Front Page Titles (by Subject) BOOK XIV. * - The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean)
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BOOK XIV. * - Confucius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius (Analects, Great Learning, Doctrine of the Mean) 
The Chinese Classics: Translated into English with Preliminary Essays and Explanatory Notes by James Legge. Vol. 1. The Life and Teachings of Confucius. Second Edition (London: N. Trübner, 1869).
Part of: The Chinese Classics
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ChapterI. Hëen asked what might be considered shameful. The Master said, “When good government prevails in a State, to be thinking only of his salary; and, when bad government prevails, to be thinking in the same way, only of his salary;—this is shameful.”
II.1. “When the love of superiority, boasting, resentments, and covetousness are repressed, may this be deemed perfect virtue?”
2. The Master said, “This may be regarded as the achievement of what is difficult. But I do not know that it is to be deemed perfect virtue.”
III. The Master said, “The scholar who cherishes the love of comfort, is not fit to be deemed a scholar.”
IV. The Master said, “When good government prevails in a State, language may be lofty and bold, and actions the same. When bad government prevails, the actions may be lofty and bold, but the language may be with some reserve.”
V. The Master said, “The virtuous will be sure to speak correctly, but those whose speech is good may not always be virtuous. Men of principle are sure to be bold, but those who are bold may not always be men of principle.”
VI. Nan-kung Kwŏh, submitting an inquiry to Confucius, said, “E was skilful at archery, and Ngaou could move a boat along upon the land, but neither of them died a natural death. Yu and Tseih personally wrought at the toils of husbandry, and they became possessors of the empire.” The Master made no reply, but when Nan-kung Kwŏh went out, he said, “A superior man indeed is this! An esteemer of virtue indeed is this!”
VII. The Master said, “Superior men, and yet not always virtuous, there have been, alas! But there never has been a mean man, and, at the same time, virtuous.”
VIII. The Master said, “Can there be love which does not lead to strictness with its object? Can there be loyalty which does not lead to the instruction of its object?”
IX. The Master said, “In preparing the governmental notifications, P‘e Shin first made the rough draught; She-shuh examined and discussed its contents; Tsze-yu, the manager of Foreign intercourse, then improved and polished it; and, finally, Tsze-ch‘an of Tungle gave it the proper softness and finish.”
X.1. Some one asked about Tsze-ch‘an. The Master said, “He was a kind man.”
2. He asked about Tsze-se. The Master said, “That man! That man!”
3. He asked about Kwan Chung. “For him,” said the Master, “the city of Peen, with three hundred families, was taken from the chief of the Pih family, who did not utter a murmuring word, though, till he was toothless, he had only coarse rice to eat.”
XI. The Master said, “To be poor without murmuring is difficult. To be rich without being proud is easy.”
XII. The Master said, “Măng Kung-ch‘ŏ is more than fit to be chief officer in the Families of Chaou and Wei, but he is not fit to be minister to either of the States T‘ăng or Sëĕ.”
XIII.1. Tsze-loo asked what constituted a complete man. The Master said, “Suppose a man with the knowledge of Tsang Woo-chung, the freedom from covetousness of Kung-ch‘ŏ, the bravery of Chwang of Peen, and the varied talents of Yen K‘ew; add to these the accomplishments of the rules of propriety and music:—such an one might be reckoned a complete man.”
2.He then added, “But what is the necessity for a complete man of the present day to have all these things? The man, who in the view of gain thinks of righteousness; who in the view of danger is prepared to give up his life; and who does not forget an old agreement, however far back it extends:—such a man may be reckoned a complete man.”
XIV.1. The Master asked Kung-ming Kea about Kung-shuh Wăn, saying, “Is it true that your master speaks not, laughs not, and takes not?”
2. Kung-ming Kea replied, “This has arisen from the reporters going beyond the truth.—My master speaks when it is the time to speak, and so men do not get tired of his speaking. He laughs when there is occasion to be joyful, and so men do not get tired of his laughing. He takes when it is consistent with righteousness to do so, and so men do not get tired of his taking.” The Master said, “So! But is it so with him?”
XV. The Master said, “Tsang Woo-chung, keeping possession of Fang, asked of the duke of Loo to appoint a successor to him in his Family. Although it may be said that he was not using force with his sovereign, I believe he was.”
XVI. The Master said, “The Duke Wăn of Tsin was crafty and not upright. The Duke Hwan of Ts‘e was upright and not crafty.”
