—they rectify themselves, and [all] things are rectified.”
XX.1. Mencius said, “The superior man has three things in which he delights, and to be sovereign over all under heaven is not one of them.
2. “That his father and mother are both alive, and that his brothers afford no cause [for distress of mind];—this is his first delight.
3. “That, when looking up, he has no occasion for shame before Heaven, and, below, he has no occasion to blush before men;—this is his second delight.
4. “That he gets hold of the individuals of the most superior abilities in the kingdom, and teaches and nourishes them;—this is his third delight.
5. “The superior man has three things in which he delights, and to be sovereign over all under heaven is not one of them.”
2. “To stand in the centre of the kingdom and give tranquillity to the people within the four seas is an occasion of delight to the superior man; but [the highest element of] what belongs to him by his nature is not here.
3. “What belongs to the superior man by his nature cannot be increased by the largeness of his sphere of action, nor diminished by his being in poverty and retirement;—for this reason, that it is determinately apportioned to him [by Heaven].
4. “What belong to the superior man are—benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge, rooted in his heart. Their growth and manifestation are a mild harmony appearing in the countenance, a rich fulness in the back, and the character imparted to the four limbs. The four limbs understand [their several motions] without being told.”
XXII.1. Mencius said, “Pih-e, that he might avoid [the tyrant] Chow, was dwelling on the coast of the northern sea. When he heard of the rise of king Wăn, he roused himself and said, ‘Why should I not attach myself to him? I have heard that the chief of the West knows well how to nourish the old.’ T‘ae-kung, that he might avoid Chow, was dwelling on the coast of the eastern sea. When he heard of the rise of king Wăn, he roused himself, and said, ‘Why should I not attach myself to him? I have heard that the chief of the West knows well how to nourish the old.’ If in the kingdom there were [now] a prince who knew well how to nourish the old, benevolent men would consider that he was the proper object for them to gather to.
2. “Around the homestead with its five mow, the space at the foot of the walls was planted with mulberry trees, with which the [farmer’s] wife nourished silkworms, and thus the old were able to have silk to wear. When the five brood-hens and the two brood-sows [of each family] were kept to their [breeding] seasons, the old were able to have flesh to eat. The husbandmen cultivated their fields of a hundred mow, and their families of eight mouths were secured against want.
3. “The expression, ‘The chief of the West knows well how to nourish the old,’ referred to his regulations about the fields and dwellings, his teaching [the farmers] to plant [the mulberry tree], and nourish [those animals]; his instructing their wives and children, so that they should nourish their aged. At fifty warmth cannot be maintained without silks; and at seventy flesh is necessary to satisfy the appetite. [The aged], not kept warm, nor well supplied with food, are said to be ‘starved and famished,’ but among the people of king Wăn there were no aged in that condition.—This was the meaning of that expression.”
XXIII.1. Mencius said, “Let it be seen to that their fields of grain and flax are well cultivated, and make the taxes on them light:—so the people may be made rich.
2. “Let [the people] use their resources of food seasonably and expend them [only] on the prescribed ceremonies:—so they will be more than can be consumed.
3. “The people cannot live without water and fire; yet, if you knock at a man’s door in the dusk of the evening, and ask for water and fire, there is no one who will not give them, such is the great abundance of them. A sage would govern the kingdom so as to cause pulse and millet to be as abundant as fire and water. When pulse and millet are as abundant as fire and water, how shall there be among the people any that are not virtuous?”
XXIV.1. Mencius said, “Confucius ascended the eastern hill, and Loo appeared to him small. He ascended the T‘ae mountain, and all beneath the heavens appeared to him small. So, he who has contemplated the sea finds it difficult to think anything of other waters; and he who has been a student in the gate of the sage finds it difficult to think anything of the words of others.
2. “There is an art in the contemplation of water;—it is necessary to contemplate its swelling waves. When the sun or the moon is at its brightest, its light admitted [even] through an orifice is sure to illuminate.
3. “Flowing water is a thing which does not proceed till it has filled the hollows [in its course]. The student who has set his mind on the doctrines [of the sage] does not come to the understanding of them but by completing one lesson after another.”
2. “He who rises at cock-crow, and addresses himself earnestly to the pursuit of gain, is a disciple of Chih.
3. “If you want to know what separated Shun from Chih it was nothing but this,—the interval between [the thought of] gain and [the thought of] goodness.”
2. “Mih-tsze loves all equally. If, by rubbing [bare all his body] from the crown to the heel, he could have benefited all under heaven, he would have done it.
3. “Tsze-moh holds a medium [between these], and by holding that medium he is nearer the right. But by holding it without leaving room for the exigency of circumstances, it becomes like their holding their one point.
4. “What I dislike in that holding one point is the injury it does to the way [of right principle]. It takes up one point and disregards a hundred others.”
