Front Page Titles (by Subject) TSIN SIN. PART II. - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius
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TSIN SIN. PART II. - 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 II.
ChapterI.1. Mencius said, “Opposite indeed of benevolent was king Hwuy of Leang! The benevolent begin with what they [most] love, and proceed to what they do not [so naturally] love. Those who are not benevolent, beginning with what they do not [so naturally] love, proceed to what they [most] love.”
2. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “What do you mean?” [Mencius replied], “King Hwuy of Lëang, for the matter of territory, tore and destroyed his people by employing them in fighting. Having sustained a great defeat, he wished to fight again; and, fearing lest the people should not be able to get the victory, he urged his son, a youth, whom he loved, [to take the command,] and sacrificed him with them. This is what I call—beginning with what they do not [so naturally] love, and proceeding to what they [most] love.”
2. “ ‘Punitive expeditions’ are when the supreme authority smites its subjects. Hostile States conduct no punitive expeditions against one another.”
2. “In the ‘Successful Completion of the War’ I select two or three passages only, [and repose entire credit in them].
3. “The benevolent man has no enemy under heaven. When [the prince] the most benevolent was attacking him who was the most the opposite, how could the blood have flowed till it floated the pestles of the mortars?”
2. “If the ruler of a State love benevolence, he will have no adversary under heaven.
3. “When [T‘ang] was conducting his punitive expeditions in the south, the rude tribes on the north murmured. When he was doing so in the east, the rude tribes on the west murmured. Their cry was,—‘Why does he make us last?’
4. “When king Woo attacked Yin, he had [only] three hundred chariots of war, and three thousand guards.
5. “The king said, ‘Do not fear. Let me give you repose. I am no enemy to the people.’ [On this] they bowed their heads to the ground, like the horns [of animals] falling off.
6. “The phrase ‘punitive expedition’ has in it the meaning of correction. Each [State] wishing to have itself corrected, what need is there for fighting?”
V. Mencius said, “Cabinet-makers, builders, wheel-wrights, and carriage-builders can give to a man the compass and square, but they cannot make him skilful [in the use of them].”
VI. Mencius said, “Shun ate [his] parched grain, and partook of [his] coarse herbs, as if he were to be doing so all his life. When he became emperor, and had the embroidered robes to wear, [his] lute to play on, and [Yaou’s] two daughters to wait on him, he was as if those things belonged to him as a matter of course.”
VII. Mencius said, “From this time forth I know the heavy consequences of killing a man’s near relations. When a man kills another’s father, that other will kill his father; when a man kills another’s elder brother, that other will kill his elder brother. So he does not himself indeed do the act, but there is only a [small] interval [between him and it].”
2. “Now-a-days, it is to exercise violence.”
IX. Mencius said, “If a man do not himself walk in the right way, it will not be walked in [even] by his wife and children. If he order others but not according to the right way, he will not be able to get the obedience [even] of his wife and children.”
X. Mencius said, “A bad year cannot prove the cause of death to him whose [stores of] what is needful are complete; an age of corruption cannot throw him into disorder whose [equipment of] virtue is complete.”
XI. Mencius said, “A man who loves fame may be able to decline a kingdom of a thousand chariots; but if he be not [really] the man [to do such a thing], it will appear in his countenance in the matter of a small basket of rice, or a dish of soup.”
2. “Without the rules of propriety and distinctions of what is right, high and low will be thrown into confusion.
3. “Without the various business of government, there will not be resources sufficient for the expenditure.”
XIII. Mencius said, “There are instances of individuals without benevolence who have got possession of a [single] State, but there is no instance of the whole kingdom’s being got by one without benevolence.”
2. “Therefore to gain the peasantry is the way to become the son of Heaven; to gain the son of Heaven is the way to become the prince of a State; to gain the prince of a State is the way to become a great officer.
3. “When the prince of a State endangers the altars of the Spirits of the land and grain, he is changed and another appointed [in his place].
4. “When the sacrificial victims have been perfect, the millet in its vessels all pure, and the sacrifices offered at their proper seasons, if there yet ensue drought or inundations, then the altars of the Spirits of the land and grain are changed, and others appointed.”
XV. Mencius said, “A sage is the teacher of a hundred generations;—this is true of Pih-e and Hwuy of Lëw-hëa. Therefore when men [now] hear the character of Pih-e, the corrupt become pure, and the weak acquire determination. When they hear the character of Hwuy of Lew-hea, the mean become generous, and the niggardly become liberal. [Those two] made themselves distinguished a hundred generations back, and, a hundred generations after them, those who hear of them are all aroused [in this manner]. Could such effects be produced by them if they had not been sages? And how much more did they affect those who were in contiguity with them and warned by them!”
