Online Library of Liberty

A collection of scholarly works about individual liberty and free markets. A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.

Advanced Search

Mencius, The Chinese Classics: Vol. 2 The Life and Teachings of Mencius [1875]

1430,02_tp
Title Page
1430,02_toc
Original Table of Contents or First Page

Edition used:

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). http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/2269

Available in the following formats:
Facsimile PDF 20.6 MB This is a facsimile or image-based PDF made from scans of the original book.
Kindle 710 KB This is an E-book formatted for Amazon Kindle devices.
EBook PDF 1.46 MB This text-based PDF or EBook was created from the HTML version of this book and is part of the Portable Library of Liberty.
HTML 2.02 MB This version has been converted from the original text. Every effort has been taken to translate the unique features of the printed book into the HTML medium.
Simplified HTML 2.02 MB This is a simplifed HTML format, intended for screen readers and other limited-function browsers.

About this Title:

This volume contains a long introduction on the life and works of Mencius, following by 7 books from his writings. The 2 indexes have not been reproduced in the HTML version of the file but can be viewed in the facsimile PDF version.

Copyright information:

The text is in the public domain.

Fair use statement:

This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.

Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [a]
THE CHINESE CLASSICS: TRANSLATED INTO ENGLISH, with PRELIMINARY ESSAYS AND EXPLANATORY NOTES. (revised and reproduced from the author’s work containing the original text, &c.)
BY JAMES LEGGE, D.D., LL.D.
VOL. II. THE LIFE AND WORKS OF MENCIUS
LONDON:
TRÜBNER & CO., 57 & 59, LUDGATE HILL.
1875.
[All Rights reserved.]
Edition: current; Page: [b] Edition: current; Page: [i]

THE

LIFE AND WORKS

of

MENCIUS.

with essays and notes.

by

JAMES LEGGE, D.D., LL.D.

LONDON:

TRÜBNER & CO., 57 & 59, LUDGATE HILL

1875

[All Rights reserved.]

Edition: current; Page: [ii]

JOHN CHILDS AND SON, PRINTERS

Edition: current; Page: [iii]

PREFACE.

When the author, in 1867, published “The Life and Teachings of Confucius,” he intimated that it would be followed by the present volume, “as soon as the publisher should feel authorized by public encouragement to go forward with the undertaking.” It was not long till the publisher gave him notice that he was ready to go to press with an edition of Mencius, which might therefore have appeared in 1868. By that time, however, the author was occupied with the fourth and fifth volumes of his larger Work, containing the ancient poetry of China, and the history of the feudal kingdom of Chow from bc 721 to 480; and it was not till towards the end of 1872 that the publication of the fifth volume was completed.

The author then began to take Mencius in hand, and to give the translation and notes in the second volume of his larger Work a careful revision. That was published in 1861, and, as a result of his studies during the intervening years, he saw that some improvement might be effected in his earlier labours. He therefore wrote out afresh the translation of the seven Books of Mencius, and the notes also with a special view to their suitability to an edition of the Chinese philosopher for general readers. The volume thus prepared is now submitted to the Public.

In the preface to the former volume the author referred to a re-publication of his translation of the Chinese Works contained in it in the United States, and mentioned that the appearance of that re-publication was a principal reason why his publisher had asked him to issue a popular edition of the Chinese Classics in his own name. The title-page of the volume, moreover, says expressly Edition: current; Page: [iv] that it was “reproduced for general readers from the author’s Work, containing the original Text, &c.” If Dr John Heinrich Plath of Münich had taken the trouble to read the preface or even the title-page, he would hardly have done the injustice to the author which appears in his “Confucius und Seiner Schüler Leben und Lehren.” There, in his “Leben des Confucius, 1,” on p. 15, he has said that “The Life and Teachings of Confucius is a delusion practised on the Public, being a mere reprint of the author’s Translations in his Chinese Classics, without the Chinese Text, and with his short Life of Confucius.” The author cannot suppose that Dr Plath does not understand plain English sufficiently well to have saved him from such a misrepresentation. He did not practise any delusion on the Public, and it ought not to have been even insinuated that he had been guilty of such a thing.

Edition: current; Page: [v]

CONTENTS.

  • PROLEGOMENA.
    • CHAPTER I. OF THE WORKS OF MENCIUS.
      • section I. THEIR RECOGNITION UNDER THE HAN DYNASTY, AND BEFORE IT ... ... ... ... ... ... page 1
      • II. CHAOU K‘E AND HIS LABOURS UPON MENCIUS ... ... 4
      • III. OTHER COMMENTATORS ... ... ... ... 7
      • IV. INTEGRITY; AUTHORSHIP: AND RECEPTION AMONG THE CLASSICAL BOOKS ... ... ... ... ... 9
    • CHAPTER II. MENCIUS AND HIS OPINIONS.
      • I. LIFE OF MENCIUS ... ... ... ... ... 14
      • II. HIS INFLUENCE AND OPINIONS ... ... ... 37
      • appendix
        • I. THAT THE NATURE IS EVIL. BY THE PHILOSOPHER SEUN ... 77
        • II. AN EXAMINATION OF THE NATURE OF MAN. BY HAN WANKUNG ... ... ... ... ... ... 88
      Edition: current; Page: [vi]
    • CHAPTER III. OF YANG CHOO AND MIH TEIH.
      • section I. THE OPINIONS OF YANG CHOO ... ... ... page 91
      • II. THE OPINIONS OF MIH TEIH ... ... ... ... 99
      • UNIVERSAL LOVE, PART I. ... ... ... ... 100
      • UNIVERSAL LOVE, PART II. ... ... ... ... 102
      • UNIVERSAL LOVE, PART III. ... ... ... ... 107
  • THE WORKS OF MENCIUS.
    • BOOK I.
      • KING HWUY OF LEANG, PART I. ... ... ... 123
      • KING HWUY OF LEANG, PART II. ... ... ... 139
    • BOOK II.
      • KUNG-SUN CH‘OW, PART I. ... ... ... ... 159
      • KUNG-SUN CH‘OW, PART II. ... ... ... ... 178
    • BOOK III.
      • T‘ĂNG WĂN KUNG, PART I. ... ... ... ... 196
      • T‘ĂNG WĂN KUNG, PART II. ... ... ... ... 215
    • BOOK IV.
      • LE LOW, PART I. ... ... ... ... ... 232
      • LE LOW, PART II. ... ... ... ... ... 253
      Edition: current; Page: [vii]
    • BOOK V.
      • WAN CHANG, PART I. ... ... ... ... 272
      • WAN CHANG, PART II. ... ... ... ... 289
    • BOOK VI.
      • KAOU-TSZE, PART I. ... ... ... ... 306
      • KAOU-TSZE, PART II. ... ... ... ... 324
    • BOOK VII.
      • TSIN SIN, PART I. ... ... ... ... ... 343
      • TSIN SIN, PART II. ... ... ... ... ... 366
  • INDEXES.
    • INDEX I. OF SUBJECTS IN THE WORKS OF MENCIUS ... ... 386
    • INDEX II. OF PROPER NAMES IN THE WORKS OF MENCIUS ... ... 396
Edition: current; Page: [1]

PROLEGOMENA.

CHAPTER I.: OF THE WORKS OF MENCIUS.

SECTION I.: THEIR RECOGNITION UNDER THE HAN DYNASTY, AND BEFORE IT.

1. In the third of the catalogues of Lew Hin,1 containing a list of the Works of Scholars which had been collected up to his time (about ad 1), and in the first subdivision, devoted to authors of the classical or orthodox School, we have the entry—“The Works of Mencius, in eleven Books.” At that date, therefore, Mencius’ writings were known and registered as a part of the literature of China.

2. A hundred years before Hin, we have the testimony of the historian Sze-ma Ts‘ẹen. In the seventy-fourth Book of his “Historical Records,” there is a brief memoir of Mencius, where he says that the philosopher, having withdrawn into private life, “with his disciples, Wan Chang and others, prefaced the She and the Shoo, unfolded the views of Confucius, and made ‘The Works of Mencius, in seven Books.’ ”

The discrepancy that appears between these testimonies, in regard to the number of the Books which went by the common name of Mencius, will be considered in the sequel. In the mean while it is shown that the writings of Mencius were recognized by scholars a hundred years before the Christian era, which takes us back to little more than a century and a half from the date assigned to his death.

Edition: current; Page: [2]

3. Among writers of the Han dynasty earlier than Sze-ma Ts‘ëen, there were Han Ying, and Tung Chung-shoo, contemporaries, in the reigns of the emperors Wăn, King, and Woo, (bc 178—86). Portions of their Works remain, and in them are found quotations from Mencius. Later than these there were Yang Heung (bc 53—ad 18), who wrote a commentary on Mencius, which was existing under the Sung dynasty, and Wang Ch‘ung (died about ad 100), who left a chapter of animadversions on our philosopher, which still exists.

4. But we find references to Mencius and his Works anterior to the dynasty of Han. Between him and the rise of the Ts‘in dynasty flourished the philosopher Seun K‘ing, of whose writings enough is still preserved to form a large volume. By many he is regarded as the ablest of all the followers of Confucius. He several times makes mention of Mencius, and one of his most important chapters,—“That Human Nature is Evil,” seems to have been written expressly against Mencius’ doctrine of its goodness. He quotes his arguments, and endeavours to set them aside.

5. I have used the term recognition in the heading of this section, because the scholars of the Han dynasty do not seem to have had any trouble in forming or settling the text of Mencius such as we have seen they had with the Confucian Analects.

And here a statement made by Chaou K‘e, whose labours upon our philosopher I shall notice in the next section, deserves to be considered. He says:—“When Ts‘in sought by its fires to destroy the classical books, and put the scholars to death in pits, there was an end of the School of Mencius. His Works, however, were included under the common name of ‘Philosophical,’ and so the tablets containing them escaped destruction.” Ma Twan-lin does not hesitate to say that the statement is incorrect;1 and it seems strange that Mencius should have been exempted from the sweep of a measure intended to extinguish the memory of the most ancient and illustrious sovereigns of China and of their principles. But the same thing is affirmed in regard to the writings of at least one other author of antiquity, the philosopher Yuh; and the frequent Edition: current; Page: [3] quotations of Mencius by Han Ying and Tung Chung-shoo, indicating that his Works were a complete collection in their times, give some confirmation to K‘e’s account.

On the whole, the evidence seems rather to preponderate in its favour. Mencius did not obtain his place as “a classic” till long after the time of the Ts‘in dynasty; and though the infuriate emperor would doubtless have given special orders to destroy his writings, if his attention had been called to them, we can easily conceive their being overlooked, and escaping with a mass of others which were not considered dangerous to the new rule.

6. Another statement of Chaou K‘e shows that the Works of Mencius, once recognized under the Han dynasty, were for a time at least kept with a watchful care. He says that, in the reign of the emperor Hëaou-wăn (bc 178—154), “the Lun-yu, the Hëaou-king, Mencius, and the Urh-ya were all put under the care of a Board of ‘Great Scholars,’ which was subsequently done away with, only ‘The Five King’ being left under such guardianship.” Choo He has observed that the Books of the Han dynasty supply no evidence of such a Board; but its existence may be inferred from a letter of Lew Hin, complaining of the supineness with which the scholars seconded his quest of the scattered monuments of literature. He says:—“Under the emperor Heaou-wăn, the Shoo-king reappeared, and the She-king began to sprout and bud afresh. Throughout the empire, a multitude of books were continually making their appearance, and among them the Records and Sayings of all the Philosophers, which likewise had their place assigned to them in the Courts of Learning, and a Board of Great Scholars appointed to their charge.”1

As the Board of Great Scholars in charge of the Five King was instituted bc 135, we may suppose that the previous arrangement hardly lasted half a century. That it did exist for a time, however, shows the value set upon the writings of Mencius, and confirms the point which I have sought to set forth in this section,—that there were Works of Mencius current in China before the Han dynasty, and which were eagerly recognized and cherished by the scholars under it, who had it in charge to collect the ancient literary productions of their country.

Edition: current; Page: [4]

SECTION II.: CHAOU K‘E AND HIS LABOURS UPON MENCIUS.

1. It has been shown that the Works of Mencius were sufficiently well known from nearly the beginning of the Han dynasty; but its more distinguished scholars do not seem to have devoted themselves to their study and elucidation. The classics proper claimed their first attention. There was much labour to be done in collecting and collating the fragments of them; and to unfold their meaning was the chief duty of every one who thought himself equal to the task. Mencius was but one of the literati, a scholar like themselves. He could wait. We must come down to the second century of the Christian era to find the first great commentary on his writings.

In the Prolegomena to the Confucian Analects, Section i. 7, I have spoken of Ch‘ing Heuen or Ch‘ing K‘ang-shing, who died at the age of 74 some time between ad 190—220, after having commented on every ancient classical book. It is said by some1 that he embraced the Works of Mencius in his labours. If he did so, which to me is very doubtful, the result has not come down to posterity. To give to our philosopher such a treatment as he deserved, and compose a commentary that should descend to the latest posterity, was the Work of Chaou K‘e.

2. K‘e was born ad 108. His father was a censor about the court of the emperor Heaou-gan, and gave him the name of Këa, which he afterwards changed into K‘e for the purpose of concealment, changing also his original designation Edition: current; Page: [5] of T‘ae-k‘ing into Pin-k‘ing. It was his boast that he could trace his descent from the emperor Chuen-hëuh, bc 2510.

In his youth K‘e was distinguished for his intelligence and diligent study of the classics. He married a niece of the celebrated scholar and statesman Ma Yung, but bore himself proudly towards him and her other relatives. A stern independence and hatred of the sycophancy of the times were from the first characteristic of him, and proved the source of many troubles.

When he was over thirty, K‘e was attacked with some severe and lingering illness, in consequence of which he lay upon his bed for seven years. At one time, thinking he was near his end, he addressed a nephew who was with him in the following terms:—“Born a man into the world, in retirement I have not displayed the principles exemplified on mount Ke,1 nor in office achieved the merit of E and Leu.2 Heaven has not granted me such distinction. What more shall I say? Set up a round stone before my grave, and engrave on it the inscription,—‘Here lies a recluse of Han, by surname Chaou, and by name Këa. He had the will, but not the opportunity. Such was his fate. Alas!’ ”

Contrary to expectation, K‘e recovered, and in ad 154 we find him again engaged in public life, but in four years he is flying into obscurity under a feigned name, to escape the resentment of T‘ang Hang, one of the principal ministers, and of his partizans. He saved his life, but his family and relatives fell victims to the vengeance of his enemies, and for some time he wandered about the country of the Këang and Hwae, or among the mountains and by the sea-coast on the north of the present Shan-tung. One day, as he was selling cakes in a market-place, his noble presence attracted the attention of Sun Ts‘ung, a young gentleman of Gan-k‘ëw, who was passing by in a carriage, and to him, on being questioned, he made known his history. This proved a fortunate rencontre for him. Sun Ts‘ung took him home, and kept him for several years concealed somewhere, “in the centre of a double wall.” And now it was that he solaced his hard lot with literary studies. He wooed Edition: current; Page: [6] the muse in twenty-three poetical compositions, which he called “Songs of Adversity,” and achieved his commentary on Mencius.