XVII.1. Tsze-loo said, “The Duke Hwan caused his brother Kew to be killed, when Shaou Hwŭh died with his master, but Kwan Chung did not do so. May not I say that he was wanting in virtue?”
2. The Master said, “The Duke Hwan assembled all the princes together, and that not with weapons of war and chariots:—it was all through the influence of Kwan Chung. Whose beneficence was like his? Whose beneficence was like his?”
XVIII.1. Tsze-kung said, “Kwan Chung, I apprehend, was wanting in virtue. When the Duke Hwan caused his brother Kew to be killed, Kwan Chung was not able to die with him. Moreover, he became prime minister to Hwan.”
2. The Master said, “Kwan Chung acted as prime minister to the Duke Hwan, made him leader of all the princes, and united and rectified the whole empire. Down to the present day, the people enjoy the gifts which he conferred. But for Kwan Chung, we should now be wearing our hair dishevelled, and the lappets of our coats buttoning on the left side.
3. “Will you require from him the small fidelity of common men and common women, who would commit suicide in a stream or ditch, no one knowing anything about them?”
XIX.1. The officer, Sëen, who had been family-minister to Kung-shuh Wăn, ascended to the prince’s court in company with Wăn.
2. The Master having heard of it, said, “He deserves to be considered wĂn.”
XX.1. The Master was speaking about the unprincipled course of the Duke Ling of Wei, when Ke K‘ang said, “Since he is of such a character, how is it he does not lose his throne?”
2. Confucius said, “The Chung-shuh, Yu, has the superintendence of his guests and of strangers; the litanist, T‘o, has the management of his ancestral temple; and Wang-sun Kea has the direction of the army and forces:—with such officers as these, how should he lose his throne?”
XXI. The Master said, “He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good.”
XXII.1. Ch‘in Ch‘ing murdered the Duke Keen of Ts‘e.
2. Confucius bathed, went to court, and informed the Duke Gae, saying, “Ch‘in Hăng has slain his sovereign. I beg that you will undertake to punish him.”
3. The duke said, “Inform the chiefs of the three families of it.”
4. Confucius retired, and said, “Following, as I do, in the rear of the great officers, I did not dare not to represent such a matter, and my prince says, ‘Inform the chiefs of the three families of it.’ ”
5. He went to the chiefs, and informed them, but they would not act. Confucius then said, “Following in the rear of the great officers, I did not dare not to represent such a matter.”
XXIII. Tsze-loo asked how a sovereign should be served. The Master said, “Do not impose on him, and, moreover, withstand him to his face.”
XXIV. The Master said, “The progress of the superior man is upwards; the progress of the mean man is downwards.”
XXV. The Master said, “In ancient times, men learned with a view to their own improvement. Now-a-days, men learn with a view to the approbation of others.”
XXVI.1. Keu Pih-yuh sent a messenger with friendly inquiries to Confucius.
2. Confucius sat with him, and questioned him. “What,” said he, “is your master engaged in?” The messenger replied, “My master is anxious to make his faults few, but he has not yet succeeded.” He then went out, and the Master said, “A messenger indeed! A messenger indeed!”
XXVII. The Master said, “He who is not in any particular office has nothing to do with plans for the administration of its duties.”
XXVIII.1. The philosopher Tsăng said, “The superior man, in his thoughts, does not go out of his place.”
XXIX. The Master said, “The superior man is modest in his speech, but exceeds in his actions.”
XXX.1. The Master said, “The way of the superior man is threefold, but I am not equal to it. Virtuous, he is free from anxieties; wise, he is free from perplexities; bold, he is free from fear.”
2. Tsze-kung said, “Master, that is what you yourself say.”
XXXI. Tsze-kung was in the habit of comparing men together. The Master said, “Ts‘ze must have reached a high pitch of excellence! Now, I have not leisure for this.”
XXXII. The Master said, “I will not be concerned at men’s not knowing me; I will be concerned at my own want of ability.”
XXXIII. The Master said, “He who does not anticipate attempts to deceive him, nor think beforehand of his not being believed, and yet apprehends these things readily when they occur;—is he not a man of superior worth?”
XXXIV.1. Wei-shang Mow said to Confucius, “K‘ew, how is it that you keep roosting about? Is it not that you are an insinuating talker?”