XXVII.1. Mencius said, “The hungry think any food sweet, and the thirsty think the same of any drink; and thus they do not know the right [taste] of what they eat and drink. The hunger and thirst, [in fact,] injure [their palate]. And is it only the mouth and belly that are injured by hunger and thirst? Men’s minds are also injured by them.
2. “If a man can prevent the injurious evils of hunger and thirst from doing any injury to his mind, there need be no anxiety about his not being up with other men.”
XXVIII. Mencius said, “Hwuy of Lëw-hëa would not for the three highest offices at the royal court have changed his guiding plan of life.”
XXIX. Mencius said, “A man with definite aims to be accomplished may be compared to one digging a well. To dig the well to a depth of seventy-two cubits, [and stop] without reaching the spring, is after all throwing away the well.”
2. “Having borrowed them long and not returned them, how could it be known that they did not own them?”
XXXI.1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “E Yin said, ‘I cannot be near so disobedient a person,’ and therewith he banished T‘ae-keah to T‘ung. The people were much pleased. When T‘ae-keah became virtuous, he then brought him back; and the people were much pleased.
2. “When worthies are ministers, and their rulers are not virtuous, may they indeed banish them in this way?”
3. Mencius replied, “If they have the mind of E Yin, they may. If they have not the mind, it would be usurpation.”
XXXII. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “It is said in the Book of Poetry,
‘He would not eat the bread of idleness!’
How is it that we see superior men eating without ploughing?” Mencius replied, “When a superior man resides in any State, let its ruler employ his counsels, and he comes to tranquillity, wealth, honour, and glory. Let the young in it follow his instructions, and they become filial, obedient to their elders, true-hearted, and faithful. What greater example can there be than this of not eating the bread of idleness?”
2. Mencius replied, “To exalt his aim.”
3. “What do you mean by exalting the aim?” asked [the other]. The answer was, “[Setting it] simply on benevolence and righteousness. [The scholar thinks] how to put a single innocent person to death is contrary to benevolence; how to take what one has not [a right to] is contrary to righteousness; that one’s dwelling-place should be benevolence, and one’s path righteousness. When benevolence is the dwelling-place [of the mind], and righteousness the path [of the life], the business of the great man is complete.”
XXXIV. Mencius said, “Supposing that the kingdom of Ts‘e were offered, contrary to righteousness, to Chungtsze, he would not receive it; and all men believe in him [as a man of the highest worth]. But this is [only] the righteousness which declines a small basket of rice and a dish of soup. A man can have no greater [crimes] than to disown his parents and relatives, and [the relations of] ruler and minister, superiors and inferiors. How can it be allowed to give a man credit for the great [excellences] because he possesses a small one.”
2. Mencius said, “[Kaou Yaou] would simply have apprehended him.”
3. “But would not Shun have forbidden such a thing?”
4. “Indeed,” was the reply, “how could Shun have forbidden it? [The other] had received [the law] from a proper source.”
5. “In that case what would Shun have done?”
6. [Mencius] said, “Shun would have regarded abandoning all under heaven as throwing away a worn-out sandal. He would privately have taken [his father] on his back, and withdrawn into concealment, living somewhere on the sea-board. There he would have been all his life, cheerful and happy, forgetting the empire.”
XXXVI.1. Mencius, going from Fan to [the capital of] Ts‘e, saw the sons of the king of Ts‘e at a distance, and said with a sigh, “One’s position alters the air, [just as] the nurture alters the body. Great is [the influence of] position! Are not [we] all men’s sons?”
2. Mencius said, “The residences, the carriages and horses, and the dress of kings’ sons, are mostly the same as those of other men. That the king’s sons look so is occasioned by their position,—how much more should [a peculiar air distinguish] him whose position is in the wide house of the whole world!
3. “When the ruler of Loo went to Sung, he called out at the Tëeh-chih gate, the warder of which said, ‘This is not our ruler, but how like is his voice to our ruler’s!’ This was occasioned by nothing but the correspondence of their positions.”
XXXVII.1. Mencius said, “To feed [a scholar] and not love him is to treat him as a pig; to love him and not respect him is to keep him as a domestic animal.
2. “Honouring and respecting are what should exist before any offering of gifts.
3. “If there be honouring and respecting without [that] reality of them, a superior man cannot be retained by such empty [demonstrations].”
XXXVIII. Mencius said, “The bodily organs and the manifestations of sense belong to the heaven-conferred nature. But a man must be a sage, and then he may satisfy [the design of] his bodily organization.”
2. Mencius said, “That is just as if there were one twisting round the arm of his elder brother, and you were merely to say to him, ‘Gently, gently, if you please.’ Your only course should be to teach him filial piety and fraternal duty.”
3. [At that time] the mother of one of the king’s sons had died, and his tutor asked for him that he might be allowed some months’ mourning. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “What do you say to this?”