On the fall of the T‘ang faction, when a political amnesty was proclaimed, K‘e emerged from his friendly confinement, and was employed in important offices, but only to fall a victim again to the intrigues of the time. The first year of the emperor Ling, ad 168, was the commencement of an imprisonment which lasted more than ten years; but nothing could crush his elasticity, or daunt his perseverance. In 185, when he had nearly reached fourscore, he was active as ever in the field of political strife, and wrought loyally to sustain the fortunes of the falling dynasty. He died at last in ad 201, in King-chow, whither he had gone on a mission in behalf of his imperial master. Before his death, he had a tomb prepared for himself, which was long shown, or pretended to be shown, in what is now the district city of Keang-ling in the department of King-chow in Hoo-pih.

3. From the above account of Chaou K‘e it will be seen that his commentary on Mencius was prepared under great disadvantages. That he, a fugitive and in such close hiding, should have been able to produce a work such as it is shows the extent of his reading and acquirements in early days. I have said so much about him, because his name should be added to the long roll of illustrious men who have found comfort in sore adversity from the pursuits of literature and philosophy. As to his mode of dealing with his subject, it will be sufficient to give his own account:—

“I wished to set my mind on some literary work, by which I might be assisted to the government of my thoughts, and forget the approach of old age. But the six classics had all been explained and carefully elucidated by previous scholars. Of all the orthodox school there was only Mencius, wide and deep, minute and exquisite, yet obscure at times and hard to see through, who seemed to me to deserve to be properly ordered and digested. Upon this I brought forth whatever I had learned, collected testimonies from the classics and other books, and divided my author into chapters and sentences. My annotations are given along with the original text, and of every chapter I have separately indicated the scope. The Books I have divided Edition: current; Page: [7] into two Parts, the first and second, making in all fourteen sections.

“On the whole, with regard to my labour, I do not venture to think that it speaks the man of mark, but, as a gift to the learner, it may dispel some doubts and resolve perplexities. It is not for me, however, to pronounce on its excellencies or defects. Let men of discernment who come after me observe its errors and omissions and correct them;—that will be a good service.”

SECTION III.: OTHER COMMENTATORS.

1. All the commentaries on Mencius made prior to the Sung dynasty (ad 975) having perished, excepting that of Chaou K‘e, I will not therefore make an attempt to enumerate them particularly. Only three names deserve to be mentioned, as frequent reference is made to them in Critical Introductions to our philosopher. They were all of the T‘ang dynasty, extending, if we embrace in it what is called “The after T‘ang,” from ad 624 to 936. The first is that of Luh Shen-king, who declined to adopt Chaou K‘e’s division of the text into fourteen sections, and many of whose interpretations, differing from those of the older authority, have been received into the now standard commentary of Choo He. The other two names are those of Chang Yih and Ting Kung-choh, whose principal object was to determine the sounds and tones of characters about which there could be dispute. All that we know of their views is from the works of Sun Shih and Choo He, who have many references to them in their notes.

2. During the Sung dynasty, the commentators on Mencius were a multitude, but it is only necessary that I speak of two.

The most distinguished scholar of the early reigns was Sun Shih, who is now generally alluded to by his posthumous or honorary epithet of “The Illustrious Duke.” We find him high in favour and reputation in the time of T‘ae-tsung (977—997), Chin-tsung (998—1022), and Jin-tsung (1023—1063). Edition: current; Page: [8] By imperial command, in association with several other officers, he prepared a work in two parts under the title of “The Sounds and Meaning of Mencius,” and presented it to the court. Occasion was taken from this for a strange imposture. In the edition of “The Thirteen King,” Mencius always appears with “The Commentary of Chaon K‘e” and “The Correct Meaning of Sun Shih.” Under the Sung dynasty, what were called “correct meanings” were made for most of the classics. They are commentaries and annotations on the principal commentator, who is considered as the expounder of the classic, the author not hesitating, however, to indicate any peculiar views of his own. The genuineness of Shih’s “Correct Meaning of Mencius” has been questioned by few, but there seems to be no doubt of its being really a forgery, at the same time that it contains the substance of the true Work of “the Illustrious Duke,” so far as that embraced the meaning of Mencius and of Chaou K‘e. The account of it given in the preface to “An Examination of the Text in the Commentary and Annotations on Mencius,” by Yuen Yuen of the present dynasty, is—“Sun Shih himself made no ‘Correct Meaning;’ but some one—I know not who—supposing that his Work was really of that character, and that there were many things in the commentary which were not explained, and passages also of an unsatisfactory nature, he transcribed the whole of Shih’s Work on ‘The Sounds and Meaning;’ and having interpolated some words of his own, published it under the title of ‘The Annotations of Sun Shih.’ He was the same person who is styled by Choo He ‘A scholar of Shaou-woo.”’

In the 12th century Choo He appeared upon the stage, and entered into the labours of all his predecessors. He published one Work separately upon Mencius, and two upon Mencius and the Confucian Analects. The second of these,—“Collected Comments on the Analects and Mencius,” is now the standard authority on the subject, and has been the test of orthodoxy and scholarship in the literary examinations since ad 1315.

3. Under the present dynasty two important contributions have been made to the study of Mencius. They are both published in the “Explanations of the Classics under the Imperial dynasty of Ts‘ing.”1 The former, bearing the title Edition: current; Page: [9] of “An Examination of the Text in the Commentary and Annotations on Mencius,” forms the sections from 1039 to 1054. It is by Yuen Yuen, the Governor-general under whose auspices that compilation was published. Its simple aim is to establish the true reading by a collation of the oldest and best manuscripts and editions, and of the remains of a series of stone tablets containing the text of Mencius, which were prepared in the reign of Kaou-tsung (ad 1128—1162), and are now existing in the Examination Hall of Hang-chow. The second Work, which is still more important, is embraced in the sections 1117—1146. Its title is—“The Correct Meaning of Mencius, by Tsëaou Seun, a Keujin of Këang-too.” It is intended to be such a Work as Sun Shih would have produced, had he really made what has been so long current in the world under his name; and is really valuable.

SECTION IV.: INTEGRITY; AUTHORSHIP; AND RECEPTION AMONG THE CLASSICAL BOOKS.

1. We have seen how the Works of Mencius were catalogued by Lëw Hin as being in “eleven Books,” while a century earlier Sze-ma Ts‘ëen referred to them as consisting only of “seven.” The question has very much vexed Chinese scholars whether there ever really were four additional Books of Mencius which have been lost.

2. Chaou K‘e says in his preface:—“There likewise are four additional Books, entitled ‘A Discussion of the Goodness of Man’s Nature,’ ‘An Explanation of Terms,’ ‘The Classic of Filial Piety,’ and ‘The Practice of Government.’ But neither breadth nor depth marks their composition. It is not like that of the seven acknowledged Books. It may be judged they are not really the production of Mencius, but have been palmed upon the world by some subsequent imitator of him.” As the four Books in question are lost, and only a very few quotations from Mencius, that are not found in his Works which we have, can be fished up from Edition: current; Page: [10] ancient authors, our best plan is to acquiesce in the conclusion of Chaou K‘e. The specification of “Seven Books,” by Sze-ma Ts‘ëen is an important corroboration of it. In the two centuries preceding our era the four Books whose titles are given by him may have been made and published under the name of Mencius, and Hin would only do his duty in including them in his catalogue, unless their falsehood was generally acknowledged. K‘e, devoting himself to the study of our author, and satisfied from internal evidence that they were not his, only did his duty in rejecting them. There is no evidence that his decision was called in question by any scholar of the Han or the dynasties immediately following, when we may suppose that the Books were still in existence.

The author of “Supplemental Observations on the Four Books,”1 says upon this subject:—“ ‘It would be better to be without books than to give entire credit to them;’2—this is the rule for reading ancient books laid down by Mencius himself, and the rule for us after men in reading about what purport to be lost books of his. The seven Books we have ‘comprehend [the doctrine] of heaven and earth, examine and set forth ten thousand topics, discuss the subjects of benevolence and righteousness, reason and virtue, the nature [of man] and the decrees [of Heaven], misery and happiness.’3 Brilliantly are these things treated of, in a way far beyond what any disciple of Kung-sun Ch‘ow or Wan Chang could have attained to. What is the use of disputing about other matters? Ho Sheh has his ‘Expurgated Mencius,’ but Mencius cannot be expurgated. Lin Kin-sze has his ‘Continuation of Mencius,’ but Mencius needs no continuation. I venture to say—Besides the Seven Books there were no other Works of Mencius.

3. On the authorship of the Works of Mencius, Sze-ma Ts‘ëen and Chaou K‘e are agreed. They say that Mencius composed the seven Books himself, and yet that he did so along with certain of his disciples. The words of the latter are:—“He withdrew from public life, collected and digested the conversations which he had had with his distinguished disciples, Kung-sun Ch‘ow, Wan Chang, and others, on the difficulties and doubts which they had expressed, and also Edition: current; Page: [11] compiled himself his deliverances as ex cathedra;—and so published the Seven Books of his writings.”

This view of the authorship seems to have been first called in question by Han Yu, commonly referred to as “Han, the Duke of Literature,” a famous scholar of the eighth century (ad 768—824), under the T‘ang dynasty, who expressed himself in the following terms:—“The books of Mencius were not published by himself. After his death, his disciples, Wan Chang and Kung-sun Ch‘ow, in communication with each other, recorded the words of Mencius.”

4. If we wish to adjudicate in the matter, we find that we have a difficult task in hand. One thing is plain,—the book is not the work of many hands like the Confucian Analects. “If we look at the style of the composition,” says Choo He, “it is as if the whole were melted together, and not composed by joining piece to piece.” This language is too strong, but there is a degree of truth and force in it. No principle of chronology guided the arrangement of the different parts, and a foreigner may be pardoned if now and then the “pearls” seem to him “at random strung;” yet the collection is characterized by a uniformity of style, and an endeavour in the separate Books to preserve a unity of matter. This consideration, however, is not enough to decide the question. Such as the work is, we can conceive it proceeding either from Mencius himself, or from the labours of a few of his disciples engaged on it in concert.

The author of the “Topography of the Four Books”1 has this argument to show that the works of Mencius are by Mencius himself:—“The Confucian Analects,” he says, “were made by the disciples, and therefore they record minutely the appearance and manners of the sage. But the seven Books were made by Mencius himself, and therefore we have nothing in them excepting the words and public movements of the philosopher.” This peculiarity is certainly consonant with the hypothesis of Mencius’ own authorship, and so far may dispose us to adopt it.

On the other hand, as the princes of Mencius’ time to whom any reference is made are always mentioned by the honorary epithets conferred on them after their death, it is argued that those at least must have been introduced by his disciples. There are many passages, again, which savour more Edition: current; Page: [12] of a disciple or other narrator than of the philosopher himself. There is, for instance, the commencing sentences of Book III. Pt I.:—“When the Duke Wăn of T‘ăng was crown-prince, having to go to Ts‘oo, he went by way of Sung, and visited Mencius (lit., the philosopher Măng). Mencius discoursed to him how the nature of man is good, and when speaking, always made laudatory reference to Yaou and Shun. When the crown-prince was returning from Ts‘oo, he again visited Mencius. Mencius said to him, ‘Prince, do you doubt my words? The path is one, and only one.’ ”

5. Perhaps the truth after all is as the thing is stated by Sze-ma Ts‘ëen,—that Mencius, along with some of his disciples, compiled and composed the Work. It would be in their hands and under their guardianship after his death, and they may have made some slight alterations, to prepare it, as we should say, for the press. Yet allowing this, there is nothing to prevent us from accepting the sayings and doings as those of Mencius, guaranteed by himself.

6. It now only remains here that I refer to the reception of Mencius’ Works among the Classics. We have seen how they were not admitted by Lew Hin into his catalogue of classical works. Mencius was then only one of the many scholars or philosophers of the orthodox school. The same classification obtains in the books of the Suy and T‘ang dynasties; and in fact it was only under the dynasty of Sung that the works of Mencius and the Confucian Analects were authoritatively ranked together. The first explicitly to proclaim this honour as due to our philosopher was Ch‘in Chih-chae,1 whose words are—“Since the time when Han, the Duke of Literature, delivered his eulogium, ‘Confucius handed [the scheme of doctrine] to Mencius, on whose death the line of transmission was interrupted,’2 the scholars of Edition: current; Page: [13] the empire have all associated Confucius and Mencius together. The Books of Mencius are certainly superior to those of Seun and Yang, and others who have followed them. Their productions are not to be spoken of in the same day with his.” Choo He adopted the same estimate of Mencius, and by his “Collected Comments” on him and the Analects bound the two sages together in a union which the government of China, in the several dynasties which have succeeded, has with one temporary exception approved and confirmed.

Edition: current; Page: [14]

CHAPTER II.: MENCIUS AND HIS OPINIONS.

SECTION I.: LIFE OF MENCIUS.

1. The materials for a Memoir of Mencius are very scanty. The birth and principal incidents of Confucius’ life are duly chronicled in the various annotated editions of the Ch‘un Ts‘ew, and in Sze-ma Ts‘ëen.Paucity and uncertainty of materials. It is not so in the case of Mencius. Ts‘ëen’s account of him is contained in half a dozen columns which are without a single date. That in the “Cyclopædia of Surnames” only covers half a page. Chaou K‘e is more particular in regard to the early years of his subject, but he is equally indefinite. Our chief informants are K‘ung Foo, and Lëw Heang in his “Record of Note-worthy Women,” but what we find in them has more the character of legend than history.

It is not till we come to the pages of Mencius himself that we are treading on any certain ground. They give the principal incidents of his public life, extending over about twenty-four years. We learn from them that in the course of that time he was in such and such places, and gave expression to such and such opinions; but where he went first and where he went last, it is next to impossible to determine. I have carefully examined three attempts, made by competent scholars of the present dynasty, to construct a Harmony that shall reconcile the statements of the “Seven Books” with the current chronologies of the time, and do not see my way to adopt entirely the conclusions of any one of them.1 The value of the Books lies in the record Edition: current; Page: [15] which they furnish of Mencius’ sentiments, and the lessons which these supply for the regulation of individual conduct and national policy. It is of little importance that we should be able to lay them down in the strict order of time.

With Mencius’ withdrawal from public life, all traces of him disappear. All that is said of him is that he spent his latter years along with his disciples in the preparation and publication of his Works.

From this paragraph it will be seen that there is not much to be said in this section. I shall relate, first, what is reported of the early years and training of our philosopher, and then look at him as he comes before us in his own pages, in the full maturity of his character and powers.