XVI. Mencius said, “By benevolence is meant [the distinguishing characteristic of] man. When it is embodied in man’s conduct, we have what we call the path [of duty].”
XVII. Mencius said, “When Confucius was about to leave Loo, he said, ‘I will go by and by;’—it was right that he should leave the State of his parents in this way. When he was leaving Ts‘e, he took with his hands the water from the rice which was being washed in it, and went away [with the rice uncooked];—it was right he should leave another State in this way.”
XVIII. Mencius said, “The reason why the superior man was reduced to straits between Ch‘in and Ts‘ae was because none of the rulers or of their ministers communicated with him.”
2. Mencius replied, “There is no harm in that. Scholars suffer more than others from the mouths of people.
3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,
[Such was the case of] Confucius. And again,
[Such was the case of] king Wăn.”
XX. Mencius said, “[Anciently], men of virtue and talents by means of their own enlightenment made others enlightened. Now-a-days, [those who would be deemed such, seek] by means of their own darkness to make others enlightened.”
XXI. Mencius said to Kaou-tsze, “There are the narrow foot-paths along the hills;—if suddenly they be used, they become roads, and if in a short space they are [again] disused, the wild grass fills them up. Now the wild grass is filling up your mind, Sir.”
XXII.1. Kaou-tsze said, “The music of Yu was better than that of king Wăn.”
2. Mencius asked, “On what ground do you say so?” and the other replied, “Because the knob of [Yu’s] bells is nearly worn through.”
3. Mencius rejoined, “How can that be a sufficient proof? Have the ruts at a city-gate been made [merely] by the two-horsed carriage?”
XXIII.1. There was a famine in Ts‘e, and Ch‘in Tsin said [to Mencius], “The people are all thinking that you, Master, will again obtain for them the opening of [the granary of] T‘ang, but I apprehend you will not do so a second time.”
2. [Mencius] replied, “To do so would be to act like Fung Foo. There was a man of that name in Tsin, distinguished for his skill in seizing tigers. He afterwards became a scholar of reputation, and going once into the wild country, he found a crowd in pursuit of a tiger. The tiger took refuge in a corner of a hill, where no one dared to attack him; but when the people descried Fung Foo, they ran and met him. He [immediately] bared his arms, and descended from his carriage. The multitude were pleased with him, but those who were scholars laughed at him.”
XXIV.1. Mencius said, “For the mouth to desire tastes, the eye colours, the ear sounds, the nose odours, and the four limbs ease and rest;—these things are natural. But there is the appointment [of Heaven in connexion with them]; and the superior man does not say [in his pursuit of them], ‘It is my nature.’
2. “[The exercise of] love between father and son, [the observance of] righteousness between ruler and minister, the rules of ceremony between guest and host, [the display of] knowledge in [recognizing] the able and virtuous, and the [fulfilling the whole] heavenly course by the sage:—these are appointed [by Heaven and may be realized in different degrees]. But there is [an adaptation of our] nature [for them], and the superior man does not say [in reference to them], ‘There is a [limiting] appointment [of Heaven].’ ”
2. “What do you mean by ‘A good man?’ What do you mean by ‘A real man?’ ”
3. The reply was, “A man who commands our liking is what is called good.
4. “He whose [goodness] is part of himself is what is called a real man.
5. “He whose [goodness] is accumulated in full measure is what is called a beautiful man.
6. “He whose completed [goodness] is brightly displayed is what is called a great man.
7. “When this great man exercises a transforming influence, he is what is called a sage.
8. “When the sage is beyond our knowledge, he is what is called a spirit-man.
9. “Yoh-ching is between the [first] two characters, and below the [last] four.”
XXVI.1. Mencius said, “Those who are fleeing from [the errors of] Mih naturally turn to Yang, and those who are fleeing from [the errors of] Yang naturally turn to orthodoxy. When they so turn, they should at once and simply be received.
2. “Those who now-a-days dispute with [those who had been] Yangists and Mihists, do so as if they had been pursuing a stray pig, the leg of which, after they have got it to enter the pen, they proceed to tie.”
XXVII. Mencius said, “There are the exactions of hempen cloth and silken thread, of grain, and of personal service. The wise ruler requires but one of these [at once], deferring the other two. If he require two of them [at once], then the people die of hunger. If he require the three [at once], then fathers and sons are separated.”
XXVIII. Mencius said, “The precious things of the prince of a State are three;—the territory, the people, and the business of the government. If a prince value as most precious pearls and gems, calamity is sure to befall him.”