4. “This is a case,” was the reply, “where the party wishes to complete the whole period, but finds it impossible to do so; the addition of a single day is better than not mourning at all. I spoke of the case where there was no hindrance and the thing was not done.”
2. “There are some on whom his transforming influence comes like seasonable rain.
3. “There are some whose virtue he perfects, and some to whose talents he gives their development.
4. “There are some whose inquiries he answers.
5. “There are some who privately make themselves good, and correct themselves [from his example and recorded lessons].
6. “These five are the ways by which the superior man teaches.”
XLI.1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “Lofty are your doctrines and admirable, but [to learn them] may well be likened to ascending the heavens;—they seem to be unattainable. Why not [adapt them] so as to make those [learners] consider them nearly within their reach, and so daily exert themselves?”
2. Mencius said, “A great artificer does not, for the sake of a stupid workman, alter or do away with the marking-line. E did not, for the sake of a stupid archer, change his rule for drawing the bow to the full.
3. “The superior man draws the bow to the full, but does not discharge the arrow;—in a way, [however,] which makes the thing leap [before the learner]. [So] does he stand in the middle of the right path;—those who are able follow him.”
XLII.1. Mencius said, “When right ways prevail throughout the kingdom, one’s principles appear with one’s person. When right ways disappear from the kingdom, one’s person must vanish along with one’s principles.
2. “I have not heard of one’s principles being dependent for their manifestation on other men.”
2. Mencius replied, “I do not answer him who questions me presuming on his ability, nor him who presumes on his talents and virtue, nor him who presumes on his age, nor him who presumes on services performed to me, nor him who presumes on old acquaintance:—I answer in none of these cases. And Kăng of T‘ăng was chargeable with two of them.”
XLIV.1. Mencius said, “He who stops short where stopping is not proper will stop short in everything. He who behaves shabbily to those whom he ought to treat well will behave shabbily to all.
2. “He who advances with precipitation will retire with speed.”
XLV. Mencius said, “In regard to the [inferior] creatures, the superior man is loving, but does not show benevolence. In regard to people generally, he exercises benevolence but is not affectionate. He is affectionate to his parents, and exercises benevolence to people generally. He exercises benevolence to people generally, and is loving to [inferior] creatures.”
XLVI.1. Mencius said, “The wise embrace all knowledge, but they are most earnest about what they ought to be most concerned about. The benevolent embrace all in their love, but to be earnest in cultivating an affection for the worthy is what most concerns them. [Even] the knowledge of Yaou and Shun did not extend to everything, but they were earnest about what first concerned them. The benevolence of Yaou and Shun did not show itself in [acts of] love to every man, but they were earnest in cultivating an affection for the worthy.
2. “Not to be able to keep the three years’ mourning, and to be very particular about that of three months, or that of five months; to eat immoderately and swill down the drink, and [at the same time] to inquire about [the precept] not to tear off the flesh with the teeth;—such things illustrate what I say about not knowing what is most to be attended to.”
[Ch. I. ]By the knowledge of ourselves we come to the knowledge of Heaven, and Heaven is served by our obeying our nature.
[Par. 1. ] “To exhaust our mental constitution” is, I conceive, to make one’s-self acquainted with all his mental constitution, having arrested his consciousness, and ascertained what it is. This of course gives a man the knowledge of his nature; and as he is the creature of Heaven, its attributes must be corresponding. I can get no other meaning from this paragraph. Choo He, however, and all his school, say that there is no work or labour in “exhausting the mental constitution;”—that it is “the extension to the utmost of knowledge” of the 1st chapter of “The Great Learning;” and that all the labour is in “knowing the nature,” which is “the investigation of things” of that chapter. On this view we should translate, “He who completely developes his mental constitution has known (come to know) his nature;” but this is a forced construction of the text.
[Par. 2. ] The “preservation” is the holding fast that which we have from Heaven, and the “nourishing” is the acting in accordance therewith, so that the “serving Heaven” is just the being and doing what It has intimated in our constitution to be Its will concerning us.
[Par. 3. ] Man’s “[Heaven-]ordained being” is his nature according to the opening words of “The Doctrine of the Mean;”—“What Heaven has conferred is called The Nature.” “Establishing” this means “keeping entire what Heaven has conferred upon us, and not injuring it by any doing of our own.”
It may be well to give the remarks of Chaou K‘e on this chapter. On the 1st par. he says:—“To the nature there belong the principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge. The mind is designed to regulate them. When the mind is correct, a man can put it all forth in thinking of doing good, and then he may be said to know his nature. When he knows his nature, then he knows how the way of Heaven considers as excellent what is good.”