2. Confucius said, “I do not dare to play the part of such a talker, but I hate obstinacy.”
XXXV. The Master said, “A horse is called a k‘e, not because of its strength, but because of its other good qualities.”
XXXVI.1. Some one said, “What do you say concerning the principle that injury should be recompensed with kindness?”
2. The Master said, “With what then will you recompense kindness?
3. “Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness.”
XXXVII.1. The Master said, “Alas! there is no one that knows me.”
2. Tsze-kung said, “What do you mean by thus saying—that no one knows you?” The Master replied, “I do not murmur against Heaven. I do not grumble against men. My studies lie low, and my penetration rises high. But there is Heaven;—that knows me!”
XXXVIII.1. The Kung-pih, Leaou, having slandered Tsze-loo to Ke-sun, Tsze-fuh King-pih informed Confucius of it, saying, “Our Master is certainly being led astray by the Kung-pih, Leaou, but I have still power enough left to cut Leaou off, and expose his corpse in the market and in the court.”
2. The Master said, “If my principles are to advance, it is so ordered. If they are to fall to the ground, it is so ordered. What can the Kung-pih, Leaou, do, where such ordering is concerned?”
XXXIX.1. The Master said, “Some men of worth retire from the world.
2. “Some retire from particular countries.
3. “Some retire because of disrespectful looks.
4. “Some retire because of contradictory language.”
XL. The Master said, “Those who have done this are seven men.”
XLI. Tsze-loo happening to pass the night in Shih-mun, the gate-keeper said to him, “Whom do you come from?” Tsze-loo said, “From Mr K‘ung.” “It is he,—is it not?”—said the other, “who knows the impracticable nature of the times, and yet will be doing in them.”
XLII.1. The Master was playing, one day, on a musical stone in Wei, when a man, carrying a straw basket, passed the door of the house where Confucius was, and said, “His heart is full who so beats the musical stone.”
2. A little while after he added, “How contemptible is the one-idea obstinacy those sounds display! When one is taken no notice of, he has simply at once to give over his wish for public employment. ‘Deep water must be crossed with the clothes on; shallow water may be waded through with the clothes rolled up.’ ”
3. The Master said, “How determined is he in his purpose! But this is not difficult.”
XLIII.1. Tsze-chang said, “What is meant when the shoo says that Kaou-tsung, while observing the usual imperial mourning, was for three years without speaking?”
2. The Master said, “Why must Kaou-tsung be referred to as an example of this? The ancients all did so. When the sovereign died, the officers all attended to their several duties, taking instructions from the prime minister for three years.”
XLIV. The Master said, “When rulers love to observe the rules of propriety, the people respond readily to the calls on them for service.”
XLV. Tsze-loo asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, “The cultivation of himself in reverential carefulness.” “And is this all?” said Tsze-loo. “He cultivates himself so as to give rest to others,” was the reply. “And is this all?” again asked Tsze-loo. The Master said, “He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the people. He cultivates himself so as to give rest to all the people:—even Yaou and Shun were still solicitous about this.”
XLVI. Yuen Jang was squatting on his heels, and so waited the approach of the Master, who said to him: “In youth, not humble as befits a junior; in manhood, doing nothing worthy of being handed down; and living on to old age:—this is to be a pest.” With this he hit him on the shank with his staff.
XLVII.1. A lad of the village of K‘euĕh was employed by Confucius to carry the messages between him and his visitors. Some one asked about him, saying, “I suppose he has made great progress.”
2. The Master said, “I observe that he is fond of occupying the seat of a full-grown man; I observe that he walks shoulder to shoulder with his elders. He is not one who is seeking to make progress in learning. He wishes quickly to become a man.”
[* ]Heading and subjects of this book.—The glossarist Hing Ping says, “In this Book we have the characters of the Three Kings, and Two Chiefs, the courses proper for princes and great officers, the practice of virtue, the knowledge of what is shameful, personal cultivation, and the tranquillizing of the people;—all subjects of great importance in government. They are therefore collected together, and arranged after the last chapter which commences with an inquiry about government.” Some writers are of opinion that the whole book was compiled by Heen or Yuen Sze, who appears in the first chapter.
[1. ]It is shameful in an officer to be caring only about his emolument. Heen is the Yuen Sze of VI. iii.; and if we suppose Confucius’ answer designed to have a practical application to Hëen himself, it is not easily reconcileable with what appears of his character in that other place.