XXIX. P‘wan-shing Kwoh having obtained an official situation in Ts‘e, Mencius said, “He is a dead man,—P‘wan-shing Kwoh!” P‘wan-shing Kwoh having been put to death, the disciples asked, saying, “How did you know, Master, that he would be put to death?” Mencius replied, “He was a man who had a little ability, but he had not learned the great principles of the superior man. He was just qualified to bring death upon himself, but for nothing more.”
XXX.1. When Mencius went to Tăng, he was lodged in the upper palace. A sandal in the process of making had been placed there in a window, and when the keeper of the place [came to] look for it, he could not find it.
2. [On this], some one asked [Mencius] about the matter, saying, “Is it thus that your followers pilfer?” “Do you think, Sir,” was the reply, “that they came here for the purpose of pilfering the sandal?” The man said, “I apprehend not. But you, Master, having arranged to give lessons, do not go back to inquire into the past, and you do not reject those who come to you. If they come with the mind [to learn], you at once receive them without any more ado.”
XXXI.1. Mencius said, “All men have some things which they cannot bear [to see];—extend that feeling to what they can bear, and the result will be benevolence. All men have some things which they will not do;—extend that feeling to the things which they do, and righteousness will be the result.
2. “If a man can give full development to the feeling which makes him shrink from injuring others, his benevolence will be more than can be put into practice. If he can give full development to the feeling which refuses to dig through or jump over [a wall, for a bad purpose], his righteousness will be more than can be put into practice.
3. “If a man can give full development to the real feeling [of dislike] with which he receives [the salutation of] ‘Thou,’ ‘Thou,’ he will act righteously in all places and circumstances.
4. “When a scholar speaks what he ought not to speak, by his speaking seeking to gain some end, and when he does not speak what he ought to speak, by his silence seeking to gain the same end;—both these cases are of a piece with digging through or jumping over a wall.”
XXXII.1. Mencius said, “Words which are plain and simple, while their scope is far-reaching, are good words. Principles which, as held, are compendious, while their application is extensive, are good principles. The words of the superior man do not go below the girdle, but [great] principles are contained in them.
2. “The principle which the superior man holds is that of personal cultivation, but all under heaven is thereby tranquillized.
3. “The disease of men is this:—that they neglect their own fields and go to weed the fields of others, and that what they require from others is great, while what they lay upon themselves is light.”
2. “When all the movements in the countenance and every turn [of the body], are exactly according to propriety, that shows the greatest degree of complete virtue. Weeping for the dead [should be] the expression of [real] sorrow, and not as the [proper affection] of the living. The regular path of virtue [is to be pursued] without any bend, from no view to emolument. Words should be in themselves sincere, not with a desire to make one’s conduct [appear to be] correct.
3. “The superior man obeys the law [of right], and waits simply for what is appointed.”
2. “Halls several times eight cubits high, with beams projecting at the eaves several cubits;—these, if I could realize my wishes, I would not have. Food spread before me over ten cubits square, and attendant girls to the number of several hundred;—these, if I could realize my wishes, I would not have. Pleasure and drinking, and the dash of hunting, with a thousand chariots following after me;—these, if I could realize my wishes, I would not have. What they esteem are what I would have nothing to do with; what I esteem are the rules of the ancients.—Why should I stand in awe of them?”
XXXV. Mencius said, “For nourishing the mind there is nothing better than to make the desires few. Here is a man whose desires are few:—there may be some [right qualities] not kept in his heart, but they will be few. Here is a man whose desires are many;—there may be some [right qualities] kept in his heart, but they will be few.”
2. Kung-sun Ch‘ow asked, saying, “Which is better,—minced meat and roasted meat, or sheep-dates?” Mencius said, “Mince and roast-meat to be sure!” Kung-sun Ch‘ow went on, “Then why did Tsăng-tsze eat mince and roast-meat, while he would not eat sheep-dates?” “For mince and roast-meat,” was the reply, “there is a common liking, while that for sheep-dates was peculiar. We avoid the name, but do not avoid the surname. The surname is common, but the name is peculiar.”
XXXVII.1. Wan Chang asked, saying, “Confucius, when he was in Ch‘in, said, ‘Why not return? The scholars of my school are ardent and hasty. They advance and seize [their object], but do not forget their early ways.’ When Confucius was in Ch‘in, why did he think of the ambitious scholars of Loo?”
2. Mencius replied, “Confucius, not getting men who would pursue the due medium, felt that he must take the ardent and cautiously-decided. The ardent would advance and seize [their object]; the cautiously-decided would keep themselves from certain things. It is not to be thought that Confucius did not wish for men pursuing the due medium, but being unable to assure himself of finding such, he therefore thought of the next class.”