On the 2nd par. he says:—“When one is able to preserve his mind and nourish his correct [nature], he may be called a man of perfect virtue. The way of Heaven loves life, and the perfect man also loves life. The way of Heaven is without partiality, and only approves of the virtuous. [Thus] the acting [of the perfect man] agrees with Heaven, and therefore it is said, ‘This is the way by which he serves Heaven.’ ”
On the 3rd par. he says:—“ ‘Double’ means two. The perfect man in his conduct is guided by one rule simply. Although he sees that some who have gone before him have been short-lived, and some long-lived, he never has two minds or changes his way. Let life be short like that of Yen Yuen, or long like that of the duke of Shaou, he refers both cases equally to the appointment of Heaven, and cultivates and rectifies his own person to wait for that. It is in this way that he establishes the root of [Heaven’s] appointments.”
The differences between these interpretations and those of Choo He may well lead the foreign student to put forth his strength on the study of the text more than on the commentaries.
[Ch. II. ]Man’s duty as affected by the decrees or appointments of Heaven. What may be correctly ascribed to those, and what not. Choo He says this is a continuation of the last chapter, developing the meaning of its concluding paragraph. There is a connexion between the chapters, but Heaven’s decree or appointment is here taken more widely, as extending not only to man’s nature, but to all the events that befall him.
[Par. 1. ] “A man should submissively receive what may be correctly ascribed to appointment” is, literally, “a man should submissively receive the correct appointment.” The correct appointment is that which is directly from the will of Heaven; and no consequence flowing from evil or careless conduct is to be understood as being so.
[Par. 4. ] The handcuffs or fetters are understood to be those of an evildoer:—There is important truth underlying this chapter. Compare with it various passages in the 1st Epistle of Peter.
[Ch. III. ]Virtue is sure to be found by seeking it, but riches and other external things not.
The general sentiment of this chapter is good, but truth is sacrificed to the point of the antithesis, when it is said in the second case that seeking is of no use to getting. The things “in ourselves” are the virtues of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge,—the endowments proper of our nature. Those “without ourselves” are riches and dignities. The “proper course” to seek them is that ascribed to Confucius,—“Advancing according to propriety, and retiring according to righteousness;” but yet they are not at our command and control. Chaou K‘e appropriately quotes in reference to them the words of the sage in Ana. VII. xi., “as the search may not be successful, I will follow after that which I love.”
[Ch. IV. ]Man is fitted for and happy in doing good, and may become perfect therein.
[Par. 1. ] This brief saying is quite mystical. The “all things” are taken as “the radical nature of the reasons of things,” and then the things must be further restricted to the relations of society and the duties belonging to them. If we extend them farther, we only get perplexed.
[Par. 2. ] The “sincerity” is that so largely treated of in the Doctrine of the Mean.
[Par. 3. ] For “the law of reciprocity” see Ana. XV. xxiii. To have complete sincerity, it is said, would be perfect virtue. Where there is something wanting in this, the way is to act vigorously on the law of reciprocity.
[Ch. V. ]Many may act rightly without knowing why they do so. A lesson for the philosopher’s pupils.
It would be easier to understand such chapters as this, if we had before us the conversation or discussion out of which they grew, and of which they contain Mencius’ own condensed summary.
[Ch. VI. ]The value of the feeling of shame. A wise and deep utterance.
[Ch. VII. ]The importance of the feeling of shame, and the consequence of being without it. The former chapter, it is said, was by way of exhortation; and this is by way of warning.
[Par. 2. ] In this Mencius may have been aiming at the wandering scholars of his time, who were full of plots and schemes to unite and disunite the various kinglets. Chaou K‘e supposes that the inventors of destructive engines for purposes of war are intended. It is implied that if those parties had the sense of shame, they would not form such plots nor make such engines.
[Par. 3. ] Choo He gives another view of this par., as also admissible;—“If a man be not ashamed of not being like other men, how will he be able to be like them?” This is Chaou K‘e’s view generalized.
[Ch. VIII. ]How the ancient scholars maintained their dignity and reserve, and how the ancient kings appreciated them.
Mencius had, no doubt, in mind in these remarks to indicate his own character and course, and to condemn the wandering scholars of his time.
[Ch. IX. ]How an adviser of the princes might always appear perfectly satisfied;—illustrated by the example of the scholars of antiquity.
[Par. 1. ] Nothing is known of Sung Kow-tsëen beyond what appears here. He was, we may assume, like Sung K‘ăng (VI. Pt II. iv.) one of the adventurers who travelled about tendering their advice to the different princes.
[Par. 5. ] “Holds possession of himself;”—Chaou K‘e expounds:—“Holds possession of his proper nature.” Rather it is—holds possession of himself as described in par. 3, “honouring virtue, and delighting in righteousness.” Choo He says:—“This chapter shows how the scholar, attaching weight to what is internal, and holding what is external light, will approve himself good in all places and circumstances.”
[Ch. X. ]How superior people get their inspiration to good in themselves.