2. Mencius is the latinized form of Măng-tsze, “The philosopher Măng.”His surname, birth-place; parents; the year of his birth, bc 371. His surname thus connects him with the Măng or Măng-sun family, one of the three great Houses of Loo, whose usurpations were such an offence to Confucius in his day. Their power was broken in the time of duke Gae (bc 493—467), and they thenceforth dwindle into comparative insignificance. Some branches remained in obscurity in Loo, and others went forth to the neighbouring States.

The branch from which Mencius sprang found a home in the small adjacent principality of Tsow, which in former times had been made known by the name of Choo. It was absorbed by Loo, and afterwards by Ts‘oo, and its name is still retained in one of the districts of the department of Yen-chow in Shan-tung. Confucius was a native of a district Edition: current; Page: [16] of Loo having the same name, which many contend was also the birth-place of Mencius, making him a native of Loo and not of the State of Tsow. To my mind the evidence is decidedly against such a view.1

Mencius’ name was K‘o. His designation does not appear in his Works, nor is any given to him by Sze-ma Ts‘ëen or Chaou K‘e. The latter says that he did not know how he had been styled; but the legends tell that he was called Tsze-keu, and Tsze-yu. The same authorities—if we can call them such—say that his father’s name was Keih, and that he was styled Kung-e. They say also that his mother’s maiden surname was Chang. Nothing is related of the former but that he died when his son was quite young, but the latter must have a paragraph to herself. “The mother of Mencius” is famous in China, and held up to the present time as a model of what a mother should be.

The year of Mencius’ birth was probably the 4th of the emperor Lëeh, bc 371. He lived to the age of 84, dying in in the year bc 288, the 26th of the emperor Nan, with whom terminated the long sovereignty of the Chow dynasty. The first twenty-three years of his life thus synchronized with the last twenty-three of Plato’s. Aristotle, Zeno, Epicurus, Demosthenes, and other great men of the West, were also his contemporaries. When we place Mencius among them, he can look them in the face. He does not need to hide a diminished head.

3. It was his misfortune, according to Chaou K‘e, “to lose his father at an early period;2 but in his youthful years Edition: current; Page: [17] he enjoyed the lessons of his kind mother, who thrice changed her residence on his account.”Mencius’ mother.

At first they lived near a cemetery, and Mencius amused himself with acting the various scenes which he witnessed at the tombs. “This,” said the lady, “is no place for my son;”—and she removed to a house in the market-place. But the change was no improvement. The boy took to playing the part of a salesman, vaunting his wares, and chaffering with customers. His mother sought a new house, and found one at last close by a public school. There her child’s attention was taken with the various exercises of politeness which the scholars were taught, and he endeavoured to imitate them. The mother was satisfied. “This,” she said, “is the proper place for my son.”

Han Ying relates another story of this period. Near their house was a pig-butcher’s. One day Mencius asked his mother what they were killing the pigs for, and was told that it was to feed him. Her conscience immediately reproved her for the answer. She said to herself, “While I was carrying this boy in my womb, I would not sit down if the mat was not placed square, and I ate no meat which was not cut properly;—so I taught him when he was yet unborn.1 And now when his intelligence is opening, I am deceiving him;—this is to teach him untruthfulness!” With this she went and bought a piece of pork in order to make good her words.

As Mencius grew up, he was sent to school. When he returned home one day, his mother looked up from the web which she was weaving, and asked him how far he had got on. He answered her with an air of indifference that he was doing well enough, on which she took a knife and cut the thread of her shuttle. The idler was alarmed, and asked what she meant, when she gave him a long lecture, showing that she had done what he was doing,—that her cutting her thread was like his neglecting his learning. The admonition, it is said, had its proper effect; the lecture did not need to be repeated.

There are two other narratives in which Chang-she figures, Edition: current; Page: [18] and though they belong to a later part of Mencius’ life, it may be as well to embrace them in the present paragraph.

His wife was squatting down one day in her own room, when Mencius went in. He was so much offended at finding her in that position, that he told his mother, and expressed his intention to put her away, because of “her want of propriety.” “It is you who have no propriety,” said his mother, “and not your wife. Do not ‘the Rules of Propriety’ say, ‘When you are about to ascend a hall, raise your voice; when you enter a door, keep your eyes low?’ The reason of the rules is that people may not be taken unprepared; but you entered the door of your private apartment without raising your voice, and so caused your wife to be caught squatting on the ground. The impropriety is with you and not with her.” On this Mencius fell to reproving himself, and did not dare to put away his wife.

One day, when he was living with his mother in Ts‘e, she was struck with the sorrowfulness of his aspect, as he stood leaning against a pillar, and asked him the cause of it. He replied, “I have heard that the superior man occupies the place for which he is adapted, accepting no reward to which he does not feel entitled, and not covetous of honour and emolument. Now my doctrines are not practised in Ts‘e:—I wish to leave it, but I think of your old age, and am anxious.” His mother said, “It does not belong to a woman to determine anything of herself, but she is subject to the rule of the three obediences. When young, she has to obey her parents; when married, she has to obey her husband; when a widow, she has to obey her son. You are a man in your full maturity, and I am old. Do you act as your conviction of righteousness tells you you ought to do, and I will act according to the rule which belongs to me. Why should you be anxious about me?”

Such are the accounts which I have found of the mother of Mencius. Possibly some of them are inventions, but they are devoutly believed by the people of China;—and it must be to their profit. We may well believe that she was a woman of very superior character, and that her son’s subsequent distinction was in a great degree owing to her influence and training.

4. From parents we advance to be under tutors and governors. The moulding hand that has wrought upon us Edition: current; Page: [19] in the pliant years of youth always leaves ineffaceable traces upon the character.Mencius’ instructors; and early life. Can anything be ascertained of the instructor or instructors of Mencius? The reply to this inquiry must be substantially in the negative, though many have affirmed that he sat as a pupil at the feet of Tsze-sze, the grandson of Confucius. We are told this by Chaou K‘e, whose words are:—“As he grew up, he studied under Tsze-sze, acquired all the knowledge taught by ‘The Learned,’ and became thoroughly acquainted with ‘The Five King,’ being more especially distinguished for his mastery of the She and the Shoo.” A reference to dates, however, shows that this must be incorrect. From the death of Confucius to the birth of Mencius there were 108 years, and supposing—what is by no means probable—that Tsze-sze was born in the year his father died, he must have been 112 years old when Mencius was born. The supposition of their having stood to each other in the relation of master and scholar is inconsistent, moreover, with the style in which Mencius refers to Tsze-sze. He mentions him seven times, showing an intimate acquaintance with his history, but never once in a manner which indicates that he had personal intercourse with him.

Sze-ma Ts‘ëen’s account is that “Mencius studied with the disciples of Tsze-sze.” This may have been the case. There is nothing on the score of time to make it impossible, or even improbable; but this is all that can be said about it. No famous names from the school of Tsze-sze have been transmitted to posterity, and Mencius nowhere speaks as if he felt under special obligation to any instructor.

One short sentence contains all that he has said bearing on the point before us:—“Although I could not be a disciple of Confucius myself, I have endeavoured to cultivate [my virtue] by means of others [who were].”1 The chapter to which this belongs is rather enigmatical. The other member of it says:—“The influence of a sovereign sage terminates in the fifth generation. The influence of one who is merely a sage does the same.” By “one merely a sage” Mencius is understood to mean Confucius; and by extending his influence over five generations, he shows how it was possible for him to place himself under it by means of others who had been in direct communication with the Master.

Edition: current; Page: [20]

We must leave the subject of Mencius’ early instructors in the obscurity which rests upon it. The first forty years of his life are little more than a blank to us. Many of them, we may be sure, were spent in diligent study. He made himself familiar during them with all the literature of his country. Its classics, its histories, its great men, had received his careful attention. Confucius especially became to him the chief of mortal men, the object of his untiring admiration; and in his principles and doctrines he recognized the truth for want of an appreciation of which the bonds of society all round him were being relaxed, and the empire hastening to a general anarchy.

How he supported himself in Tsow, we cannot tell. Perhaps he was possessed of some patrimony; but when he first comes forth from his native State, we find him accompanied by his most eminent disciples. He probably imitated Confucius by assuming the office of a teacher,—not that of a school-master in our acceptation of the word, but that of a professor of morals and learning, encouraging the resort of inquiring minds, in order to resolve their doubts and inform them on the true principles of virtue and society. These disciples would minister to his wants, though we may presume that he sternly maintained his dignity among them, as he afterwards did towards the princes of the time, when he appeared among them as a lecturer in another sense of the term. In Book VII. Pt II. xliii., and Book VI. Pt II. ii., we have two instances of this, though we cannot be sure that they belonged to the earlier period of his life.

5. The state of China had waxed worse and worse during the interval that elapsed between Confucius and Mencius. The elements of disorganization which were rife in the times of the earlier sage had gone on to produce their natural results.State of China in Mencius’ time. One feeble sovereign had followed another on the throne, and the dynasty of Chow was ready to vanish away. Men were persuaded of its approaching extinction. The feeling of loyalty to it was no longer a cherished sentiment; and the anxiety and expectation were about what new rule would take its place.

Many of the smaller fiefs or principalities had been reduced to a helpless dependence on, or been absorbed by, the larger ones. Of Loo, Ch‘ing, Wei, Woo, Ch‘in, and Sung, conspicuous in the Analects, we read but little in Mencius. Edition: current; Page: [21] Tsin had been dismembered, and its fragments formed the nuclei of three new and vigorous kingdoms,—Wei, Chaou, and Han. Ts‘e still maintained its ground, but was barely able to make head against the States of Ts‘in in the West and Ts‘oo in the South. The struggle for supremacy was between these two, the former, as it was ultimately successful, being the more ambitious and incessant in its aggressions on its neighbours.

The princes were thus at constant warfare with one another. Now two or more would form a league to resist the encroaching Ts‘in, and hardly would that object be accomplished before they were at war among themselves. Ambitious statesmen were continually inflaming their quarrels. The recluses of Confucius’ days, who withdrew in disgust from the world and its turmoil, had given place to a class of men who came forth from their retirements provided with arts of war or schemes of policy which they recommended to the contending chiefs. They made no scruple of changing their allegiance, as they were moved by whim or interest. Kung-sun Yen and Chang E may be mentioned as a specimen of those characters. “Are they not really great men?” it was once asked of Mencius. “Let them once be angry, and all the princes are afraid. Let them live quietly, and the flames of trouble are extinguished throughout the kingdom.”1

It is not wonderful that in such times the minds of men should have doubted of the soundness of the ancient principles of the acknowledged sages of the nation. Doctrines, strange and portentous in the view of Mencius, were openly professed. The authority of Confucius was disowned. The foundations of government were overthrown; the foundations of truth were assailed. Two or three paragraphs from our philosopher will verify and illustrate this representation of the character of his times.

“A host marches [in attendance on the ruler], and stores of provisions are consumed. The hungry are deprived of their food, and there is no rest for those who are called to toil. Maledictions are uttered by one to another with eyes askance, and the people proceed to the commission of wickedness. Thus the royal ordinances are violated, and the people are oppressed, and the supplies of food and drink flow away like water. The rulers yield themselves to the [bad] current, or they urge their [evil] way [against a good one]; they are wild; they are utterly lost.”2

Edition: current; Page: [22]

“The five chiefs of the princes were sinners against the three kings. The princes of the present day are sinners against the five chiefs. The great officers of the present day are sinners against the princes. . . . The crime of him who connives at and aids the wickedness of his prince is small, but the crime of him who anticipates and excites that wickedness is great. The officers of the present day all go to meet their sovereigns’ wickedness, and therefore I say that they are sinners against them.”1

“Sage kings cease to arise, and the princes of the States give the reins to their lusts. Unemployed scholars indulge in unreasonable discussions. The words of Yang Choo and Mih Teih fill the empire. If you listen to people’s discourses, you will find that they have adopted the views either of Yang or of Mih. [Now,] Yang’s principle is—‘each one for himself,’ which does not acknowledge [the claims of] the sovereign. Mih’s principle is—‘to love all equally,’ which does not acknowledge [the peculiar affection due to] a father. But to acknowledge neither king nor father is to be in the state of a beast. Kung-ming E said, ‘In their kitchens there is fat meat. In their stables there are fat horses. But their people have the look of hunger, and on the wilds there are those who have died of famine. This is leading on beasts to devour men.’ If the principles of Yang and Mih are not stopped, and the principles of Confucius not set forth, those perverse speakings will delude the people and stop up [the path of] benevolence and righteousness. When benevolence and righteousness are stopped up, beasts will be led on to devour men, and men will devour one another.”2

6. It is in Ts‘e that we first meet with Mencius as a counsellor of the princes,3Mencius the first time in Ts‘e; some time between bc 332 and 323. and it was in this State that he spent much the greater part of his public life. His residence in it, however, appears to have been divided into two portions, and we know not to which of them to refer many of the chapters which describe his intercourse with the prince and his ministers; but, as I have already observed, this is to us of little moment. Our interest is in what he did and said. It matters little that we cannot assign to each saying and doing its particular date.

That he left Ts‘e the first time before bc 323 is plausibly inferred from Bk II. Pt II. xiv. 4;4 and assuming that the Edition: current; Page: [23] conversation in the same Book, Pt I. ii., took place immediately before or after his arrival,1 we can determine that he did not enter the State before bc 331, for he speaks of himself as having attained at forty years of age to “an unperturbed mind.” The two chapters contain the most remarkable expressions indicative of Mencius’ estimate of himself. In the first, while he glorifies Confucius as far before all other men who had ever lived, he declines having comparisons drawn between himself and any of the sage’s most distinguished disciples. In the second, when going away sorrowful because he had not wrought the good which he desired, he observes:—“Heaven does not yet wish that the empire should enjoy tranquillity and good order. If it wished this, who is there besides me to bring it about?”

We may be certain that Mencius did not go to Ts‘e uninvited. His approach was waited for with curious expectation, and the king, spoken of always by his honorary epithet of Seuen, “The Illustrious,” sent persons to spy out whether he was like other men.2 They had their first interview at a place called Ts‘ung, which was so little satisfactory to the philosopher that he resolved to make only a short stay in the State. Circumstances occurred to change this resolution, but though he remained, and even accepted office, yet it was only honorary;—he declined receiving any salary.3

From Ts‘ung he appears to have retired to P‘ing-luh, where Ch‘oo, the prime minister, sent him a present, wishing, no doubt, to get into his good graces. I call attention to the circumstance, though trifling in itself, because it illustrates the way in which Mencius carried himself to the great men. He took the gift, but subsequently, when he went to the capital, he did not visit the minister to acknowledge Edition: current; Page: [24] it. His opinion was that Ch‘oo might have come in person to P‘ing-luh to see him. “There was a gift, but no corresponding respect.”1

When Mencius presented himself at the capital of the State, he was honourably received by the king. Many of the conversations with the sovereign and officers which are scattered through the seven Books, though the first and second are richest in them, must be referred to this period. The one which is first in place,2 and which contains the fullest exposition of the philosopher’s views on government, was probably first likewise in time.3 It sets forth the grand essential to the exercise of royal government,—a heart on the part of the sovereign impatient of the sufferings of the people, and eager to protect them and make them happy; it brings home to king Seuen the conviction that he was not without such a heart, and presses on him the truth that his not exercising it was from a want of will and not from any lack of ability; it exposes unsparingly the errors of the course he was pursuing; and concludes by an exhibition of the outlines and happy issues of a true royal sway.