3. “I venture to ask,” [said Ch‘ow,] “what sort of men they were who could be called ‘the ardent?’ ”
4. “Such,” was the reply, “as K‘in Chang, Tsăng Seih, and Muh P‘ei were those whom Confucius styled ‘the ardent.’ ”
5. “Why are they styled ‘the ardent?’ ”
6. [Mencius] said, “Their aim led them to talk magniloquently, saying, ‘The ancients! The ancients!’ But their actions, compared with [their words], did not come up to them.
7. “When he found that neither could he get those who were [thus] ardent, he wished to get scholars who would consider anything impure as beneath them, and to communicate [his instructions] to them. These were the cautiously-decided,—a class next to the other.”
8. [Chang pursued his questioning], “Confucius said, ‘They are only the good careful people of the villages at whom I feel no indignation when they pass my door without entering my house. Your good careful people of the villages are the thieves of virtue.’ What sort of people were they who could be styled ‘the good careful people of the villages?’ ”
9. [Mencius replied], “They say [of the ardent], ‘Why are they so magniloquent? Their words have not respect to their actions, nor their actions to their words, and then they say, “The ancients! The ancients!” [And] why do these—[the cautiously-decided]—act so peculiarly, and carry themselves so cold and distant? Born in this age, we should be of this age;—to be [deemed] good is all that is needed.’ Eunuch-like flattering their generation,—such are your good careful men of the villages.”
10. Wan Chang said, “Their whole village styles those men good and careful. In all their conduct they are so. Why was it that Confucius considered them to be the thieves of virtue?”
11. [Mencius] replied, “If you would blame them, you find nothing to allege. If you would criticize them, you have nothing to criticize. They agree with the current customs; they are at one with an impure age. Their principles have a semblance of right-heartedness and truth; their conduct has a semblance of disinterestedness and purity. All men are pleased with them, and they think themselves right, so that it is impossible to proceed with them to the principles of Yaou and Shun. On this account they are called ‘the thieves of virtue.’
12. “Confucius said, ‘I hate a semblance which is not the reality. I hate the yew-weed, lest it be confounded with the growing corn. I hate glib-tonguedness, lest it be confounded with righteousness. I hate sharpness of tongue, lest it be confounded with sincerity. I hate the notes of Ch‘ing, lest they be confounded with [true] music. I hate the reddish-blue, lest it be confounded with vermilion. I hate your good careful men of the villages, lest they be confounded with the [truly] virtuous.’
13. “The superior man would simply bring back the unchanging standard [of truth and duty]. That being rectified, the masses of the people are roused [to virtue]. When they are so aroused, forthwith perversities and glossed wickedness disappear.”
XXXVIII.1. Mencius said, “From Yaou and Shun down to T‘ang were five hundred years and more. As to Yu and Kaou Yaou, they saw [those earliest sages], and [so] knew [their doctrines], while T‘ang heard those doctrines [as transmitted], and [so] knew them.
2. “From T‘ang to king Wăn were five hundred years and more. As to E Yin and Lae Choo, they saw [T‘ang], and [so] knew [his doctrines], while king Wăn heard them [as transmitted], and so knew them.
3. “From king Wăn to Confucius were five hundred years and more. As to T‘ae-kung Wang and San E-săng, they saw [Wăn], and [so] knew his doctrines, while Confucius heard them [as transmitted], and [so] knew them.
4. “From Confucius to now there are [only] a hundred years and [somewhat] more;—so far from being remote is the distance from the sage in point of time, and so very near at hand was the sage’s residence. In these circumstances, is there no one [to transmit his doctrines]? Yea, is there no one [to do so]?”
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[Ch. I. ]The opposite ways of the benevolent and those who are not benevolent:—an emphatic condemnation of king Hwuy of Lëang.
[Par. 1. ] King Hwuy of Lëang;—see on I. Pt I. i. 1. See the gradation of loving regards in the benevolent in Pt I. xlv. With what is said of those who are not benevolent, we may compare Pt I. xliv.
[Par. 2. ] “He tore and lacerated his people;”—the characters suggest the idea of the king’s dealing with his people as rice is dealt with when it is boiled to a pulpy mass. “He sacrificed his son;”—see I. Pt I. v. 1.
[Ch. II. ]How all the fightings in the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw were unrighteous:—a warning to the warring States of Mencius’ time.
[Par. 1. ] “The Spring and Autumn;”—see the 5th volume of my larger work, “The Ch‘un Ts‘ew, with the Tso Chuen.” “Wars”—the term, according to the phraseology of the Spring and Autumn, should be translated “battles;” but Mencius meant, I believe, to indicate by it all the operations of war mentioned in the Classic of Confucius. We have there 23 battles or fightings, 213 attacks or smitings, with a multitude of “incursions,” “sieges,” “carryings away,” “surprises,” &c.