[2. ]The praise of perfect virtue is not to be allowed for the repression of bad feelings. In Ho An, this chapter is joined to the preceding, and Choo He also takes the first paragraph to be a question of Yuen Heen.
[3. ]A scholar must be aiming at what is higher than comfort or pleasure. Compare IV. xi.
[4. ]What one does must always be right; what one feels need not always be spoken:—a lesson of prudence.
[5. ]We may predicate the external from the internal, but not vice versâ.
[6. ]Eminent prowess conducting to ruin, eminent virtue leading to empire. The modesty of Confucius. Nan-kung Kwŏh is said by Choo He to have been the same as Nan Yung in V. i.; but this is doubtful. See on Nan Yung there. Kwŏh, it is said, insinuated in his remark an inquiry, whether Confucius was not like Yu or Tseih, and the great men of the time so many Es and Ngaous, and the sage was modestly silent upon the subject. E and Ngaou carry us back to the twenty-second century before Christ. The first belonged to a family of princelets, famous, from the time of the Emperor Kuh (bc 2432), for their archery, and dethroned the Emperor How Seang, bc 2145. E was afterwards slain by his minister, Han Tsuh, who then married his wife, and one of their sons was the individual here named Ngaou, who was subsequently destroyed by the Emperor Shaou-k‘ang, the posthumous son of How-seang. Tseih was the son of the Emperor Kuh, of whose birth many prodigies are narrated, and appears in the Shoo-king as the minister of agriculture to Yaou and Shun, by name K‘e. The Chow family traced their descent lineally from him, so that though the empire only came to his descendants more than a thousand years after his time, Nan-kung Kwŏh speaks as if he had got it himself, as Yu did.
[7. ]The highest virtue not easily attained to, and incompatible with meanness. Compare IV. iv. We must supply the “always,” to bring out the meaning.
[8. ]A lesson for parents and ministers, that they must be strict and decided.
[9. ]The excellence of the official notifications of Ch‘ing, owing to the ability of four of its officers. The state of Ch‘ing, small and surrounded by powerful neighbours, was yet fortunate in having able ministers, through whose mode of conducting its government it enjoyed considerable prosperity. Tsze-ch‘an (see V. xv.) was the chief minister of the State, and in preparing such documents first used the services of P‘e Shin, who was noted for his wise planning of matters. “She-shuh” shows the relation of the officer indicated to the ruling family. His name was Yew-keih.
[10. ]The judgment of Confucius concerning Tsze-ch‘an, Tsze-se, and Kwan Chung. 1. See V. xv. 2. Tsze-se was the chief minister of T‘soo. He had refused to accept the nomination to the sovereignty of the State in preference to the rightful heir, but did not oppose the usurping tendencies of the rulers of T‘soo. He had moreover opposed the wish of King Ch‘aou to employ the sage. 3. Kwan Chung,—see III. xxii. To reward his merits, the Duke Hwan conferred on him the domain of the officer mentioned in the text, who had been guilty of some offence. His submitting, as he did, to his changed fortunes was the best tribute to Kwan’s excellence.
[11. ]It is harder to bear poverty aright than to carry riches. This sentiment may be controverted.
[12. ]The capacity of Mang Kung-ch‘ŏ. Kung-ch‘ŏ was the head of the Măng, or Chung-sun family, and according to the “Historical Records,” was valued by Confucius more than any other great man of the times in Loo. His estimate of him, however, as appears here, was not very high. In the sage’s time, the government of the State of Tsin was in the hands of the three Families, Chaou, Wei, and Han, which afterwards divided the territory among themselves, and became, as we shall see, in the times of Mencius, three independent principalities. T‘ang was a small state, the place of which is seen in the district of the same name in the department of Yen-chow, Shan-tung. Seĕ was another small state adjacent to it.
[13. ]Of the complete man:—a conversation with Tsze-loo. 1. Tsang Woo-chung had been an officer of Loo in the reign anterior to that in which Confucius was born. So great was his reputation for wisdom that the people gave him the title of “sage.” Woo was his honorary epithet, and Chung denotes his family place, among his brothers. Chwang, it is said, by Choo He, after Chow, one of the oldest commentators, whose surname only has come down to us, was “great officer of the city of Peen.” In the “Great Collection of Surnames.” a secondary branch of a family of the state of T‘saou having settled in Loo, and being gifted with Peen, its members took their surname thence.