Of this nature were all Mencius’ communications with the sovereign; but he lays himself open in one thing to severe censure. Afraid apparently of repelling the prince from him by the severity of his lessons, he tries to lead him on by his very passions. “I am fond of beauty,” says the king, “and that is in the way of my attaining to the royal government which you celebrate.” “Not at all,” replies the philosopher. “Gratify yourself, only do not let your doing so interfere with the people’s getting similar enjoyment for themselves.”4 So the love of money, the love of war, and the love of music are dealt with. Mencius thought that if he could only get the good of the people to be recognized by Seuen as the great aim which he was to pursue, his tone of mind would be so elevated, that the selfish passions and gratifications of which he was the slave would Edition: current; Page: [25] be purified or altogether displaced. And so it would have been. Where he fails, is in putting his points as if benevolence and selfishness, covetousness and generosity, might exist together. Chinese moralists rightly find fault with him in this respect, and say that Confucius never condescended to such a style of argument.

Notwithstanding the apparent cordiality of the king’s reception of him, and the freedom with which Mencius spoke his mind at their interviews, a certain suspiciousness appears to have been maintained between them. Neither of them would bend to the other. Mencius would not bow to the royal state; Seuen would not vail bonnet to the philosopher’s cloak. We have one amusing instance of the struggles to which this sometimes gave rise. One day Mencius was preparing to go to court of his own free will, when a messenger arrived from the king, saying he had intended to come and see him, but was prevented by a cold, and asking whether Mencius would not appear at the audience next morning. Mencius saw that this was a device on the part of the king to avoid stooping to visit him, and though he had been about to go to court, he replied at once that he was unwell. He did not hesitate to meet the king’s falsehood with one of his own.

He did not wish, however, that the king should be ignorant of the truth, and went out next morning to pay a visit of condolence. He supposed that messengers would be sent from the court to inquire about his health, and that, when they took back word that he had gone out visiting, the king would understand how his sickness of the day before was only feigned.

It happened as he expected. The king sent a messenger, and his physician besides. Mencius being out, they were received by Măng Chung, either his son or cousin, who complicated the affair by an invention of his own. “To-day,” he said, “he was a little better, and hastened to go to court. I don’t know whether he has reached it by this time or not.” No sooner were the visitors gone with this story, than he sent several persons to look for the philosopher, and urge him to go to the court before he returned home.

It was now necessary that a full account of the matter should reach the royal ears; and to accomplish this, Mencius neither went home nor to the court, but spent the night at the house Edition: current; Page: [26] of one of the high officers. They had an animated discussion. The officer accused Mencius of showing disrespect to the king. The philosopher replied that no man in Ts‘e showed so much respect for the sovereign as he did, for it was only he who brought high and truly royal subjects under his notice.

“That,” said the officer, “is not my meaning. The rule is—‘When the prince’s order calls, the carriage must not be waited for.’ You were going to the court, but when you heard the king’s message, you did not do so. This seems not in accordance with that rule.” Mencius explained:—“There are three things universally acknowledged to be honourable,—nobility, age, and virtue. In courts, nobility holds the first place; in villages, age; and for helping one’s generation and presiding over the people, the other two are not equal to virtue. The possession of one of the three does not authorize the despising of one who has the other two.

“A prince who is to accomplish great deeds will have ministers whom he does not call to go to see him. When he wishes to consult with their, he goes to them. The prince who does not honour the virtuous, and delight in their ways of doing, to this extent, is not worth having to do with.

“There was T‘ang with E Yin:—he first learned of him, and then made him his minister; and so without difficulty he became sovereign. There was the duke Hwan with Kwan Chung:—he first learned of him, and then made him his minister; and so without difficulty he became chief of all the princes.

“So did T‘ang behave to E Yin, and the duke Hwan to Kwan Chung, that they would not venture to call them to go to them. If Kwan Chung might not be called to him by his prince, how much less may I be called, who would not play the part of Kwan Chung!”1

We are to suppose that these sentiments were conveyed to the king by the officer with whom Mencius spent the night. It is a pity that the exposition of them could only be effected in such a roundabout manner, and was preceded by such acts of prevarication. But where the two parties were so suspicious of each other, we need not wonder that they separated before long. Mencius resigned his honorary appointment, and prepared to return to Tsow. On this occasion king Seuen visited him, and after some complimentary expressions asked whether he might expect to see him again. “I dare not request permission to visit you [at any particular time],” replied Mencius, “but, indeed, it is what I desire.”2

Edition: current; Page: [27]

The king made another attempt to detain him, and sent an officer, called She, to propose to him to remain in the State, on the understanding that he should have a house large enough to accommodate his disciples, and an allowance of ten thousand measures of grain to support them. All Mencius’ efforts had not sufficed to make king Seuen and his ministers understand him. They thought he was really actuated like themselves by a desire for wealth. He indignantly rejected the proposal, and pointed out the folly of it, considering that he had already declined a hundred thousand measures in holding only an honorary appointment.

So Mencius turned his back on Ts‘e; but he withdrew with a slow and lingering step, stopping three nights in one place, to afford the king an opportunity to recall him on a proper understanding. Some reproached him with his hesitancy, but he sufficiently explained himself. “The king,” he said, “is, after all, one who may be made to do good. If he were to use me, would it be for the happiness of Ts‘e only? It would be for the happiness of the people of the whole empire. I am hoping that the king will change; I am daily hoping for this.

“Am I like one of your little-minded people? They will remonstrate with their prince, and on their remonstrance not being accepted, they get angry, and, with their passion displayed in their countenance, they take their leave, and travel with all their strength for a whole day, before they will rest.”1

7. After he left Ts‘e, Mencius found a home for some time in the small principality of T‘ăng, on the south of Ts‘e, in the ruler of which he had a sincere admirer and docile pupil.Mencius in T‘ang;—from his leaving T‘se to bc 318. He did not proceed thither immediately, however, but seems to have taken his way to Sung, which consisted mostly of the present department of Kwei-tih in Ho-nan.2 There he was visited by the heirson of T‘ăng, who made a long detour, while on a journey to Ts‘oo, for the purpose of seeing him. The philosopher discoursed on the goodness of human nature, and the excellent ways of Yaou and Shun. His hearer admired, but doubted. Edition: current; Page: [28] He could not forget, however, and the lessons which he received produced fruit before long.

From Sung Mencius returned to Tsow, by way of Sëeh. In both Sung and Sëeh he accepted large gifts from the rulers, which help us in some measure to understand how he could maintain an expenditure which must have been great, and which gave occasion also for an ingenious exposition of the principles on which he guided his course among the princes.

“When you were in Ts‘e,” said one of his disciples, “you refused 100 yih of fine gold, which the king sent, while in Sung you accepted 70 yih, and in Seeh 50. If you were right in refusing the gift in the first case, you did wrong in accepting it in the other two. If you were right in accepting it in those two cases, you were wrong in refusing it in Ts‘e. You must accept one of these alternatives.” “I did right in all the cases,” replied Mencius. “When I was in Sung. I was about to undertake a long journey. Travellers must be provided with what is necessary for their expenses. The prince’s message was—‘a present against travelling-expenses;’ why should I have declined the gift? In Seeh I was under apprehensions for my safety, and taking measures for my protection. The message was—‘I have heard you are taking measures to protect yourself, and send this to help you in procuring arms.’ Why should I have declined the gift? But when I was in Ts‘e. I had no occasion for money. To send a man a gift when he has no occasion for it is to bribe him. How is it possible that a superior man should be taken with a bribe?”1

Before Mencius had been long in Tsow, the crown-prince of T‘ăng succeeded to the rule of the principality, and, calling to mind the lessons which he had heard in Sung, sent an officer to consult the philosopher on the manner in which he should perform the funeral and mourning services for his father.2 Mencius of course advised him to carry out in the strictest manner the ancient regulations. The new prince’s relatives and the officers of the State opposed, but ineffectually. Mencius’ counsel was followed, and the effect was great. Duke Wăn became an object of general admiration.

By and by Mencius proceeded himself to T‘ăng. We may suppose that he was invited thither by the prince as soon as the rules of mourning would allow his holding free communication with him. The chapters which give an account of their conversations are really interesting. Mencius Edition: current; Page: [29] recommended that attention should be chiefly directed to the encouragement of agriculture and education. He would have nourishment secured both for the body and the mind of every subject.1 When the duke was lamenting the danger to which he was exposed from his powerful and encroaching neighbours, Mencius told him he might adopt one of two courses;—either leave his State, and like king T‘ae go and find a settlement elsewhere, or be prepared to die for his patrimony. “If you do good,” said he, “among your descendants in after-generations there will be one who shall attain to the Royal dignity. But results are with Heaven. What is Ts‘e to you, O prince? Be strong to do good. That is all your business.”2

After all, nothing came of Mencius’ residence in T‘ăng. We should like to know what made him leave it. Confucius said that, if any of the princes were to employ him, he should achieve something considerable in twelve months, and in the course of three years the government would be perfected.3 Mencius taught that, in his time, with half the merit of former days double the result might be accomplished.4 Here in T‘ăng a fair field seemed to be afforded him, but he was not able to make his promise good. Possibly the good purposes and docility of duke Wăn may not have held out, or Mencius may have found that it was easier to theorize about government, than actually to carry it on. Whatever may have been the cause, we find him in bc 319 at the court of king Hwuy of Leang.

Before he left T‘ăng, Mencius had his rencounter with the disciples of the “shrike-tongued barbarian of the south,” one Heu Hing, who came to T‘ăng on hearing of the reforms which were being made at Mencius’ advice by the duke Wăn. This was one of the dreamy speculators of the time, to whom I have already alluded. He pretended to follow the lessons of Shin-nung, one of the reputed founders of the empire and the father of husbandry, and came to T‘ăng with his plough upon his shoulder, followed by scores of followers, all wearing the coarsest clothes, and supporting themselves by making mats and sandals. It was one of his maxims that “the magistrates should be labouring men.” He would have the sovereign grow his own rice, and cook his Edition: current; Page: [30] own meals. Not a few of “The Learned” were led away by his doctrines, but Mencius girt up his loins to oppose the heresy, and ably vindicated the propriety of a division of labour, and of a lettered class conducting the government. It is just possible that the appearance of Heu Hing, and the countenance shown to him, may have had something to do with Mencius’ leaving the State.

8. Lëang was another name for Wei, one of the States into which Tsin had been divided.Mencius in Leang;—bc 319, 318. King Hwuy, early in his reign, bc 364, had made the city of Taeleang, in the present department of K‘ae-fung, his capital, and given its name to his whole principality. It was the year before his death, when Mencius visited him.1 A long, stormy, and disastrous rule was about to terminate, but the king was as full of activity and warlike enterprise as ever he had been. At his first interview with Mencius, he addressed him in the well-known words, “Venerable Sir, since you have not counted it far to come here, a distance of a thousand le, may I presume that you are likewise provided with counsels to profit my kingdom?” Mencius in reply starts from the word profit, and expatiates eloquently on the evil consequences that must ensue from making a regard to profit the ground of conduct or the rule of policy. As for himself, his theme must be benevolence and righteousness. On these he would discourse, but on nothing else, and in following them a prince would obtain true and sure advantages.

Only five conversations are related between king Hwuy and the philosopher. They are all in the spirit of the first which has just been described, and of those which he had with king Seuen of Ts‘e. There is the same freedom of expostulation, or, rather, boldness of reproof, and the same unhesitating assurance of the success that would follow the Edition: current; Page: [31] adoption of his principles. The most remarkable is the third, where we have a sounder doctrine than where he tells king Seuen that his love of beauty and money and valour need not interfere with his administration of royal government. Hwuy is boasting of his diligence in the government of his State, and sympathy with the sufferings of his people, as far beyond those of any of the neighbouring rulers, and wondering how he was not more prosperous than they. Mencius replies, “Your Majesty is fond of war;—let me take an illustration from it. The drums sound, and the weapons are crossed, when suddenly the soldiers on one side throw away their coats of mail, trail their weapons behind them, and run. Some of them run a hundred paces, and some run only fifty. What would you think if those who run fifty paces were to laugh at those who run a hundred paces?” “They may not do so,” said the king; “they only did not run a hundred paces, but they also ran.” “Since your Majesty knows this,” was the reply, “you need not hope that your people will become more numerous than those of the neighbouring kingdoms.” The king was thus taught that half measures would not do. Royal government, to be effectual, must be carried out faithfully and in its spirit.

King Hwuy died in bc 319, and was succeeded by his son, the king Sëang. Mencius appears to have had but one interview with him. When he came out from it, he observed to some of his friends:—“When I looked at him from a distance, he did not appear like a sovereign; when I drew near to him, I saw nothing venerable about him.”1

It was of no use to remain any longer in Lëang; he left it, and we meet with him again in Ts‘e.

9. Whether he returned immediately to Ts‘e we cannot tell, but the probability is that he did, and remained in it till the year bc 311.2Mencius the second time in Ts‘e;—to bc 311. When he left it about seven years before, he had made provision for his return in case of a change of mind in king Edition: current; Page: [32] Seuen. The philosopher, I apprehend, was content with an insufficient assurance of such an alteration. Be that as it may, he went back, and took an appointment again as a high noble.

If he was contented with a smaller reformation on the part of the king than he must have desired, Mencius was not himself different from what he had been. In the court and among the high officers his deportment was equally unbending; he was the same stern mentor.

Among the officers was one Wang Hwan, called also Tsze-gaou, a favourite with the king, insolent and presuming. Him Mencius treated with an indifference and even contempt which must have been very provoking. A large party were met one time at the house of an officer who had lost a son, for the purpose of expressing their condolences. Mencius was among them, when suddenly Wang Hwan made his appearance. One and another moved to do him honour and win from him a smile,—all indeed but Mencius, who paid no regard to him. The other complained of the rudeness, but the philosopher could show that his conduct was only in accordance with the rules of propriety.1

Now and then he became the object of unpleasant remark and censure. At his instigation, an officer, Ch‘e Wa, remonstrated with the king on some abuse, and had in consequence to resign his office. The people were not pleased with Mencius, thus advising others to their harm, and yet continuing to retain his own position undisturbed. “In the course which he marked out for Ch‘e Wa,” they said, “he did well, but we do not know as to the course which he pursues for himself.” The philosopher, however, was never at a loss in rendering a reason. He declared that, as his office was honorary, he could act “freely and without restraint either in going forward or retiring.”2 In this matter we have more sympathy with the condemnation than with the defence.