“The mass of men” is literally “all men;” i. e., ordinary people.
[Ch. XI. ]Not to be elated by great riches is a proof of real superiority.
The word “add,” especially the Chinese term here so rendered, implies that the person here spoken of is already wealthy. Han and Wei were two of the six great families of the State of Tsin,—of whom some account is given on I. Pt I. i. 1.
[Ch. XII. ]When a ruler’s aim is evidently the people’s good, they will not murmur at his harshest measures.
The first part is explained rightly of toils in agriculture, road-making, bridge-making, &c.: and the second is supposed to refer to the administration of justice, but I should prefer thinking that Mencius had the idea of a just war before him. Compare Ana. XX. ii. 2.
[Ch. XIII. ]The influence exerted by a true sovereign and his rule. The different and inferior influence of a president of the States.
[Par. 1. ] “Brisk and cheerful;”—but the permanence of this cannot be looked for. In illustration of the condition and appearance of the people under a true sovereign, commentators generally quote a tradition of their state under Yaou, when “entire harmony reigned under heaven, and the lives of the people passed easily away.” Then the old men struck the clods, and sang:—“We rise at sunrise,We rest at sunset,Dig wells and drink,Till our fields and eat;—What is the strength of the emperor to us?”
[Par. 2. ] There is the same difficulty in interpreting the first clause here of the administration of justice, which I have adverted to in the note on ch. xii.
[Par. 3. ] “The superior man” has the highest meaning of which the phrase is susceptible, and = a sage, and even a sage on the throne. In the influence of Shun in the time of his obscurity, when the ploughmen yielded the furrow among themselves, and the potters made their vessels all sound, we have an example, it is said, of a sage’s transforming influence wherever he passed through, or resided for a time. In what would have been the influence of Confucius, had he been in the position of a ruler, as described in Ana XIX. xxv. 4, we have, it is said, an example of the spiritual nature of a sage, wherever he abides. A “spiritual” influence is one which is wonderful and mysterious, great but not palpable, like the plastic energy of nature,—the growth and transformations constantly going on under heaven and earth. These last terms show that a pantheistic view of the universe had come, at times at least, to supersede the idea of the operation of a personal God.
[Ch. XIV. ]The value to a ruler of a good reputation and of moral influences.
[Par. 1. ] Kindly words are but brief, and on an occasion. A reputation for kindness is the growth of time and of many evidences.
[Par. 2. ] “Good government” refers to the various enactments of law, affecting the external condition of the people. “Good instructions” are the lessons of duty, which should be impressed in connexion with these.—Commentators, to make out a connexion between this par, and the former, say that the “good reputation” has grown out of the good government.
[Par. 3. ] Compare Ana. II. iii.
[Ch. XV. ]Benevolence and righteousness proved by the case of children to be natural to man, and parts of his constitution.
[Par. 1. ] The phrases translated “intuitive ability,” “intuitive knowledge” have also the idea of goodness in them.
[Par. 3. ] The latter half of this paragraph is by no means clear, or easily translated. I have given Choo He’s view of it. Chaou K‘e says.—“Those who wish to do good have nothing else to do but to extend these ways of children to all under heaven.”
[Ch. XVI. ]How what Shun was discovered itself in his greatest obscurity.
Shun’s emotion of mind was as here pictured.
[Ch. XVII. ]Man’s whole duty is to obey the law in himself.
It would not be easy to make this utterance intelligible without supplement. Chaou interprets and supplies thus: “Do not make a man do what you yourself do not do,” &c.
[Ch. XVIII. ]The benefits of trouble and affliction;—illustrated. Compare VI. Pt II. xv.
[Ch. XIX. ]Four different classes of ministers:—the mercenary; the loyal; the unselfish and far-reaching; the truly great.
[Par. 1. ] Mencius speaks of this class as only “persons,”—in contempt.
[Par. 2. ] Compare Pt II. xiv.
[Par. 3. ] Compare V. Pt I. vii. 5, though some contend that “the people of Heaven” has a wider meaning there than here. The phrase here denotes men who are contented with their position in obscurity, and would continue all their life in it, but are prepared at the same time to go forth to public duty, when they see the call.
[Par. 4. ] The “[all] things,” must be understood first of the ruler and people.
[Ch. XX. ]The three things which the superior man delights in. Royal sway is not one of them.
A very fine chapter.
[Ch. XXI. ]Man’s nature the most important thing to him, and the source of his greatest enjoyment. Its constituents and their manifestation. This also is a fine chapter, but it is not so intelligible as the last. There is a mistiness about the two last paragraphs.
[Par. 1. ] This describes the condition of the lord of a large State, who has many opportunites of doing good. Why he should not delight in it, as much as the subject of the next paragraph in his condition, I do not see.