[14. ]The character of Kung-shuh Wăn, who was said neither to speak, nor laugh, nor take. 1. Wăn was the honorary epithet of the individual in question, by name Che, or, as some say, Fă, an officer of the state of Wei. He was descended from the Duke Heen, and was himself the founder of the Kung-shuh family, being so designated, I suppose, because of his relation to the reigning duke. Of Kung-ming Kea nothing seems to be known.
[15. ]Condemnation of Tsang Woo-chung for forcing a favour from his prince. Woo-chung (see chapter xiii.) was obliged to fly from Loo, by the animosity of the Măng family, and took refuge in Choo. As the head of the Tsang family, it devolved on him to offer the sacrifices in the ancestral temple, and he wished one of his half-brothers to be made the head of the family, in his room, that those might not be neglected. To strengthen the application for this, which he contrived to get made, he returned himself to the city of Fang, which belonged to his family, and thence sent a message to the court, which was tantamount to a threat that if the application were not granted, he would hold possession of the place. This was what Confucius condemned,—in a matter which should have been left to the duke’s grace.
[16. ]The different characters of the dukes Wăn of Tsin and Hwan of Ts‘e. Hwan and Wăn were the two first of the five leaders of the princes of the empire, who play an important part in Chinese history, during the period of the Chow dynasty known as the Ch‘un Ts‘ew. Hwan ruled in Ts‘e, bc 683—640, and Wăn in Tsin bc 635—627. Of Duke Hwan, see the next chapter. The attributes mentioned by Confucius are not to be taken absolutely, but as respectively predominating in the two chiefs.
[17. ]The merit of Kwan Chung:—a conversation with Tsze-loo. 1. “The duke’s son Kew,” but, to avoid the awkwardness of that rendering, I say—“his brother.” Hwan and Kew had both been refugees in different States, the latter having been carried into Loo, away from the troubles and dangers of Ts‘e, by the ministers Kwan Chung and Shaou Hwuh. On the death of the prince of Ts‘e, Hwan anticipated Kew, got to Ts‘e, and took possession of the State. Soon after, he required the duke of Loo to put his brother to death, and to deliver up the two ministers, when Shaou Hwuh chose to dash his brains out, and die with his master, while Kwan Chung returned gladly to Ts‘e, took service with Hwan, became his prime minister, and made him supreme arbiter among the various chiefs of the empire. Such conduct was condemned by Tsze-loo. 2. Confucius detends Kwan Chung, on the ground of the services which he rendered.
[18. ]The merit of Kwan Chung:—a conversation with Tsze-kung. 1. Tsze-loo’s doubts about Kwan Chung arose from his not dying with the Prince Kew. Tsze-kung’s turned principally on his subsequently becoming premier to Hwan. 2. Anciently the right was the position of honour, and the right hand, moreover, is the more convenient for use, but the practice of the barbarians was contrary to that of China in both points. The sentence of Confucius is, that but for Kwan Chung, his countrymen would have sunk to the state of the rude tribes about them. 3. By “small fidelity” is intended the faithfulness of a married couple of the common people, where the husband takes no concubine in addition to his wife. The argument is this:—“Do you think Kwan Chung should have considered himself bound to Kew, as a common man considers himself bound to his wife? And would you have had him commit suicide, as common people will do on any slight occasion?” Commentators say that there is underlying the vindication this fact:—that Kwang Chung’s and Shaou Hwuh’s adherence to Kew was wrong in the first place. Kew being the younger brother. Chung’s conduct therefore was not to be judged as if Kew had been the senior. There is nothing of this, however, in Confucius’ words. He vindicates Chung simply on the ground of his subsequent services, and his reference to “the small fidelity” of husband and wife among the common people is very unhappy.
[19. ]The merit of Kung-shuh Wăn in recommending to office a man of worth. Kung-shuh WĂn, see chapter xiv. The paragraph is to be understood as intimating that Kung-shuh, seeing the worth and capacity of his minister, had recommended him to his sovereign, and afterwards was not ashamed to appear in the same rank with him at court.
[20. ]The importance of good and able ministers:—seen in the state of Wei. 1. Ling was the honorary epithet of Yuen, duke of Wei. bc 533—492. He was the husband of Nan-tsze, VI. xxvi. 2. The Chung-shuh, Yu, is the K‘ung Wăn of V. xiv. Chung-shuh expresses his family position, according to the degrees of kindred. “The litanist, T‘o,”—see VI. xiv. Wang-sun Kea,—see III. xiii.