Some time during these years there occurred the death of Mencius’ excellent mother. She had been with him in Ts‘e, and he carried the coffin to Loo, to bury it near the dust of his father and ancestors. The funeral was a splendid one. Mencius perhaps erred in having it so from his Edition: current; Page: [33] dislike to the Mihists, who advocated a spare simplicity in all funeral matters.1 His arrangements certainly excited the astonishment of some of his own disciples,2 and were the occasion of general remark.3 He defended himself on the ground that “the superior man will not for all the world be niggardly to his parents,” and that, as he had the means, there was no reason why he should not give all the expression in his power to his natural feelings.

Having paid this last tribute of filial duty, Mencius returned to Ts‘e, but he could not appear at court till the three years of his mourning were accomplished.4 It could not be long after this when trouble and confusion arose in Yen, a large State to the north-west of Ts‘e, in the present Chih-le. Its prince, who was a poor weakling, wished to go through the sham of resigning his throne to his prime minister, understanding that he would decline it, and that thus he would have the credit of playing the part of the ancient Yaou, while at the same time he retained his kingdom. The minister, however, accepted the tender, and, as he proved a tyrannical ruler, great dissatisfaction arose. Shin T‘ung, an officer of Ts‘e, asked Mencius whether Yen might be smitten. He replied that it might, for its prince had no right to resign it to his minister, and the minister no right to receive it. “Suppose,” said he, “there were an officer here with whom you were pleased, and that, without informing the king, you were privately to give him your salary and rank; and suppose that this officer, also without the king’s orders, were privately to receive them from you:—would such a transaction be allowable? And where is the difference between the case of Yen and this?”5

Whether these sentiments were reported to king Seuen or not, he proceeded to attack Yen, and found it an easy prey. Mencius was charged with having advised the measure, but he ingeniously repudiated the accusation. “I answered Shin T‘ung that Yen might be smitten. If he had asked me—‘Who may smite it?’ I would have Edition: current; Page: [34] answered him—‘He who is the minister of Heaven may smite it.’ Suppose the case of a murderer, and that one asks me—‘May this man be put to death?’ I will answer him—‘He may.’ If he ask me—‘Who may put him to death?’ I will answer him—‘The chief criminal judge may put him to death.’ But now with one Yen to smite another Yen:—how should I have advised this?” This reference to “The minister of Heaven” strikingly illustrates what was said about the state of China in Mencius’ time. He tells us in one place that hostile States do not correct one another, and that only the supreme authority can punish its subjects by force of arms.1 But there was now no supreme authority in China. He saw in the emperor but “the shadow of an empty name.” His conception of a minister of Heaven was not unworthy. He was one who, by the distinction which he gave to talents and virtue, and by his encouragement of agriculture and commerce, attracted all people to him as a parent. He would have no enemy under heaven, and could not help attaining to the Royal dignity.2

King Seuen, after conquering and appropriating Yen, tried to get Mencius’ sanction of the proceeding, alleging the ease and rapidity with which he had effected the conquest as an evidence of the favour of Heaven. But the philosopher was true to himself. The people of Yen, he said, had submitted, because they expected to find in the king a deliverer from the evils under which they groaned. If they were pleased, he might retain the State, but if he tried to keep it by force, there would simply be another revolution.3

The king’s love of power prevailed. He determined to keep his prey, and ere long a combination was formed among the neighbouring princes to wrest Yen from him. Full of alarm he again consulted Mencius, but got no comfort from him. “Let him restore his captives and spoils, consult with the people of Yen, and appoint them a ruler—so he might be able to avert the threatened attack.”4

The result was as Mencius had predicted. The people of Yen rebelled. The king felt ashamed before the philosopher, whose second residence in Ts‘e was thus brought to an unpleasant termination.

Edition: current; Page: [35]

10. We do not know that Mencius visited any of the princes after this. On leaving Ts‘e, he took his way again to Sung, the duke of which had taken the title of king in bc 317.Mencius in Loo;—bc 309. A report also had gone abroad that he was setting about to practise the true royal government, but Mencius soon satisfied himself of its incorrectness.1

The last court at which we find him is that of Loo, bc 309. The duke P‘ing had there called Yoh-ching, one of the philosopher’s disciples, to his councils, and indeed committed to him the administration of the government. When Mencius heard of it, he was so overjoyed that he could not sleep.2

The first appearance (in point of time) of this Yoh-ching in the Seven Books is not much to his credit. He comes to Ts‘e in the train of Wang Hwan, the favourite who was an offence to the philosopher, and is very sharply reproved for joining himself to such a character “for the sake of the loaves and fishes.”3 Other references to him are more favourable. Mencius declares him to be “a good man,” “a real man.”4 He allows that “he is not a man of vigour,” nor “a man wise in council,” nor “a man of much information,” but he says—“he is a man that loves what is good,” and “the love of what is good is more than a sufficient qualification for the government of the kingdom;—how much more is it so for the State of Loo!”5

Either on his own impulse or by Yoh-ching’s invitation, Mencius went himself also to Loo, hoping that the prince who had committed his government to the disciple might be willing to listen to the counsels of the master. The duke was informed of his arrival by Yoh-ching, and also of the deference which he exacted. He resolved to go and visit him and invite him to the court. The horses were put to the carriage, and the duke was ready to start, when the intervention of his favourite, a worthless creature called Tsang Ts‘ang, diverted him from his good purpose. When told by the duke that he was going to visit the scholar Măng, Ts‘ang said, “That you demean yourself to pay the honour of the first visit to a common man, is, I apprehend, because Edition: current; Page: [36] you think that he is a man of talents and virtue. From such men the rules of ceremonial proprieties and right proceed; but on the occasion of this Măng’s second mourning, his observances exceeded those of the former. Do not go to see him, my prince.” The duke said, “I will not;”—and carriage and horses were ordered back to their places.

As soon as Yoh-ching had an audience of the duke, he explained the charge of impropriety which had been brought against Mencius; but the evil was done. The duke had taken his course. “I told him,” said Yoh-ching, “about you, and he was coming to see you, when Tsang Ts‘ang stopped him.” Mencius replied to him, “A man’s advancement is effected, it may be, by others, and the stopping him is, it may be, from the efforts of others. But to advance a man or to stop his advance is really beyond the power of other men; my not finding in the prince of Loo a ruler who would confide in me, and put my counsels into practice, is from Heaven. How could that scion of the Tsang family cause me not to find the ruler that would suit me?”1

Mencius appears to have accepted this intimation of the will of Heaven as final. He has a remarkable saying, that Heaven controls the development of a man’s faculties and affections, but as there is an adaptation in his nature for these, the superior man does not say—“It is the appointment of Heaven.”2 In accordance with this principle he had striven long against the adverse circumstances which threw his hopes of influencing the rulers of his time again and again in the dust. On his first leaving Ts‘e we saw how he said:—“Heaven does not yet wish that the empire should enjoy tranquillity and good order.” For about fifteen years, however, he persevered, if peradventure there might be a change in the Heavenly councils. Now at last he bowed in submission. The year after and he would reach his grand climacteric. We lose sight of him. He retired from courts and great officers. We can but think and conjecture of him, according to tradition, passing the last twenty years of his life amid the more congenial society of his disciples, discoursing to them, and compiling the Works which have survived as his memorial to the present day.

11. I have endeavoured in the preceding paragraphs to Edition: current; Page: [37] put together the principal incidents of Mencius’ history as they may be gathered from his Writings. There is no other source of information about him, and we must regret that they tell us nothing of his domestic life and habits. In one of the stories about his mother there is an allusion to his wife, from which we may conclude that his marriage was not without its bitternesses. It is probable that the Măng Chung, mentioned in Bk II. Pt II. ii., was his son, though this is not easily reconcileable with what we read in VI. Pt I. v., of a Măng Ke, who was, according to Chaou K‘e, a brother of Măng Chung. We must believe that he left a family, for his descendants form a large clan at the present day. He-wăn, the 56th in descent from Mencius, was, in the period Këa-tsing (ad 1522—1566), constituted a member of the Han-lin college, and of the Board in charge of the five King, which honour was to be hereditary in the family, and the holder of it to preside at the sacrifices to his ancestor.1 China’s appreciation of our philosopher could not be more strikingly shown. Honours flow back in this empire. The descendant ennobles his ancestors. But in the case of Mencius, as in that of Confucius, this order is reversed. No excellence of descendants can extend to them; and the nation acknowledges its obligations to them by nobility and distinction conferred through all generations upon their posterity.

SECTION II.: HIS INFLUENCE AND OPINIONS.

1. Confucius had hardly passed off the stage of life before his merits began to be acknowledged. The duke Gae, who had neglected his counsels when he was alive, was the first to pronounce his eulogy, and to order that public sacrifices should be offered to him. His disciples proclaimed their estimation of him as superior to all the sages whom China had ever seen. Before long this view of him took possession Edition: current; Page: [38] of the whole nation; and since the Han dynasty, he has been the man whom sovereign and people have delighted to honour.

The memory of Mencius was not so distinguished. We have seen that many centuries elapsed before his Writings were received among the classics of the empire.Acknowledgment of Mencius’ inerits by the government It was natural that under the same dynasty when this was done the man himself should be admitted to share in the sacrifices presented to Confucius.

The emperor Shin-tsung,1 in ad 1083, issued a patent, constituting Mencius “duke of the State of Tsow,” and ordering a temple to be built to him in the district of Tsow, at the spot where the philosopher had been interred. In the following year it was enacted that he should have a place in the temple of Confucius, next to that of Yen Yuen, the favourite disciple of the sage.

In ad 1330, the emperor Wăn,2 of the Yuen dynasty, made an addition to Mencius’ title, and styled him “duke of the State of Tsow, Inferior Sage.” This continued till the rise of the Ming dynasty, the founder of which had his indignation excited in 1372 by one of Mencius’ conversations with king Seuen. The philosopher had said:—“When the ruler regards his ministers as his hands and feet, the ministers regard their ruler as their belly and heart; when he regards them as his dogs and horses, they regard him as any other man; when he regards them as the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy.”3 To apply such names as robber and enemy in any case to rulers seemed to the imperial reader an unpardonable outrage, and he ordered Mencius to be degraded from his place in the temples of Confucius, declaring also that if any one remonstrated on the proceeding he should be dealt with as guilty of “Contempt of Majesty.”

The scholars of China have never been slow to vindicate the memory of its sages and worthies. Undeterred by the imperial threat, Ts‘ëen T‘ang, a president of the Board of Punishments, presented himself with a remonstrance, saying—“I will die for Mencius, and my death will be crowned with glory.” The emperor was moved by his earnestness, and allowed him to go scathless. In the following year, moreover, examination and reflection produced a change of Edition: current; Page: [39] mind. He issued a second proclamation to the effect that Mencius, by exposing heretical doctrines and overthrowing perverse speakings, had set forth clearly the principles of Confucius, and ought to be restored to his place as one of his assessors.1

In 1530, the ninth year of the period Kea-tsing, a general revision was made of the sacrificial canon for the sage’s temple, and the title of Mencius was changed into—“The philosopher Măng, Inferior Sage.” So it continues to the present day. His place is the second on the west, next to that of the philosopher Tsăng. Originally, we have seen, he followed Yen Hwuy, but Hwuy, Tsze-sze, Tsăng, and Măng were appointed the sage’s four assessors, and had their relative positions fixed, in 1267.

2. The second edict in the period Hung-woo, restoring Mencius to his place in the temples of Confucius, states fairly enough the services which he is held to have rendered to his country.Estimate of Mencius by himself and by scholars. The philosopher’s own estimate of himself has partly appeared in the sketch of his Life. He seemed to start with astonishment Edition: current; Page: [40] when his disciple Kung-sun Ch‘ow was disposed to rank him as a sage;1 but he also said on one occasion—“When sages shall rise up again, they will not change my words.”2 Evidently, he was of opinion that the mantle of Confucius had fallen upon him. A work was to be done in his generation, and he felt himself able to undertake it. After describing what had been accomplished by the great Yu, by Chow-kung, and Confucius, he adds:—“I also wish to rectify men’s hearts, and to put an end to those perverse doctrines, to oppose their one-sided actions, and banish away their licentious expressions; and thus to carry on the work of the three sages.”3

3. The place which Mencius occupies in the estimation of the literati of China may be seen by the following testimonies, selected from those appended by Choo He to the prefatory notice of his Life in the “Collected Comments.”

Han Yu4 says, “If we wish to study the doctrines of the sages, we must begin with Mencius.” He also quotes the opinion of Yang Tsze-yun,5 “Yang and Mih were stopping up the way [of truth], when Mencius refuted them, and scattered their delusions without difficulty;” and then remarks upon it:—“When Yang and Mih walked abroad, the true doctrine had nearly come to nought. Though Mencius possessed talents and virtue, even those of a sage, he did not occupy the throne. He could only speak and not act. With all his earnestness, what could he do? It is owing, however, to his words, that learners now-a-days still know to revere Confucius, to honour benevolence and righteousness, to esteem the true sovereign and despise the mere pretender. But the grand rules and laws of the sage and sage-emperors had been lost beyond the power of redemption; only one in a hundred of them was preserved. Can it be said in those circumstances that Mencius had an easy task? Yet had it not been for him, we should have been buttoning the lappets of our coats on the left side, and our discourse would have been all-confused and indistinct;—it is on this account that I have honoured Mencius, and consider his merit not inferior to that of Yu.”

One asked the philosopher Ch‘ing6 whether Mencius might Edition: current; Page: [41] be pronounced to be a sage. He replied, “I do not dare to say altogether that he was a sage, but his learning had reached the extremest point.” The same great scholar also said:—“The merit of Mencius in regard to the doctrine of the sages is more than can be told. Confucius only spoke of benevolence, but as soon as Mencius opens his mouth, we hear of benevolence and righteousness. Confucius only spoke of the will or mind, but Mencius enlarged also on the nourishment of the passion-nature. In these two respects his merit was great.” “Mencius did great service to the world by his teaching the goodness of man’s nature.” “Mencius had a certain amount of the heroical spirit, and to that there always belong some jutting corners, the effect of which is very injurious. Yen Yuen, all round and complete, was different from this. He was but a hair’s-breadth removed from a sage, while Mencius must be placed in a lower rank, a great worthy, an inferior sage.” Ch‘ing was asked where what he called the heroical spirit of Mencius could be seen. “We have only to compare his words with those of Confucius,” he said, “and we shall perceive it. It is like the comparison of ice or crystal with a precious stone. The ice is bright enough, but the precious stone, without so much brilliancy, has a softness and richness all its own.”1 The scholar Yang Kwei-shan2 says:—“The great object of Mencius in his writings is to rectify men’s hearts, teaching them to preserve their heart and nourish their nature, and to recover their lost heart. When he discourses of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and knowledge, he refers to the principles of these in the heart commiserating, feeling shame and dislike, affected with modesty and complaisance, approving Edition: current; Page: [42] and disapproving. When he speaks of the evils springing from perverted speakings, he says—‘Growing first in the mind, they prove injurious to government.’ When he shows how a prince should be served, he says—‘Correct what is wrong in his mind. Once rectify the prince, and the kingdom will be settled.’ With him the thousand changes and ten thousand operations of men all come from the mind or heart. If a man once rectify his heart, little else will remain for him to do. In ‘The Great Learning,’ the cultivation of the person, the regulation of the family, the government of the State, and the tranquillization of the empire, all have their root in the rectifying of the heart and the making the thoughts sincere. If the heart be rectified, we recognize at once the goodness of the nature. On this account, whenever Mencius came into contact with people, he testified that man’s nature is good. When Ow-yang Yung-shuh1 says, that, in the lessons of the sages, man’s nature does not occupy the first place, he is wrong. There is nothing to be put before this. Yaou and Shun are the models for ten thousand ages simply because they followed their nature. And to follow our nature is just to accord with Heavenly principle. To use plans and arts, away from this, though they may be successful in great achievement, is the selfishness of human desires, and as far removed from the mode of action of the sage, as earth is from heaven.” I shall close these testimonies with a sentence from Choo He himself. He says:—“Mencius, when compared with Confucius, always appears to speak in too lofty a style; but when we hear him proclaiming the goodness of man’s nature, and celebrating Yaou and Shun, then we likewise perceive the solidity of his discourses.”