[Par. 2. ] The subject of this par is a true king, and why he should delight in his condition contrary to the dictum in par. 1 of last chapter, I do not see. “What belongs to his nature” would appear to be here as much as in the manifestations of it mentioned in par. 4.
[Par. 3. ] Does Mencius mean to say that the nature, being given from Heaven complete, cannot, where it is cherished, be added to or improved from without by any course of its possessor? What he seems to assert would need to be more clearly defined.
[Par. 4. ] Here our philosopher is more magniloquent than precise. The last sentence means that the limbs are instantaneously obedient to the will.
[Ch. XXII. ]The government of king Wăn, by which he showed that he knew well how to support the old.
[Par. 1. ] See IV. Pt I. xiii. 1.
[Par. 2. ] This par is to be translated historically, as it describes king Wăn’s government. See I. Pt I. iii. 4; et al. Mencius has not mentioned before the number of brood hens and sows required to be kept by each family.
[Par. 3. ] By “fields” we are to understand the allotments of 100 mow, and by “dwellings,” the homesteads, each with its five mow.
[Ch. XXIII. ]The first care of a government, to promote the virtue of the people, should be to make them well off; and how this is to be done.
[Par. 2. ] “Seasonably;”—see I. Pt I. iii. 3, 4. The “prescribed ceremonies” would be the occasions of capping, marriage, funerals, &c., excepting on which a strict economy was to be observed.
[Par. 3. ] With the concluding sentiment compare VI. Pt I. vii. 1; et al.
[Ch. XXIV. ]The doctrines of the sage, though great, have their radical principles, and the student can get a knowledge of them only by a gradual process.
[Par. 1. ] The higher one is, the smaller does what is beneath him appear to be; the more familiar we are with what is great, the more difficult do we find it to appreciate what is small. This appears to be the lesson in this paragraph, which is aptly compared to the allusire stanzas and odes in the Book of Poetry; the whole being designed to impress the mind with the greatness of the doctrines of the sage,—of Confucius, by way of eminence. There is a difficulty in identifying what is here called “the eastern hill.” Some will have it to be a small hill, called Fang, in the present district of K‘euh-fow, at the foot of which Confucius’ parents were buried; others, the Mung hill (Ana XVI. i. 4), in the district of Pe, department E-chow. Mount T‘ae was the chief of the five great mountains of China. It lay on the extreme east of Ts‘e,—in the present department of T‘ae-gan, and about two miles from the city of that name. A place is shown on the mountain, barely half way to its summit, as the point to which Confucius ascended; but there is a temple to him, now sadly dilapidated, near the summit itself. Confucius, no doubt, would go to the very top of it.
[Par. 2. ] The lesson here seems to be that the very greatness of the sage’s doctrines must lead us to think of their elementary principles. Who can look at the foaming waves, and suppose that they are fortuitous and sourceless? The full-orbed sun or moon is so bright that we can hardly look at it, but its light evidences itself even through the smallest orifice. This par. is compared to the metaphorical stanzas and odes in the Book of Poetry.
[Par. 3. ] This par. is the practical application of the chapter. “Flowing water;”—see IV. Pt II. xviii. 2. “The student” is, literally, “the superior man,”—meaning such a man beut on learning the doctrines of the sage.
[Ch. XXV. ]The different results of the thought of goodness and the thought of gain.
[Par. 1. ] “A disciple of Shun;”—i. e., although such a man may not himself attain to be a sage, he is treading in the steps of one.
[Par. 2. ] “Chih;”—see III. Pt II. x. 3.
[Ch. XXVI. ]The errors of Yang-tsze, Mih-tsze, and Tsze-moh. Obstinate adherence to a principle, irrespective of all opposing considerations, is very perilous.
[Par. 1. ] Yang-tsze is the Yang Choo of III. ii. ix. 3;—see what I have said on him in the prolegomena. One of the paragraphs there, exhibiting his sayings and views, contains the words here used to describe his principle by Mencius. It was, no doubt, current among scholars.
[Par. 2. ] Mih-tsze has appeared already in III. Pt I. v. 1, and Pt II. ix.;—see also the account of him and of his principle in the prolegomena.
[Par. 3. ] Tsze-moh is said to have belonged to Loo, but nothing more is known of him. What his principle was cannot therefore be defined. It could not have been that developed in the “Doctrine of the Mean;” what he held must have been something intermediate between the selfishness of Yang and the transcendentalism of Mih. What Mencius meant by “the exigency of circumstances” will be understood by a reference to IV. Pt I. xvii.
[Par. 4. ] The orthodox way of the scholars of China is to do what is right with reference to the whole circumstances of every case and time. See Mencius’ defence of it in VI. Pt II. 1.
[Ch. XXVII. ]The importance of not allowing the mind to be injured by poverty and a mean condition.
[Par. 1. ] With reference to the mind, hunger and thirst stand for poverty and a mean condition.