[21. ]Extravagant speech hard to be made good. Compare IV. xxii.
[22. ]How Confucius wished to avenge the murder of the duke of Ts‘e:—his righteous and public spirit. 1. Keen,—“indolent in not a single virtue,” and “tranquil, not speaking unadvisedly,” are the meanings attached to this as an honorary epithet; while Ch‘ing indicates “tranquillizer of the people, and establisher of government.” The murder of the Duke Keen by his officer, Ch‘in Hăng, took place bc 480, barely two years before Confucius’ death. 2. “Bathing” implies all the fasting and other solemn preparation, as for a sacrifice or other great occasion. According to the account of this matter in the Tso Ch‘uen, Confucius meant that the Duke Gae should himself, with the forces of Loo, undertake the punishment of the regicide. Some modern commentators cry out against this. The sage’s advice, they say, would have been that the duke should report the thing to the emperor, and with his authority associate other princes with himself to do justice on the offender. 3. This is taken as the remark of Confucius, or his colloquy with himself, when he had gone out from the duke. The last observation was spoken to the chiefs, to reprove them for their disregard of a crime, which concerned every public man.
[23. ]How the minister of a prince must be sincere and boldly upright.
[24. ]The different progressive tendencies of the superior man and the mean man.
[25. ]The different motives of learners in old times, and in the times of Confucius.
[26. ]An admirable messenger. Pih-vuh was the designation of Keu Yuen, an officer of the state of Wei, and a disciple of the sage. His place is now first, east, in the outer court of the temples. Confucius had lodged with him when in Wei, and it was after his return to Loo that Pih-yuh sent to inquire for him.
[27. ] A repetition of VIII. xiv.
[28. ]The thoughts of a superior man in harmony with his position. Tsăng here quotes from the illustration of the fifty-second diagram of the Yih-king, but he leaves out a character, and thereby alters the meaning somewhat. What is said in the Yih, is—“The superior man is thoughtful, and so does not go out of his place.”—The chapter, it is said, is inserted here, from its analogy with the preceding.
[29. ]The superior man more in deeds than in words.
[30. ]Confucius’ humble estimate of himself, which Tsze-kung denies.
[31. ]One’s work is with one’s self:—against making comparisons.
[32. ]Concern should be about our personal attainment, and not about the estimation of others. See I. xvi., et al. A critical canon is laid down here by Choo He:—“All passages, the same in meaning and in words, are to be understood as having been spoken only once, and their recurrence is the work of the compilers. Where the meaning is the same and the language a little different, they are to be taken as having been repeated by Confucius himself, with the variations.” According to this rule, the sentiment in this chapter was repeated by the master in four different utterances.
[33. ]Quick discrimination without suspiciousness is highly meritorious.
[34. ]Confucius not self-willed and yet no glib-tongued talker:—defence of himself from the charge of an aged reprover. From Wei-shang’s addressing Confucius by his name, it is presumed that he was an old man. Such a liberty in a young man would have been impudence. It is presumed, also, that he was one of those men who kept themselves retired from the world in disgust. “Rooster-er,” as a bird, is used contemptuously with reference to Confucius going about among the princes, and wishing to be called to office.
[35. ]Virtue, and not strength, the fit subject of praise.K‘i was the name of a famous horse of antiquity who could run 1000 le in one day. See the dictionary in voc. It is here used generally for “a good horse.”
[36. ]Good is not to be returned for evil, evil is to be met simply with justice. 1 The phrase “Recompense injury with kindness” is found in Laou-tsze, but it is likely that Confucius’ questioner simply consulted him about it as a saying which he had heard and was inclined to approve himself. 2. How far the ethics of Confucius fall below the Christian standard is evident from this chapter. The same expressions are attributed to Confucius in the Le-ke, XXXII. 11, and it is there added,—“He who returns good for evil is a man who is careful of his person,” i. e., will try to avert danger from himself by such a course. One author says, that the injuries intended by the questioner were only trivial matters, which perhaps might be dealt with in the way he mentioned, but great offences, as those against a sovereign, a father, may not be dealt with by such an inversion of the principles of justice. The Master himself, however, does not fence his deliverance in any way.