4. The judgment concerning our philosopher contained in the above quotations will approve itself to every one who has carefully perused his Works.Correctness of the above testimonies. Mencius own peculiarities appear in his expositions of doctrine. The long passage from Yang Kwei-shan is especially valuable, and puts the principal characteristic of Mencius’ teachings in a clear light. Whether those teachings have the intrinsic value which is ascribed to them is another question. But Mencius’ position Edition: current; Page: [43] with reference to “the doctrines of the sages” is correctly assigned. We are not to look for new truths in him. And this does not lead his countrymen to think less highly of him. I ventured to lay it down as one grand cause of the position and influence of Confucius, that he was simply the preserver of the monuments of antiquity, and the exemplifier and expounder of the maxims of the golden age of China. In this Mencius must share with him.

But while we are not to look to Mencius for new truths, the peculiarities of his natural character were more striking than those of his master. There was an element of “the heroical” about him. He was a dialectician, moreover. If he did not like disputing, as he protested that he did not, yet, when forced to it, he showed himself a master of the art. An ingenuity and subtlety which we cannot but enjoy often mark his reasonings. We have more sympathy with him than with Confucius. He comes closer to us. He is not so awe-ful, but he is more admirable. The doctrines of the sages take a tinge from his mind in passing through it, and it is with that Mencian character about them that they are now held by the cultivated classes and by readers generally.

I will now call attention to a few passages illustrative of these remarks. Some might prefer to search them out for themselves in the body of the volume, and I am far from intending to exhaust the subject. There will be many readers, however, pleased to have the means of forming an idea of the man for themselves brought within small compass. My next object will be to review his doctrine concerning man’s mental constitution and the nourishment of the passion-nature, in which he is said to have rendered special service to the cause of truth. That done, I will conclude by pointing out what I conceive to be his chief defects as a moral and political teacher. To the opinions of Yang Choo and Mih, which he took credit to himself for assailing and exposing, it will be necessary to devote another chapter.

5. It was pointed out in treating of the opinions of Confucius, that he allowed no “right divine” to a sovereign, independent of his exercising a benevolent rule.Specimens of Mencius’ opinions, and manner of advocating them. This was one of the topics, however, of which he was shy. With Mencius, on the contrary, it was a favourite theme. The degeneracy of the Edition: current; Page: [44] times and the ardour of his disposition prompted him equally to the free expression of his convictions about it.

“The people,” he said, “are the most important element [in a country] the spirits of the land and grain are the next; the ruler is the lightest When the ruler endangers the altars of the spirits of the land and grain, he is changed, and another appointed in his place.On government.—The people more important than the ruler. When the sacrificial victims have been perfect, the millet in its vessels all pure, and the sacrifices offered at their proper seasons, if yet there ensure drought, or the waters overflow, the altars of the spirits of the land and grain are changed, and others appointed.”1

The people are the most important element in a country, and the ruler is the lightest;”—that is certainly a bold and ringing affirmation.An unworthy ruler may be dethroned or put to death. Mencius was not afraid to follow it to the conclusion that the ruler who was exercising an injurious rule should be dethroned. His existence is not to be allowed to interfere with the general good. Killing in such a case is no murder King Seuen once asked, “Was it so that T‘ang banished Këeh, and that king Woo smote Chow?” Mencius replied, “It is so in the records.” The king asked, “May a minister then put his sovereign to death?” Our philosopher’s reply was:—“He who outrages the benevolence proper to his nature is called a robber; he who outrages righteousness is called a ruffian. The robber and ruffian we call a mere fellow. I have heard of the cutting off of the fellow Chow, but I have not heard in his case of the putting a ruler to death.”2

With regard to the ground of the relation between ruler and people, Mencius refers it very clearly to the will of God. In one place he adopts for his own purpose the language of king Woo in the Shoo-king:—The ground of the relation between ruler and people. “Heaven, having produced the inferior people, made for them rulers and instructors, with the purpose that they should be assisting to God, and therefore gave them distinction throughtout the four quarters of the land.”3 But the question arises—How can this will of Heaven be known? Mencius has endeavoured to answer it. He says:—“Heaven gives the empire, but its appointment is not conferred with specific injunctions. Heaven does not speak. Edition: current; Page: [45] It shows its will by a man’s personal conduct and his conduct of affairs.” The conclusion of the whole matter is:—“Heaven sees according as the people see; Heaven hears according as the people hear.”1

It may not be easy to dispute these principles. I for one have no hesitation in admitting them. Their application, however, must always be attended with difficulty.An unworthy ruler may be dethroned by his relatives. Here is a sovereign who is the very reverse of a minister of God for good. He ought to be removed, but who is to remove him? Mencius teaches in one passage that the duty is to be performed by his relatives who are also ministers.

King Seuen of Ts‘e asked him about the office of chief ministers. Mencius said, “Which chief ministers is your Majesty asking about?” “Are there differences among them?” inquired the king. “There are,” was the reply; “there are the chief ministers who are noble and relatives of the ruler, and there are those who are of a different surname.” The king said, “I beg to ask about the chief ministers who are noble and relatives of the ruler.” Mencius answered, “If the ruler have great faults, they ought to remonstrate with him, and if he do not listen to them when they have done so again and again, they ought to appoint another in his place.” The king on this looked moved, and changed countenance. Mencius said, “Let not your Majesty think what I say strange. You asked me, and I did not dare to reply but correctly.”2

This plan for disposing of an unworthy sovereign has been acted on in China and in other countries. It is the best that can be adopted to secure the throne in the ruling House.Virtuous ministers, and the minister of Heaven, may dethrone a ruler. But where there are no relatives that have the virtue and power to play such a part, what is to be done? Mencius has two ways of meeting this difficulty. Contrary to his general rule for the conduct of ministers who are not relatives, he allows that even they may, under certain conditions, take summary measures with their sovereign.

His disciple Kung-sun Ch‘ow said to him, “E Yin said, ‘I cannot be near so disobedient a person,’ and therewith he banished T‘ae-këah to T‘ung. The people were much pleased. When T‘ae-keah became virtuous, he brought him back, and the people were again much pleased. When worthies are ministers, may they indeed banish their rulers in this way when they are not virtuous?” Mencius replied, “If they have the mind of E Yin, they may. If they have not that mind, it would be usurpation.”3

Edition: current; Page: [46]

His grand device, however, is what he calls “the minister of Heaven.” When the sovereign has become worthless and useless, his hope is that Heaven will raise up some one for the help of the people;—some one who shall so occupy in his original subordinate position as to draw all eyes and hearts to himself.1 Let him then raise the standard, not of rebellion but of righteousness,2 and he cannot help attaining to the highest dignity. So it was with the great T‘ang; so it was with the kings Wăn and Woo. Of the last Mencius says:—“There was one man”—i.e., the tyrant Chow—“pursuing a violent and disorderly course in the land, and king Woo was ashamed of it. By one display of his anger, he gave repose to all the people.”3 He would have been glad if any one of the princes of his own time had been able to vault in a similar way to the royal throne, and he went about counselling them to the attempt. “Let your Majesty,” said be to king Seuen, “in like manner, by one burst of anger, give repose to all the people of the empire.” This was in fact advising to rebellion, but the philosopher would have recked little of such a charge. The House of Chow had forfeited in his view its title to the kingdom. Alas! among all the princes he had to do with, he did not find one who could be stirred to so honourable an action.

We need not wonder that Mencius, putting forth the above views so boldly and broadly, should not be a favourite with the rulers of China. His sentiments, professed by the literati, and known and read by all the people, have operated powerfully to compel the good behaviour of “the powers that be.” It may be said that they encourage the aims of selfish ambition, and the lawlessness of the licentious mob. I grant it. They are lessons for the virtuous, and not for the lawless and disobedient, but the government of China would have been more of a grinding despotism, if it had not been for them.

On the readiness of the people to be governed Mencius only differs from Confucius in the more vehement style in which he expresses his views.The influence of personal character in a ruler. He does not dwell so much on the influence of personal virtue, and I pointed out, in the sketch of his Life, how he Edition: current; Page: [47] all but compromised his character in his communications with king Seuen, telling him that his love of women, of war, and of money might be so regulated as not to interfere with his exercise of true royal government. Still he speaks at tunes correctly and emphatically on this subject. He quotes Confucius’ language on the influence generally of superiors on inferiors,—that “the relation between them is like that between the wind and grass; the grass must bend when the wind blows upon it;”1 and he says himself:—“It is not enough to remonstrate with a ruler on account of the malemployment of ministers, nor to blame errors of government. It is only the great man who can correct what is wrong in the ruler’s mind. Let the ruler be benevolent, and all his acts will be benevolent. Let the ruler be righteous, and all his acts will be righteous. Let the ruler be correct, and all his acts will be correct. Once rectify the ruler, and the State will be firmly settled.”2

But the misery which he saw around him, in consequence of the prevailing anarchy and constant wars between State and State, led Mencius to insist on the necessity of what he called “a benevolent government.” The king Seang asked him, “Who can unite all under the sky under one sway?”Benevolent government, and its effects. and his reply was, “He who has no pleasure in killing men can so unite it.”3 His being so possessed with the sad condition of his time likewise gave occasion, we may suppose, to the utterance of another sentiment, sufficiently remarkable. “Never,” said he, “has he who would by his excellence subdue men, been able to subdue them. Let a ruler seek by his excellence to nourish men, and he will be able to subdue all under heaven. It is impossible that any one should attain to the true royal sway to whom the hearts of all under heaven are not subject.”4 The highest style of excellence will of course have its outgoings in benevolence. Apart from that, it will be powerless, as Mencius says. His words are akin to those of Paul:—“Scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.”

On the effects of a benevolent rule he says:—

“Keeh and Chow’s losing the kingdom arose from their losing the people: and to lose the people means to lose their hearts. There is a way to get the Edition: current; Page: [48] kingdom:—get the people, and the kingdom is got. There is a way to get the people:—get their hearts, and the people are got. There is a way to get their hearts:—it is simply to collect for them what they desire, and not to lay on them what they dislike. The people turn to a benevolent rule as water flows downwards, and as wild beasts run to the wilds. As the otter aids the deep waters, driving the fish into them, and as the hawk aids the thickets, driving the little birds to them, so Këeh and Chow aided T‘ang and Woo, driving the people to them. If among the present rulers throughout the kingdom there were one who loved benevolence, all the other rulers would aid him by driving the people to him. Although he wished not to exercise the royal sway, he could not avoid doing so.”

1 Two principal elements of this benevolent rule, much insisted on by Mencius, deserve to be made prominent. They are to be found indicated in the Analects, and in the older classics also, but it was reserved for our philosopher to set them forth, sharply defined in his own style, and to show the connexion between them. They are:—that the people be made well off, and that they be educated;To make the people prosperous, and to educate them, are important elements in a benevolent rule. and the former is necessary in order to the efficiency of the other.

Once, when Confucius was passing through Wei in company with Yen Yew, he was struck with the populousness of the State. The disciple said, “Since the people are thus numerous, what more shall be done for them?” Confucius answered, “Enrich them.” “And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done for them?” The reply was—“Teach them.”2 This brief conversation contains the germs of the ideas on which Mencius delighted to dwell.

We read in one place:—

“Let it be seen to that their fields of grain and hemp are well cultivated, and make the taxes on them light:—so the people may be made rich.

“Let it be seen to that they use their resources of food seasonably, and expend them only on the prescribed ceremonies:—so they will be more than can be consumed.

“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 man who will not give them, such is the great abundance of them. A sage would govern the kingdom so as cause pulse and grain to be as abundant as water and fire. When pulse and grain are as abundant as water and fire, how shall there be among the people any that are not virtuous?”3

Again he says:—

“In good years the children of the people are most of them good, and in bad years they are most of them evil.”4

Edition: current; Page: [49]

It is in his conversations, however, with king Seuen of Ts‘e and duke Wăn of T‘ăng, that we find the fullest exposition of the points in hand.

“They are only men of education who, without a certain livelihood, are able to maintain a fixed heart. As to the people, if they have not a certain livelihood, it follows that they will not have a fixed heart. And if they have not a fixed heart, there is nothing which they will not do in the way of self-abandonment, of moral deflection, of depravity, and of wild license. When they have thus been involved in crime, to follow them up and punish them:—this is to entrap the people. Therefore an intelligent ruler will regulate the livelihood of the people, so as to make sure that, above, they shall have sufficient wherewith to serve their parents, and, below, sufficient wherewith to support their wives and children; that in good years they shall always be abundantly satisfied, and that in bad years they shall escape the danger of perishing. After this he may urge them, and they will proceed to what is good, for in this case the people will follow after that with readiness.”1

It is not necessary to remark here on the measures which Mencius recommends in order to secure a certain livelihood for the people. They embrace the regulation both of agriculture and commerce.2 And education should be directed simply to illustrate the human relations.3 What he says on these subjects is not without shrewdness, though many of his recommendations are inappropriate to the present state of society in China itself as well as in other countries. But his principle, that good government should contemplate and will be seen in the material well-being of the people, is worthy of all honour. Whether government should interfere to secure the education of the people is questioned by not a few. The religious denomination to which I have the honour to belong has distinguished itself by opposing such a doctrine in England,—more zealously perhaps than wisely.4 But when Mencius teaches that with the mass of men education will have little success where the life is embittered by a miserable poverty, he shows himself well acquainted with human nature. Educationists now seem generally to recognize it, but I think it is only within a century that it has assumed in Europe the definiteness and importance with which it appeared to Mencius here in China two thousand years ago.

Edition: current; Page: [50]

We saw how Mencius, when he was residing in T‘ăng, came into contact with a class of enthusiasts, who advocated a return to the primitive state of society,

“When Adam delved and Eve span.”