[Par. 2. ] “Other men” here are not the wealthy and honourable, but sages and worthies. Such a man is on the way to become one of them.
[Ch. XXVIII. ]Hwuy of Lëw-hea’s stedfast adherence to his plan of life.
On Hwuy of Lëw-hea see II. Pt I. ix. 2, 3; et al. In V. Pt I. i. 5, a certain mildness, or accommodating of himself to others, is mentioned as Hwuy’s characteristic, but Mencius takes care here that that should not be confounded with vacillating weakness. For the “three kung,” or highest ministers at the royal court, see the Book of History, V. xx. 5.
[Ch. XXIX. ]That labour only is to be prized which accomplishes its object.
Compare Ana. IX. xviii.: and VI. Pt I. xix. The commentators mostly suppose that Mencius had the prosecution of learning in view; but the application of his words may be very wide.
[Ch. XXX. ]The difference of the characters displayed by Yaou and Shun, by T‘ang and Woo, and by the five presidents of the States, as natural, acquired, and feigned.
[Par. 1. ] Mencius is speaking of the attributes displayed by the parties mentioned in their several rules. “The five presidents of the States;”—see VI. Pt II. vii.
[Par. 2. ] Some would interpret this par. ;—“Having feigned them long, and not returned [to the right], how could they know that they did not [really] have them?”
[Ch. XXXI. ]The end may justify the means in dealing with a bad ruler, but the principle is not to be easily applied.
[Par. 1. ] E Yin and his dealing with T‘ae-këah.;—see V. Pt I. vi. 5, and the Book of History, IV. v. Pt I. 9.
[Par. 3. ] The mind of E Yin was entirely loyal, and his aim was only the public good.—Compare for the general sentiment what Mencius says in V. Pt II. ix., and II. Pt II. viii. 2.
[Ch. XXXII. ]The services which a superior man renders to a State entitle him, without doing official duty, to support.
We have here an instance of the insinuation repeatedly made by disciples of Mencius, that it was wrong in him to be supported by the princes, while he would not take office under them. Compare III. Pt I. iv.; Pt II. iv.: et al. On the nature of Mencius’ defence of his practice, see what I have said in the sketch of his Life and Character in the Prolegomena.
The Ode quoted from is the 8th of Book IX. Pt I.
[Ch. XXXIII. ]How a scholar should prepare himself for the duties to which he aspires.
[Par. 1. ] Teen was, probably, a son of king Seuen of Ts‘e. In the time of the Warring States, the number of wandering scholars, seeking to be employed, had greatly increased. They were no favourites with Mencius, but he here answers the prince according to his ideal of the scholar.
[Par. 3. ] On benevolence as man’s dwelling-place, and righteousness as man’s path, see VI. Pt I. xi. We can hardly understand “the great man” here as in xix. 4. There it denotes sages, the highest style of man; here, the individuals in the various grades of official employment, with an implication, perhaps, that such a scholar was fit for the highest office.
[Ch. XXXIV. ]How men judge wrongly of character overlooking, in their admiration of one eccentric excellence, great failures and deficiencies.
Chung-tsze, or Mr. Chung, is the Ch‘in Chung of III. Pt II. x., which chapter should be read in connexion with this. On declining a small basket of rice, &c., see VI. Pt I. x. 6.
[Ch. XXXV. ]What Shun and his minister of Justice would have done if Shun’s father had committed a murder.
[Par. 1. ] T‘aou Ying, it is supposed, was a disciple of Mencius. We hardly know anything more of him than what appears here. See Kaou Yaou’s appointment to be minister of Justice in the Book of History, II. i. 20.
[Par. 2. ] He would have apprehended Koo-sow, and dealt with him according to his crime.
[Par. 4. ] The “proper source” from which Kaou Yaou had received the law, and especially that of death for the murderer, was Heaven. See Kaou Yaou’s “Counsels” in the Book of History, II. iii.
[Par. 5. ] This is Mencius’ view of what Shun would have done according to the Chinese idea of the relation of father and son.
[Ch. XXXVI. ]How one’s elevated social position affects his air, and much more may a scholar’s position be expected to do so.
[Par. 1. ] Fan was at this time a city of Ts‘e, and still gives its name to a district of Puh Chow, in the department of Tung-ch‘ang. Chaou K‘e says that it was an appanage of the king’s sons by his concubines. We cannot tell, however, whether it was in Fan, or after his arrival at the capital, that Mencius saw the king’s son or sons. The last sentence may also be understood—“Are not they—the king’s sons—all men’s sons?”
[Par. 2. ] “The wide house of the world;”—see III. Pt II. ii. 3.
[Par. 3. ] The T‘eeh-chih was the gate of the capital of Sung on the east.
[Ch. XXXVII. ]That he be really respected should be essential to a scholar’s remaining in the service of a prince.