[Par. 2. ] “Punitive,” or perhaps, from the composition of the Chinese term, I should say corrective, “expeditions” were competent only to the king, who might carry them out in his own person, or entrust them to one of the princes, or to a combination of them. And some of the presidents of the States in the Ch‘un Ts‘ew period might in a measure plead his delegation for their proceedings. Compare what Mencius says in VI. Pt II. vii. 2.
[Ch. III. ]With what abatement of faith in it Mencius read the Book of History.
[Par. 1. ] The utterance here seems at first sight of it in Chinese to mean—“It would be better to have no books, than to put entire credit in them;” but the reference in par. 2 shows that Mencius had in mind “the Book” par excellence,—the Book of History.
[Par. 2. ] See the Book of History, V. iii. The par. referred to in the next par. here, about the bloodshed, is the 9th. “Passages” is literally “tablets,” referring to the slips of wood or bamboo, on which the characters were pricked out with a stylus.
[Par. 3. ] The slaughter here described was made by the forces of the tyrant Chow turning against one another, and not by the troops of “the most benevolent” king Woo. The amount of it is probably exaggerated; but something of the kind is easily conceivable.
Some writers think that Mencius expressed himself so strongly, foreseeing what precedents for their abnormal courses might in future time be sought in the Book of History by rebels and oppressors. Compare our philosopher’s rule for the interpretation of the Book of Poetry in V. Pt I. iv. 2.
[Ch. IV. ]Counsel intended for rulers,—that they should not allow themselves to be deceived by men who would advise them to war. Grand success is to be obtained by benevolence.
[Par. 1. ] Compare IV. Pt I. xiv., and VI. Pt II. ix.
[Par. 2. ] See the saying at the beginning of par. 3 of the preceding chapter.
[Par. 3. ] See I. Pt II. xi. 2: et al.
[Par. 4. ] In the Preface to the Book of History, par. 3, it is said that on the occasion referred to here Woo had 300 war chariots, and 300 guards. Much has been written on the difference between the two statements, but it is needless to enter here on the matter. Mencius wants to show that Woo’s forces were very small as compared with those of his opponent;—and so, no doubt, they were.
[Par. 5. ] See the Book of History, V. i. Pt II. 9; but the text of that Classic is hardly recognizable in Mencius’ version of it, and the meaning of Woo’s words in the two Works is different. I do not know how to account for the different texts.
[Par. 6. ] See the note on par. 2 of chapter ii.
[Ch. V. ]Real attainments must be made by the learner for himself.
For the general sentiment compare Pt I. xli. The same names of workers in wood, &c., occur in III. Pt II. iv.
[Ch. VI. ]The equanimity of Shun in poverty and as emperor.
[Ch. VII. ]The thought of its consequences should make men careful of their conduct:—illustrated by the result of killing the near relatives of another.
This remark was made, probably, as observed by Choo He, with reference to some particular case which had come under Mencius’ observation. It was a maxim of Chinese society, sanctioned by Confucius, that “a man should not live under the same heaven with the slayer of his father, nor in the same State with the slayer of his elder brother.”
[Ch. VIII. ]The benevolence of ancient rule and the selfishness of modern seen in the regulations about the frontier-gates.
[Par. 1. ] Anciently the object contemplated by these gates was to prevent the ingress or egress of parties dangerous to the State.
[Par. 2. ] In Mencius’ time they were maintained chiefly for the collection of duties.—Compare II. Pt I. v. 3.
[Ch. IX. ]How a man’s influence depends on his own example and procedure.
His wife and children are the most amenable to a man’s example and orders, but unless he is all right in his example and procedure, they will not be or do what is right;—how much less other men! On the latter part compare Ana. XIII. xiii.
[Ch. X. ]Corrupt times are provided against by established virtue. Compare the Doctrine of the Mean, XX. 16.
[Ch. XI. ]A man’s true disposition will appear in small matters, when a love of fame may have enabled him to do great things.
Choo He says on this:—“A man is seen not so much in things that require an effort as in things which he thinks little of. By bearing this in mind when we observe him, we can see what he really rests in.” Chaou K‘e, on the contrary, takes the utterance superficially, as an approval of the love of fame.
[Ch. XII. ]Three things are essential to the well-being of a State:—the right men; the rules of propriety; and wise administration.
[Par. 1. ] This condition not obtaining, such men will leave the State, and then it will become as if no men were in it.
[Par. 3. ] The various business of government refers to all the sources of revenue and their administration.