They said that wise and able princes should cultivate the ground equally and along with their people, and eat the fruit of their labour,—that “to have granaries, arsenals, and treasuries was an oppressing of the people.”Necessity for a division of labour, and that government be conducted by a lettered class. Mencius exposed these errors very happily, showing the necessity to society of a division of labour, and that the conduct of government should be in the hands of a lettered class.

“I suppose,” he said to a follower of the strange doctrines, “that Heu Hing sows grain and eats the produce. Is it not so?” “It is so,” was the answer. “I suppose that he also weaves cloth, and wears his own manufacture. Is it not so?” “No; Heu wears clothes of haircloth.” “Does he wear a cap?” “He wears a cap.” “What kind of cap?” “A plain cap.” “Is it woven by himself?” “No; he gets it in exchange for grain.” “Why does Heu not weave it himself?” “That would injure his husbandry.” “Does Heu cook his food in boilers and earthen-ware pans, and does he plough with an iron share?” “Yes.” “Does he make those articles himself?” “No; he gets them in exchange for grain.” On these admissions Mencius proceeds:—“The getting those various articles in exchange for grain is not oppressive to the potter and the founder, and the potter and the founder in their turn, in exchanging their various articles for grain, are not oppressive to the husbandman. How should such a thing be supposed? But why does not Heu, [on his principles,] act the potter and founder, supplying himself with the articles which he uses solely from his own establishment? Why does he go confusedly dealing and exchanging with the handicraftsmen? Why does he not spare himself so much trouble?” His opponent attempted a reply:—“The business of the handicraftsman can by no means be carried on along with the business of husbandry.” Mencius resumed:—“Then, is it the government of the empire which alone can be carried along with the practice of husbandry? Great men have their proper business, and little men have their proper business. Moreover, in the case of any single individual, whatever articles he can require are ready to his hand, being produced by the various handicraftsmen:—if he must first make them for his own use, this way of doing would keep all the people running about upon the roads. Hence there is the saying:—‘Some men labour with their minds, and some with their strength. Those who labour with their minds govern others; those who labour with their strength are governed by others. Those who are governed by others support them; those who govern others are supported by them.’ This is a principle universally recognized.”1

Edition: current; Page: [51]

Sir John Davis has observed that this is exactly Pope’s line,

“And those who think still govern those who toil.”1

Mencius goes on to illustrate it very clearly by referring to the labours of Yaou and Shun. His opponent makes a feeble attempt at the end to say a word in favour of the new doctrines he had embraced:—

“If Heu’s doctrines were followed there would not be two prices in the market, nor any deceit in the kingdom. If a boy were sent to the market, no one would impose on him; linen and silk of the same length would be of the same price. So it would be with bundles of hemp and silk, being of the same weight: with the different kinds of grain, being the same in quantity; and with shoes which were the same in size.” Mencius meets this with a decisive reply:—“It is the nature of things to be of unequal quality; some are twice, some five times, some ten times, some a hundred times, some a thousand times, some ten thousand times as valuable as others. If you reduce them all to the same standard, that must throw the empire into confusion. If large shoes were of the same price with small shoes, who would make them? For people to follow the doctrines of Heu would be for them to lead one another on to practise deceit. How can they avail for the government of a State?”

There is only one other subject which I shall here notice, with Mencius’ opinions upon it,—the position namely, which he occupied himself with reference to the princes of his time.Mencius’ position as “a Teacher.” He calls it that of “a Teacher,” but that term in our language very inadequately represents it. He wished to meet with some ruler who would look to him as “guide, philosopher, and friend,” regulating himself by his counsels, and thereafter committing to him the entire administration of his government. Such men, he insisted, there had been in China from the earliest ages. Shun had been such to Yaou; Yu and Kaou Yaou had been such to Shun; E Yin had been such to T‘ang; T‘ae-kung Wang had been such to king Wăn; Chow-kung had been such to the kings Woo and Shing; Confucius might have been such to any prince who knew his merit; Tsze-sze was such, in a degree, to the dukes Hwuy of Pe and Muh of Loo.2 The wandering scholars of his own day, who went from court to court, sometimes with good intentions and sometimes with bad, pretended to this character; but Mencius Edition: current; Page: [52] held them in abhorrence. They disgraced the character and prostituted it, and he stood forth as its vindicator and true exemplifier.

Never did Christian priest lift up his mitred front, or show his shaven crown, or wear his Geneva gown, more loftily in courts and palaces than Mencius, the Teacher, demeaned himself. We have seen what struggles sometimes arose between him and the princes who would fain have had him bend to their power and place.

“Those,” said he, “who give counsel to the great should despise them, and not look at their pomp and display. Halls several fathoms high, with beams projecting several cubits:—these, if my wishes were to be realized, I would not have. Food spread before me over ten cubits square, and attendant girls to the amount of hundreds:—these, though my wishes were realized, I would not have. Pleasure and wine, and the dash of hunting, with thousands of chariots following after me:—these, though my wishes were realized, 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?”1

Before we bring a charge of pride against Mencius on account of this language and his conduct in accordance with it, we must bear in mind that the literati in China do in reality occupy the place of priests and ministers in Christian kingdoms. Sovereign and people have to seek the law at their lips. The ground on which they stand,—“the rules of the ancients,”—affords but poor footing compared with the Word of God; still it is to them the truth, the unalterable law of life and duty, and, as the expounders of it, they have to maintain a dignity which will not compromise its claims. That “scholars are the first and head of the four classes of the people,” is a maxim universally admitted. I do desiderate in Mencius any approach to humility of soul, but I would not draw my illustrations of the defect from the boldness of his speech and deportment as “a Teacher.”

The charge against him of living on the princes. But in one respect I am not sure but that our philosopher failed to act worthy of the character which he thus assumed. The great men to whom he was in the habit of referring as his patterns nearly all rose from deep poverty to their subsequent eminence.

Edition: current; Page: [53]

“Shun rose to the Empire from among the channeled fields; Foo Yueh was called to office from the midst of his building-frames: Kaou Kih from his fish and salt”1 “E Yin was a farmer in Sin. When T‘ang sent persons with presents of silk, to entreat him to enter his service, he said, with an air of indifference and self-satisfaction, ‘What can I do with those silks with which T‘ang invites me? Is it not best for me to abide in the channeled fields, and there delight myself with the principles of Yaou and Shun?’ ”2

It does not appear that any of those worthies accepted favours while they were not in office, or from men whom they disapproved. With Mencius it was very different: he took largely from the princes whom he lectured and denounced. Possibly he might plead in justification the example of Confucius, but he carried the practice to a greater extent than that sage had ever done,—to an extent which staggered even his own disciples and elicited their frequent inquiries. For instance:—

P‘ang Kăng asked him, saying, “Is it not an extravagant procedure to go from one prince to another and live upon them, followed by several tens of carriages, and attended by several hundred men?” Mencius replied, “If there be not a proper ground for taking it, a single bamboo-cup of rice may not be received from a man. If there be such a proper ground, then Shun’s receiving the empire from Yaou is not to be considered excessive. Do you think it was excessive?” “No,” said the other, “but for a scholar performing no service to receive his support notwithstanding is improper.” Mencius answered, “If you do not have an intercommunication of the productions of labour, and an interchange of men’s services, so that one from his overplus may supply the deficiency of another, then husbandmen will have a superfluity of grain, and women will have a superfluity of cloth. If you have such an interchange, carpenters and carriage-wrights may all get their food from you. Here now is a man who, at home, is filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders, and who watches over the principles of the ancient kings, awaiting the rise of future learners;—and yet you will refuse to support him. How is it that you give honour to the carpenter and carriage-wright, and slight him who practises benevolence and righteousness?” P‘ang Kăng said, “The aim of the carpenter and carriage-wright is by their trades to seek for a living. Is it also the aim of the superior man in his practice of principles to seek for a living?” “What have you to do,” returned Mencius, “with his purpose? He is of service to you. He deserves to be supported, and should be supported. And let me ask—Do you remunerate a man’s intention, or do you remunerate his service?” To this Kăng replied, “I remunerate his intention.” Mencius said, “There is a man here who breaks your tiles and draws unsightly figures on your walls;—his purpose may be thereby to seek for his living, but will you indeed remunerate him?” “No,” said Kăng; and Mencius then concluded: “That being the case, it is not the purpose which you remunerate, but the work done.”3

Edition: current; Page: [54]

The ingenuity of Mencius in the above conversation will not be questioned. The position from which he starts in his defence, that society is based on a division of labour and an interchange of services, is sound, and he fairly hits and overthrows his disciples on the point that we remunerate a man not for his aim but for his work done. But he does not quite meet the charge against himself. This will better appear from another brief conversation with Kung-sun Ch‘ow on the same subject.

“It is said, in the Book of Poetry,” observed Chow,

  • “ ‘He will not eat the bread of idleness’

How is it that we see superior men eating without labouring?” Mencius replied, “When a superior man resides in a country, if the sovereign employ his counsels, he comes to tranquillity, wealth, honour, and glory; if the young in it follow his instructions, 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?”1

The argument here is based on the supposition that the superior man has free course, is appreciated by the sovereign, and venerated and obeyed by the people. But this never was the case with Mencius. Only once, the short time that he was in T‘ăng, did a ruler listen favourably to his counsels. His lessons, it may be granted, were calculated to be of the greatest benefit to the communities where he was, but it is difficult to see the “work done,” for which he could claim the remuneration. His reasoning might very well be applied to vindicate a government’s extending its patronage to literary men, where it recognized in a general way the advantages to be derived from their pursuits. Still more does it accord with that employed in western nations where ecclesiastical establishments form one of the institutions of a country. The members belonging to them must have their maintenance, independently of the personal character of the rulers. But Mencius’ position was more that of a reformer. His claims were of those of his personal merit. It seems to me that P‘ang Kăng had reason to doubt the propriety of his course, and characterize it as extravagant.

Another disciple, Wan Chang, pressed him very closely with the inconsistency of his taking freely the gifts of the princes on whom he was wont to pass sentence so roundly. Edition: current; Page: [55] Mencius had insisted that, where the donor offered his gift on a ground of reason and in a manner accordant with propriety, even Confucius would have received it.

“Here now,” said Chang, “is one who stops and robs people outside the city-gates. He offers his gift on a ground of reason and in a proper manner;—would it be right to receive it so acquired by robbery?” The philosopher of course said it would not, and the other pursued:—“The rulers of the present day take from their people just as a robber despoils his victim. Yet if they put a good face of propriety on their gifts, the superior man receives them. I venture to ask you to explain this.” Mencius answered:—“Do you think that, if there should arise a truly royal sovereign, he would collect the rulers of the present day and put them all to death? Or would he admonish them, and then, on their not changing their ways, put them to death? Indeed to call every one who takes what does not properly belong to him a robber, is pushing a point of resemblance to the utmost, and insisting on the most refined idea of righteousness.”1

Here again we must admire the ingenuity of Mencius; but it amuses us more than it satisfies. It was very well for him to maintain his dignity as “a Teacher,” and not go to the princes when they called him, but his refusal would have had more weight, if he had kept his hands clean from all their offerings. I have said above that if less awe-ful than Confucius, he is more admirable. Perhaps it would be better to say he is more brilliant. There is some truth in the saying of the scholar Ch‘ing, that the one is the glass that glitters, and the other the gem that is truly valuable.

Without dwelling on other characteristics of Mencius, or culling from him other striking sayings,—of which there are many,—I proceed to exhibit and discuss his doctrine of the goodness of human nature.

6. If the remarks which I have just made on the intercourse of Mencius with the princes of his day have lowered him somewhat in the estimation of my readers, his doctrine of human nature, and the force with which he advocates it, will not fail to produce a high appreciation of him as a moralist and thinker.Mencius’ view of human nature; its identity with that of Bishop Butler. In concluding my exhibition of the opinions of Confucius in the former volume, I have observed that “he threw no light on any of the questions which have a worldwide interest.” This Mencius did. The constitution of man’s nature, and how far it supplies to him a rule of conduct Edition: current; Page: [56] and a law of duty, are inquiries than which there can hardly be any others of more importance. They were largely discussed in the Schools of Greece. A hundred vigorous and acute minds of modern Europe have occupied themselves with them. It will hardly be questioned in England that the palm for clear and just thinking on the subject belongs to Bishop Butler, but it will presently be seen that his views and those of Mencius are, as nearly as possible, identical. There is a difference of nomenclature and a combination of parts, in which the advantage is with the Christian prelate. Felicity of illustration and charm of style belong to the Chinese philosopher. The doctrine in both is the same.

The utterances of Confucius on the subject of our nature were few and brief. The most remarkable is where he says:—“Man is born for uprightness.View of Confucius. If a man be without uprightness and yet live, his escape [from death] is the effect of mere good fortune.”1 This is in entire accordance with Mencius’ view, and as he appeals to the sage in his own support,2 though we cannot elsewhere find the words which he quotes, we may believe that Confucius would have approved of the sentiments of his follower, and frowned on those who have employed some of his sayings in confirmation of other conclusions.3 I am satisfied in my own mind on this point. His repeated enunciation of “the golden rule,” though only in a negative form, is sufficient evidence of it.

The opening sentence of “The Doctrine of the Mean,”—“What Heaven has conferred is called the nature;View of Tsze-sze. an accordance with this nature is called the path; the regulation of the path is called instruction,” finds a much better illustration from Mencius than from Tsze-sze himself. The germ of his doctrine lies in it. We saw reason to discard the notion that he was a pupil of Tsze-sze; but he was acquainted with his treatise just named, and as he has used some other parts of it, we may be surprised that in his discussions on human nature he has made no reference to the above passage.

What gave occasion to his dwelling largely on the theme was the prevalence of wild and injurious speculations about Edition: current; Page: [57] it. In nothing did the disorder of the age more appear. Kung-too, one of his disciples, once went to him and said:—Prevalent view of man’s nature in Mencius’ time.

“The philosopher Kaou says:—‘Man’s nature is neither good nor bad.’ Some say:—‘Man’s nature may be made to practise good, and it may be made to practise evil; and accordingly, under Wăn and Woo, the people loved what was good, while, under Yew and Le, they loved what was cruel.’ Others say:—‘The nature of some is good, and the nature of others is bad. Hence it was that under such a sovereign as Yaou there yet appeared Sëang; that with such a father as Koo-sow there yet appeared Shun; and that with Chow for their sovereign, and the son of their elder brother besides, there were found K‘e, the viscount of Wei, and the prince Pe-kan.’ And now you say:—‘The nature is good.’ Then are all those opinions wrong?”1

“The nature of man is good:”—this was Mencius’ doctrine. By many writers it has been represented as entirely antagonistic to Christianity; and, as thus broadly and briefly enunciated, it sounds startling enough. As fully explained by himself, however, it is not so very terrible. Butler’s scheme has been designated “the system of Zeno baptized into Christ.”2 That of Mencius, identifying closely with the master of the Porch, is yet more susceptible of a similar transformation.