This utterance was, no doubt, drawn forth by the conduct of the wandering scholars of Mencius’ time, who were glad to be at a court for what they could get. There is admonition in it also to the kinglets and princes, who thought it enough, in order to get help from men who might be really scholars, to support them.
[Ch. XXXVIII. ]Only by a sage are the bodily organs and the senses used according to their design.
Mencius’ meaning is that, besides his body and his senses, man has his mind, with the principles of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge; and the mind ought to rule the body. This is the will of Heaven.
[Ch. XXXIX. ]Reproof of Kung-sun Ch‘ow for seeming to assent to the proposal to shorten the period of mourning. Compare Ana. XVII. xxi.
[Par. 1. ] The mourning here referred to was that of three years for a parent; but perhaps the king wanted to shorten the period in other cases as well.
[Par. 3. ] The “king’s son” here, it is supposed, was a son by a concubine, and he was prevented by the jealous or other opposition of the queen proper from completing the full period of mourning. We cannot say whether this was the case or not. Other explanations of it have been devised; but it is not worth while to discuss them.
[Ch. XL. ]Five ways in which the teaching of the superior man is effected.
[Par. 1. ] The wish of the superior man in all cases is one and the same,—to teach. His methods are modified, however, by the different characters of men. Five methods are specified here, and VI. Pt I. xvi. gives us another.
[Par. 2. ] This class only want the influence of the superior man, as plants need the rain and dew. So was it, it is said, with Confucius and his disciples Yen Hwuy and Tsăng-tsze.
[Par. 3. ] So was it with Confucius and the virtuous Jen K‘ew and Min Tsze-k‘ëen, with the talented Tsze-loo and Tsze-kung.
[Par. 4. ] So was it with Confucius and Fan-ch‘e (Ana. II. v.: et al.), with Mencius and Wan Chang.
[Par. 5. ] So was it with Confucius and Ch‘in K‘ang (Ana. XVI. xiii.), with Mencius and E Che (III. Pt I. v.). The best example of the case, however, is that of the influence of Confucius on our philosopher (IV. Pt II. xxii.).
[Ch. XLI. ]The teacher of truth must not lower his doctrines to adapt them to the capacity of his learners:—a lesson to Kung-sun Ch‘ow.
[Par. 2. ] E;—see IV. Pt II. xxiv.: et al.
[Par. 3. ] “In a way, however, which makes the thing leap before the learner;”—the phrase, “leaping-like,” which requires to be so much supplemented, is difficult. It belongs, I think, to the superior man in all the action which is represented. No man can be taught how to hit; that is every man’s own act. But he is taught to shoot, and that in so lively a manner, that the hitting also is, as it were, set forth before him. So with the teacher and learner of truth. As the learner tries to do as he is taught, he will be found laying hold of what seemed unapproachable.
[Ch. XLII. ]One must live or die with his principles, acting from himself, not with regard to other men.
A man must direct his course from his own conviction of what is right, appearing in office when it is befitting, disappearing in obscurity, when to be in office would be inconsistent with his principles.
[Ch. XLIII. ]Different classes whom Mencius would not receive into his school. How he required the simple pursuit of truth in those whom he taught. Compare VI. Pt II. ii.
[Par. 1. ] Kăng of T‘ăng was, it is said, a younger brother of the ruler of T‘ăng. His rank made Kung-too suppose that more than ordinary respect should have been shown to him, and yet it was one of those things, no doubt, which made Mencius jealously watch his spirit.
[Par. 2. ] The two things on which Kăng presumed were, it is supposed, his rank and his talents and virtue.
[Ch. XLIV. ]Where virtues are wanting, decencies cannot be expected. Precipitate advances are followed by speedy retreats.
[Ch. XLV. ]The different spheres of kindness or lovingness, of benevolence, and of affection.
Compare the language of Confucius on the graduated scale of regard and behaviour to different classes of men in the Doctrine of the Mean, XX. 12. The utterance here was directed, most probably, against the Mihist doctrine of loving all equally.
[Ch. XLVI. ]On knowing and pursuing what is most important to be known and pursued:—illustrated by the cases of Yaou and Shun, and by opposite instances.
[Par. 1. ] See the conversation of Confucius with Fan Ch‘e in Ana. XII. xxii., where the principles enunciated here by Mencius are implied. The first two Parts of the Book of History may also be referred to. In them we have Yaou and Shun looking out for the best men whom they could be friendly with and employ, and attending to the things which in their time and circumstances were most required for the well-being of the empire.
[Par. 2. ] The illustrations here are of men neglecting what is important, and concerned about what is trivial in comparison. For the references to customs at meals, see the Le Ke, I. Pt I. iii. 54—59. To tear off the roasted meat from a bone with the teeth was but a small matter compared with such an exhibition of gluttony as the other clauses speak of.