[37. ]Confucius, lamenting that men did not know him, rests in the thought that Heaven knew him. Confucius referred in his complaint, commentators say, to the way in which he pursued his course, simply, out of his own conviction of duty, and for his own improvement, without regard to success, or the opinions of others. 2. “My studies he low, and my penetration rises high” is literally—“beneath I learn, above I penetrate,”—the meaning appears to be that he contented himself with the study of men and things, common matters as more ambitious spirits would deem them, but from those he rose to understand the high principles involved in them,—“the appointments of Heaven,” according to one commentator.
[38. ]How Confucius rested, as to the progress of his doctrines on the ordering of Heaven:—on occasion of Tsze-loo’s being slandered. Leaou, called Kung-pih (literally, duke’s uncle) probably from an affinity with the ducal house, is said by some to have been a disciple of the sage, but that is not likely, as we find him here slandering Tsze-loo, that he might not be able, in his official connection with the Ke family, to carry the Master’s lessons into practice. Tsze-fuh King-pih was an officer of Loo. Exposing the bodies of criminals was a sequel of their execution. The bodies of “great officers” were so exposed in the court, and those of meaner criminals in the market-place. “The market-place and the court” came to be employed together, though the exposure could take place only in one place.
[39. ]Different causes why men of worth withdraw from public life, and different extents to which they so withdraw themselves.
[40. ]The number of men of worth who had withdrawn from public life in Confucius’ time. This chapter is understood, both by Choo. He and the old commentators, in connection with the preceding, as appears in the translation. Some also give the names of the seven men, which, according to Choo, is “chiselling,” i. e., forcing out an illustration of the text.
[41. ]Condemnation of Confucius’ course in seeking to be employed, by one who had withdrawn from public life. The site of Shih-mun is referred to the district of Ch‘ang-tsung, department of Ts‘e-nan, in Shan-tung. The keeper was probably one of the seven worthies, spoken of in the preceding chapter. We might translate Shih-mun by “Stony-gate.” It seems to have been one of the frontier passes between Ts‘e and Loo.
[42. ]The judgment of a retired worthy on Confucius’ course, and remark of Confucius thereon.
[43. ]How government was carried on during the three years of silent mourning by the emperor. See the Shoo-king. IV. viii. 1, but the passage there is not exactly as in the text. It is there said that Kaou-tsung, after the three years’ mourning, still did not speak. Kaou-tsung was the honorary epithet of the Emperor Woo-ting, bc 1323—1263—Tsze-chang was perplexed to know how government could be carried on during so long a period of silence.
[44. ]How a love of the rules of propriety in rulers facilitates government.
[45. ]Reverent self-cultivation the distinguishing characteristic of the Keun-tsze. “All the people” is literally, “the hundred surnames,” which, as a designation for the mass of the people, occurs as early as in the first Book of the Shoo. It is = “the surnames of the hundred families,” into which number the families of the people were perhaps divided at a very early time. The surnames of the Chinese now amount to several hundreds. A small work, made in the Sung dynasty, contains nearly 450. We find a ridiculous reason given for the surnames being a hundred, to the effect that the ancient sages gave a surname for each of the five notes of the scale in music, and of the five great relations of life and of the four seas; consequently, 5 × 5 × 4=100.” It is to be observed, that in the Shoo-king, we find “a hundred surnames,” interchanged with “ten thousand surnames,” and it would seem needless, therefore, to seek to attach a definite explanation to the number. On the concluding remark,—see VI. xxviii.
[46. ]Confucius’ conduct to an unmannerly old man of his acquaintance. Yuen Jang was an old acquaintance of Confucius, but had adopted the principles of Laou-tsze, and gave himself extraordinary license in his behaviour.—See an instance in the Le-ke, II. Pt II. iii. 24. The address of Confucius might be translated in the second person, but it is perhaps better to keep to the third, leaving the application to be understood.
[47. ]Confucius’ employment of a forward youth. 1. There is a tradition that Confucius lived and taught in the village of K‘eueh., but it is much disputed. The inquirer supposed that Confucius’ employment of the lad was to distinguish him for the progress which he had made. 2. According to the rules of ceremony a youth must sit in the corner, the body of the room being reserved for full-grown men. See the Le-ke, II. Pt I. i. 17. In walking with an elder, a youth was required to keep a little behind him. See the Le-ke. III. v. 15. Confucius’ employment of the lad, therefore, was to teach him the courtesies required by his years, as he would not dare to give himself his usual airs with the sage’s visitors.