[Ch. XIII. ]Only by the benevolent can the kingdom be got.
A commentator observes:—“From the dynasty of Ts‘in downwards, there have been cases when the empire was got by men without benevolence; but it has been lost again in such instances after one or two reigns.”
[Ch. XIV. ]The different constituents of a country in respect of their importance;—the ruler, the tutelary spirits, and the people.
[Par. 1. ] Translated into our modes of thinking, the three elements in a nation would be,—the ruler, the established religion, and the people. It is not easy to determine the exact force of the terms by which the second element is described;—whether we are to understand merely the altars to the tutelary Spirits, or those Spirits themselves. Choo He takes the former view; other commentators maintain the latter;—and with them I am inclined to agree. Of course when the presiding Spirits were changed, the place and form of their altars might also be changed.
[Par. 2. ] This shows that the people are the most important constituent in a country. “The peasantry” is here equivalent to “the people,” the land being the source of the maintenance of all classes, and the original constitution of the Chinese nation as a whole, as well as of every State, being based on a recognition of this. Even the highest authority therefore came from the people.
[Par. 3. ] This shows that the tutelary Spirits of a State were of more importance than its ruler.
[Par. 4. ] This shows that the people were still more important than the tutelary Spirits. They were appointed and worshipped for the good of the people; the people did not exist for them.—No chapter in his Works shows the boldness of Mencius’ thinking more than this.
[Ch. XV. ]That Pih-e and Hwuy of Lew-hea were sages is proved by the permanence of their influence.
Compare V. Pt II. i., and the references there given. I do not think that Mencius intended sages here to be understood in the highest sense of the name. Confucius is “the teacher of ten thousand generations.”
[Ch. XVI. ]The principle of benevolence in man’s nature, and in his conduct.
Compare VI. Pt I. xi. 1. See also the Doctrine of the Mean, XX. 5.
[Ch. XVII. ]The different ways in which Confucius left Loo and Ts‘e.
See V. Pt II. i. 4.
[Ch. XVIII. ]The reason of Confucius being in straits between Ch‘in and Ts‘ae.
See Ana. XI. ii., which puts it beyond doubt that by “the superior man” here we are to understand Confucius. So to designate him, however, is not after the usual style of our philosopher.
[Ch. XIX. ]Mencius comforts one Mih K‘e under calumny by the reflection that distinguished men were more especially exposed to such a thing.
[Par. 1. ] Mih K‘e was, it is supposed, a scholar of the time. He was smarting, we must assume, under some calumny when he had this conversation with Mencius.
[Par. 3. ] See the Book of Poetry, Pt I. iii., Ode I. 4, and Pt III. i. Ode III. 8. It is difficult to see why Mencius should apply the former passage to Confucius, and the latter to king Wăn.
[Ch. XX. ]How of old men of worth led on men by their example, while in Mencius’ time it was tried by bulers to urge men contrary to their example.
Of old laws and example went together in the ruling class; in Mencius’ time there remained the laws, but the example was all bad.
[Ch. XXI. ]That the cultivation of the mind should not be intermitted.
Kaou-tsze,—see on VI. Pt II. iii. 1. The individual here would seem to be the same as the one in II. Pt II. xii. 2. Chaou K‘e says that after studying with Mencius for some time, and before he fully understood his principles, he went off and addicted himself to some other teacher, so that what our philosopher here says to him was with reference to this course and its consequences.
[Ch. XXII. ]Refutation of an absurd remark of Kaou-tsze about Yu’s music being better than that of king Wăn.
What Kaou insisted on as the basis of his assertion was only the effect of time or long use. As Yu was long anterior to king Wăn, those of his bells which remained were necessarily more worn than the more recent ones, but this did not imply any superiority of the music which they made. At the entrance to a gate the road contracts, and all the carriages which had been distributed over its breadth are obliged to run in the same ruts, which hence are deeper there than elsewhere. How much more must this be the case when in the case supposed we have to think of the two-horsed carriages of the Hëa dynasty, followed by the three-horsed ones of the Shang, and those by the four-horsed of the Chow!
[Ch. XXIII. ]How Mencius knew where to stop and maintain his own dignity in his intercourse with the princes.
[Par. 1. ] Ch‘in Tsin,—see II. Pt. II. iii.; et al. At T‘ang, the name of which is still preserved in the village of Kan-t‘ang, district of Tseih-mih, department Lae-chow, Shan-tung, the rulers of Ts‘e, it would appear, kept grain in store, and on some previous occurrence of famine, Mencius had advised the king to open the granary and give out its contents. In the mean time, however, he had not found the king willing to obey his higher counsels, and intended to leave the State. He considered that his work in Ts‘e was done, and that it would be inconsistent with his character to make such an application as he had done before.—I must believe also that the famine at this time was not very severe.
[Par. 2. ] It did not belong to Fung Foo, now an officer and scholar, to be fighting with tigers and playing the part of a bravo.
[Ch. XXIV. ]The superior man subjects the gratification of his natural appetites to the will of Heaven, and pursues the doing of good without thinking that the amount which he can do may be limited by that will.
[Par. 1. ] Every appetite naturally desires its unlimited gratification, but a limited amount or an entire denial of such gratification may be the will of Heaven; and the superior man submits to that will. He holds that the appetites belong to the part of his constitution which is less noble;—see VI. Pt I. xiv.
[Par. 2. ] Underneath this paragraph there lies the Mencian doctrine of human nature as formed for the practice of what is good.—Choo He says well on the whole:—“I have heard it observed by my master that the things mentioned in both of these paragraphs are in the constitution of our nature, and are limited also by the appointment of Heaven. Mankind, however, consider that the former five are more especially natural, and, though they may be prevented from obtaining them, still desire them; and that the latter five are indeed appointed by Heaven, but if the fulfilment of them does not come to them readily, they do not go on to put forth their strength to attain to it. On this account Mencius shows what is most important in each case, that he may induce a broader way of thinking in regard to the latter class, and repress the way of thinking in regard to the former.”
[Ch. XXV. ]The character of Yoh-ching. Different degrees of attainment in character.
[Par. 1. ] Chaou K‘e says that Haou-săng Puh-hae was a man of Ts‘e. Nothing is known of him. Yoh-ching,—see I. Pt II. xvi., et al., especially VI. Pt II. xiv.
[Par. 3. ] It is assumed here that the general verdict of mankind will be on the side of goodness. Hence when a man is desirable, and commands universal liking, he must be a good man.
[Par. 8. ] Compare with this what is said in the Doctrine of the Mean, ch. xxiv., that “the individual possessed of complete sincerity is like a Spirit.” It is said that the expression in the text is stronger than that there, but the two are substantially to the same effect. Ch‘ing-tsze says here, “Sage and beyond our knowledge denotes the utmost profundity of sage-hood, what is unfathomable by men. We are not to suppose that above the sage there is another style of man,—the spirit-man.” Some would indeed say here—“the divine man,” but that is a rendering of the Chinese term which it never admits of; and yet in applying to man the term appropriate to Him whose way is in the sea and His judgments a great deep, Chinese writers are guilty of blasphemy in the sense of derogating from the prerogatives of God.
[Ch. XXVI. ]Recovered heretics should be received without casting their old errors in their teeth.
[Par. 1. ] Many of the commentators protest against its being supposed from the words of Mencius that he thought worse of the errors of Mih than he did of those of Yang. It is certainly not easy to understand the process of conversion as indicated by our philosopher. We must rank Yang as far more astray than Mih. “Turn to orthodoxy” is, literally, “turn to the learned.” “The learned” in Chinese phrase is equivalent to our “the orthodox.” The name is still claimed by the followers of Confucius in opposition to the Taouists and Buddhists.
[Par. 2. ] Not the orthodox of China only have dealt with recovered heretics in the way that Mencius condemns.
[Ch. XXVII. ]The just exactions of the government should be made discriminatingly and considerately.
The tax of cloth and silk was due in summer, that of grain after harvest, and personal service,—in war, building, road-making, &c., in winter, when it would not interfere with the labours of husbandry. The government ought to require them at their proper seasons, and only one at a time.
[Ch. XXVIII. ]The precious things of the prince of a State, and the danger of his overlooking them for other things.
[Ch. XXIX. ]A little ability, without a knowledge of great principles, may be a perilous thing:—illustrated by the case of P‘wan-shing Kwoh.
Compare Confucius’ prediction of the death of Tsze-loo;—Ana. XI. xii. Nothing is known of the P‘wan-shing Kwoh here, though Chaou K‘e says that he had wished to be a disciple of Mencius, but had soon gone away, not understanding what he heard.
[Ch. XXX. ]An awkward disappearance of a sandal from Mencius’ lodging. His readiness to receive learners without inquiring into their past history.
T‘ăng,—see on I. Pt II. xiii. “The upper palace” was the name, probably, of a palace in the capital of T‘ăng, appropriated to the lodging of honourable visitors.
[Ch. XXXI. ]A man has only to give development to the principles of good which are natural to him and show themselves in some things, to be entirely good and correct.
[Par. 1. ] Compare II. Pt I. vi.; et al. The sentiment of this chapter is continually insisted on by Mencius; but it supposes that man has much more power over himself than he really has.
[Par. 3. ] “Thou,” “Thou,” is a style of address greatly at variance with Chinese notions of propriety. It can only be used with the very young and the very mean. However it may be submitted to occasionally, there is a real feeling of dislike to it; and if a man be as careful to avoid all other things which would make him be looked down upon, or liberties be taken with him, he will everywhere quit himself as a righteous man.
[Ch. XXXII. ]The way to arrive at what is remote is to attend to what is near. What are good words and good principles. Wherein men err in dealing with themselves and others.
[Par. 1. ] “Do not go below the girdle,”—see the Book of Rites, I. Pt II. ch. iii. 14, where we have the rule for looking at the sovereign, the eyes not going above his collar nor below his girdle. Generally, the ancient rule was—not to look at a person below the girdle, so that all above might be considered as plain and near, beneath the eyes. Chaou K‘e says merely that “words not below the girdle are from near the heart.”
[Par. 2. ] This is the explanation of good principles,—compendious, but of extensive application. It is a good summary of the teaching of “The Great Learning.”
[Ch. XXXIII. ]The virtue of the highest sages, and how other men may try to follow it.
[Par. 1. ] Compare Pt I. xxx.
[Par. 2. ] Here is the highest virtue, where everything is done right, with no motive beyond the doing so. If the dead be mourned for as the tribute due to them from the living, a depraving element has been admitted into the grief.
[Par. 3. ] Here is a virtue equally correct as the above, but from an intellectual constraint.
[Ch. XXXIV. ]He who undertakes to counsel the great should in his tastes and principles be far above them.
[Par. 1. ] The “great men” here are merely the socially great. Mencius had special reference to the princes and nobles of his time, dignified by their position, but with no corresponding moral qualities.
[Par. 2. ] This is a good description of Mencius’ own tastes and principles, but it is somewhat magniloquent.
[Ch. XXXV. ]The Regulation of the desires is essential to the healthy moral nourishment of the mind.
A truly valuable utterance.
[Ch. XXXVI. ]The filial feeling of Tsăng-tsze seen in his not eating sheep’s dates.
[Par. 1. ] Tsăng Seih and Tsăng-tsze,—see IV. Pt I. xix. The “sheep’s date” was, probably, the fruit of the zizyphus jujuba.
[Par. 2. ] Seih’s liking for the sheep’s dates was peculiar, so that the sight of them brought him vividly back to his son, who therefore could not bear to eat such dates. There are many rules for avoiding the names of parents, ancestors, rulers, &c.;—see the Book of Rites, I. Pt I. Ch. v. 15—20; et al. This is peculiar, probably, to the Chinese, to avoid calling a son by the name of the father.
[Ch. XXXVII. ]The character of many of Confucius’ disciples. The sage has one object,—to get men to pursue the perfect path. He hates all mere semblances, and especially those who are considered by the multitude good, careful men, who yet have no high aim or ambition.
[Par. 1. ] See Ana. V. xxi.; though the text there is considerably different from what we find here. Perhaps Kung-sun Ch‘ow quoted loosely from memory.
[Par. 2. ] Most of Mencius’ reply here is taken from the words of Confucius in Ana. XIII. xxi.
[Par. 4. ] K‘in Chang was the Laou mentioned in Ana. IX. vi. 4. Tsăng Seih is the same who appears in the preceding chapter. Of Muh P‘ei nothing is known.
[Par. 8. ] The first part of the saying here attributed to Confucius is not found in the Analects. For the second see XVII. xiii.
[Parr. 9 to 12 ] contain a good description of the parties in hand.
[Par. 12. ] These sayings of Confucius are only found here. Such a string of them is not in the sage’s style. The notes of Ch‘ing,—see Ana. XV. x. 6.
[Ch. XXXVIII. ]On the transmission of the line of doctrine from Yaou to Confucius. Sages may be expected to arise at intervals of about five hundred years. Mencius might himself claim to be a transmitter of Confucius’ doctrines.
[Par. 1. ] According to the received chronology, from the commencement of Yaou’s reign to T‘ang were more than 550 years. Mencius uses a round number.
[Par. 2. ] From T‘ang to king Wăn were more than 600 years. Lae Choo was, perhaps, Chung-hwuy, T‘ang’s minister;—see the Book of History, IV. ii.
[Par. 3. ] San E-săng or San-e Săng was an able minister of king Wăn; but little more is known of him.
[Par. 4. ] The concluding two sentences wonderfully vex commentators; but all agree that Mencius somehow takes on himself the duty and responsibility of handing down the doctrines of Confucius.—Compare what he says in II. Pt II. xiii.; III. Pt II. x.; et al.