But before endeavouring to make this statement good, it will be well to make some observations on the opinion of the philosopher Kaou.View of the philosopher Kaou. He was a contemporary of Mencius, and they came into argumentative collision. One does not see immediately the difference between his opinion, as stated by Kung-too, and the next. Might not man’s nature, though neither good nor bad, be made to practise the one or the other? Kaou’s view went to deny any essential distinction between good and evil,—virtue and vice. A man might be made to act in a way commonly called virtue and in a way commonly called evil, but in the one action there was really nothing more approvable than in the other. “Life,” he said, “was what was meant by nature.”3 The phenomena of benevolence and righteousness were akin to those of walking and sleeping, eating and seeing. This extravagance afforded scope for Mencius’ favourite mode of argument, the reductio ad absurdum. He showed, on Kaou’s Edition: current; Page: [58] principles, that “the nature of a dog was like the nature of an ox, and the nature of an ox like the nature of a man.”

The two first conversations1 between them are more particularly worthy of attention, because, while they are a confutation of his opponent, they indicate clearly our philosopher’s own theory.Mencius’ exposure of Kaou’s errors, and statement of his own doctrine. Kaou compared man’s nature to a willow tree, and benevolence and righteousness to the cups and bowls that might be fashioned from its wood. Mencius replied that it was not the nature of the willow to produce cups and bowls; they might be made from it indeed, by bending and cutting and otherwise injuring it; but must humanity be done such violence to in order to fashion the virtues from it? Kaou again compared the nature to water whirling round in a corner;—open a passage for it in any direction, and it will flow forth accordingly. “Man’s nature,” said he, “is indifferent to good and evil, just as the water is indifferent to the east and west.” Mencius answered him:—“Water indeed will flow indifferently to the east or west, but will it flow indifferently up or down? The tendency of man’s nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards. There are none but have this tendency to good, just as all water flows downwards. By striking water and causing it to leap up, you may make it go over your forehead, and, by damming and leading it, you may force it up a hill; but are such movements according to the nature of water? It is the force applied which causes them. When men are made to do what is not good, their nature is dealt with in this way.”

Mencius has no stronger language than this, as indeed it would be difficult to find any stronger, to declare his belief in the goodness of human nature. To many Christian readers it proves a stumbling-block and offence. But I venture to think that this is without sufficient reason. He is speaking of our nature in its ideal, and not as it actually is,—as we may ascertain from the study of it that it ought to be, and not as it is made to become. My rendering of the sentences last quoted may be objected to, because of my introduction of the term tendency; but I have Mencius’ express sanction for the representation I give of his meaning. Replying to Kung-too’s question, whether all the other opinions prevalent about man’s nature were wrong, and his own, that it is good, correct, Edition: current; Page: [59] he said:—“From the feelings proper to it, we see that it is constituted for the practice of what is good. This is what I mean in saying that the nature is good. If men do what is not good, the blame cannot be imputed to their natural powers.”1 Those who find the most fault with him, will hardly question the truth of this last declaration. When a man does wrong, whose is the blame,—the sin? He might be glad to roll the guilt on his Maker, or upon his nature,—which is only an indirect charging of his Maker with it;—but it is his own burden, which he must bear himself.

The proof by which Mencius supports his view of human nature as formed only for virtue is twofold.Proofs that human nature is formed for virtue—First, from its moral constituents. First, he maintains that there are in man a natural principle of benevolence, a natural principle of righteousness, a natural principle of propriety, and a natural principle of apprehending moral truth. “These,” he says, “are not infused into us from without. We are certainly possessed of them; and a different view is simply from want of reflection.”2 In further illustration of this he argued thus:—

“All men have a mind which cannot bear to see the sufferings of others. My meaning may be illustrated thus:—Even now-a-days,” i. e., in these degenerate times, “if men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they will without exception experience a feeling of alarm and distress. They will feel so, not as a ground on which they may gain the favour of the child’s parents, nor as a ground on which they may seek the praise of their neighbours and friends, nor from a dislike to the reputation of having been unmoved by such a thing. From this case we may see that the feeling of commiseration is essential to man, that the feeling of shame and dislike is essential to man, that the feeling of modesty and complaisance is essential to man, and that the feeling of approval and disapproval is essential to man. These feelings are the principles respectively of benevolence, righteousness, propriety, and the knowledge [of good and evil]. Men have these four principles just as they have their four limbs.”3

Let all this be compared with the language of Butler in his three famous Sermons upon Human Nature. He shows in the first of these:—“First, that there is a natural principle of benevolence in man; secondly, that the several passions and affections, which are distinct both from benevolence and self-love, do in general contribute and lead us to public good as really as to private; and thirdly, that there is a Edition: current; Page: [60] principle of reflection in men, by which they distinguish between, approve and disapprove, their own actions.”1 Is there anything more in this than was apprehended and expressed by Mencius? Butler says in the conclusion of his first discourse that “men follow their nature to a certain degree but not entirely; their actions do not come up to the whole of what their nature leads them to; and they often violate their nature.” This also Mencius declares in his own forceful manner:—“When men having these four principles, yet say of themselves that they cannot develope them, they play the thief with themselves, and he who says of his prince that he cannot develope them, plays the thief with his prince.”2 “Men differ from one another in regard to the principles of their nature;—some as much again as others, some five times as much, and some to an incalculable amount:—it is because they cannot carry out fully their natural powers.”3

So much for the first or preliminary view of human nature insisted on by Mencius, that it contains principles which are disinterested and virtuous. But there wants something more to make good the position that virtue Edition: current; Page: [61] ought to be supreme,Second proof that human nature is formed for virtue:—that it is a constitution, where the higher principles should rule the lower. and that it is for it, in opposition to vice, that our nature is formed. To use some of the “licentious talk” which Butler puts into the mouth of an opponent:—“Virtue and religion require not only that we do good to others, when we are led this way, by benevolence and reflection happening to be stronger than other principles, passions, or appetites; but likewise that the whole character be formed upon thought and reflection; that every action be directed by some determinate rule, some other rule than the strength or prevalence of any principle or passion. What sign is there in our nature (for the inquiry is only about what is to be collected from thence) that this was intended by its Author? Or how does so various and fickle a temper as that of man appear adapted thereto? . . . . As brutes have various instincts, by which they are carried on to the end the Author of their nature intended them for, is not man in the same condition, with this difference only, that to his instincts (i.e., appetites and passions) is added the principle of reflection or conscience? And as brutes act agreeably to their nature in following that principle or particular instinct which for the present is strongest in them; does not man likewise act agreeably to his nature, or obey the law of his creation, by following that principle, be it passion or conscience, which for the present happens to be strongest in him? . . . . . Let every one then quietly follow his nature; as passion, reflection, appetite, the several parts of it, happen to be the strongest; but let not the man of virtue take it upon him to blame the ambitious, the covetous, the dissolute; since these, equally with him, obey and follow their nature.”1

To all this Butler replies by showing that the principle of reflection or conscience is “not to be considered merely as a principle in the heart, which is to have some influence as well as others, but as a faculty, in kind and in nature, supreme over all others, and which bears its own authority of being so;” that the difference between this and the other constituents of human nature is not “a difference in strength or degree,” but “a difference in nature and in kind;” that “it was placed within to be our proper governor; to direct and regulate all under principles, passions Edition: current; Page: [62] and motives of action:—this is its right and office; thus sacred is its authority.” It follows from the view of human nature thus established, that “the inward frame of man is a system or constitution; whose several parts are united, not by a physical principle of individuation, but by the respects they have to each other, the chief of which is the subjection which the appetites, passions, and particular affections have to the one supreme principle of reflection or conscience.”1

Now, the substance of this reasoning is to be found in Mencius. Human nature—the inward frame of man—is with him a system or constitution as much as with Butler. He says, for instance:—

“There is no part of himself which a man does not love; and as he loves all, so he should nourish all. There is not an inch of skin which he does not love, and so there is not an inch of skin which he will not nourish. For examining whether his way of nourishing be good or not, what other rule is there but this, that he determine by reflecting on himself where it should be applied?

“Some parts of the body are noble, and some ignoble; some great and some small. The great must not be injured for the small, nor the noble for the ignoble. He who nourishes the little belonging to him is a little man, and he who nourishes the great is a great man.”2

Again:—

“Those who follow that part of themselves which is great are great men, those who follow that part which is little are little men.”3

The great part of ourselves is the moral elements of our constitution; the lower part is the appetites and passions that centre in self. He says finely:—

“There is a nobility of Heaven, and there is a nobility of man. Benevolence, righteousness, self-consecration, and fidelity, with unwearied joy in the goodness [of these virtues]:—these constitute the nobility of Heaven. To be a duke, a minister, or a great officer;—this constitutes the nobility of man.”4

There is one passage very striking:—

“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.’ Edition: current; Page: [63] [The exercise of] love between father and son, [the observance of] righteousness between ruler and minister, the rules of ceremony between host and guest, the [display of] knowledge in [recognizing] the able and virtuous, and [the fulfilling] the heavenly course by the sage:—these are appointed [by Heaven]. 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].’ ”1

From these paragraphs it is quite clear that what Mencius considered as deserving properly to be called the nature of man, was not that by which he is a creature of appetites and passions, but that by which he is lifted up into the higher circle of intelligence and virtue. By the phrase, “the appointment of Heaven,” most Chinese scholars understand the will of Heaven, limiting in the first case the gratification of the appetites, and in the second the exercise of the virtues. To such limitation Mencius teaches there ought to be a cheerful submission so far as the appetites are concerned, but where the virtues are in question, we are to be striving after them notwithstanding adverse and opposing circumstances. They are our nature, what we were made for, what we have to do. I will refer but to one other specimen of his teaching on this subject. “The will,” he said, using that term for the higher moral nature in activity,—“the will is the leader of the passion-nature. The passion-nature pervades and animates the body. The will is first and chief, and the passion-nature is subordinate to it.”2

My readers can now judge for themselves whether I exaggerated at all in saying that Mencius’ doctrine of human nature was, as nearly as possible, identical with that of Bishop Butler. Sir James Mackintosh has said of the sermons to which I have made reference, and his other cognate discourses, that in them Butler “taught truths more capable of being exactly distinguished from the doctrines of his predecessors, more satisfactorily established by him, more comprehensively applied to particulars, more rationally connected with each other, and therefore more worthy of the name of discovery, than any with which we are acquainted; if we ought not, with some hesitation, to except the first steps of the Grecian philosophers towards a Theory of Morals.”3 It is to be wished that the attention of this Edition: current; Page: [64] great scholar had been called to the writings of our philosopher. Mencius was senior to Zeno, though a portion of their lives synchronized. Butler certainly was not indebted to him for the views which he advocated; but it seems to me that Mencius had left him nothing to discover.

But the question now arises—“Is the view of human nature propounded by Mencius correct?” So far as yet appears, I see not how the question can be answered otherwise than in the affirmative. Man was formed for virtue.The proper use of Mencius’ views thus far considered. Be it that his conduct is very far from being conformed to virtue, that simply fastens on him the shame of guilt. Fallen as he may be,—fallen as I believe and know he is,—his nature still bears its testimony, when properly interrogated, against all unrighteousness. Man, heathen man, a Gentile without the law, is still a law to himself. So the apostle Paul affirms; and to no moral teacher of Greece or Rome can we appeal for so grand an illustration of the averment as we find in Mencius. I would ask those whom his sayings offend, whether it would have been better for his countrymen if he had taught a contrary doctrine, and told them that man’s nature is bad, and that the more they obeyed all its lusts and passions, the more would they be in accordance with it, and the more pursuing the right path? Such a question does not need a reply. The proper use of Mencius’ principles is to reprove the Chinese—and ourselves as well—of the thousand acts of sin of which they and we are guilty, that come within their sweep and under their condemnation.

From the ideal of man to his actualism there is a vast descent. Between what he ought to be and what he is, the contrast is melancholy.How Mencius admitted much actual evil, and how he accounted for itBenevolence,” said our philosopher, “is the characteristic of man.”1 It is “the wide house in which the world should dwell,” while propriety is “the correct position in which the world should ever be found,” and righteousness is “the great path which men should ever be pursuing.”2 In opposition to this, however, hatred, improprieties, unrighteousness, are constant phenomena of human life. We find men hateful and hating one another, quenching the light that is in them, and walking in darkness to perform all deeds of shame. “There is none that doeth Edition: current; Page: [65] good; no, not one.” Mencius would have denied this last sentence, claiming that the sages should be excepted from it; but he is ready enough to admit the fact that men in general do evil and violate the law of their nature. They sacrifice the noble portion of themselves for the gratification of the ignoble; they follow that part which is little, and not that which is great. He can say nothing further in explanation of the fact. He points out indeed the effect of injurious circumstances, and the power of evil example; and he has said several things on these subjects worthy of notice:—

“It is not to be wondered at that the king is not wise! Suppose the case of the most easily growing thing in the world;—if you let it have one day’s genial heat, and then expose it for ten days to cold, it will not be able to grow. It is but seldom that I have an audience of the king, and when I retire, there come all those who act upon him like the cold. Though I succeed in bringing out some buds of goodness, of what avail is it?”1 “In good years the children of the people are most of them good, while in bad years the most of them abandon themselves to evil. It is not owing to their natural powers conferred on them by Heaven that they are thus different:—the abandonment is owing to the circumstances through which they allow their minds to be ensnared and drowned in evil. There now is barley:—let it be sown and covered up; the ground being the same, and the time of sowing likewise the same, it grows rapidly up, and when the full time is come, it is all found to be ripe. Although there may be inequalities [of produce], that is owing to [the difference of] the soil as rich or poor, the unequal nourishment afforded by the rains and dews, and to the different ways in which man has performed his business.”2

The inconsistencies in human conduct did not escape his observation. After showing that there is that in human nature which will sometimes make men part with life sooner than with righteousness, he goes on:—“And yet a man will accept of ten thousand chung without any consideration of propriety and righteousness. What can they add to him? When he takes them, is it not that he may obtain beautiful mansions, that he may secure the services of wives and concubines, or that the poor and needy may be helped by him?” The scalpel is used here with a bold and skilful hand. The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are laid bare, nor does he stop till he has exposed the subtle workings of the delusion that the end may sanctify the means, that evil may be wrought that good may come. He pursues:—“In the former case the offered bounty was Edition: current; Page: [66] not received though it would have saved from death, and now the emolument is taken for the sake of beautiful mansions. The bounty that would have preserved from death was not received, and the emolument is taken to get the services of wives and concubines. The bounty that would have saved from death was not received, and the emolument is taken that one’s poor and needy acquaintance may be helped. Was it then not possible likewise to decline this? This is a case of what is called—‘Losing the proper nature of one’s mind.’ ”1

To the principle implied in the concluding sentences of this quotation Mencius most pertinaciously adheres.Original badness cannot be predicated from actual evil. He will not allow that original badness can be predicated of human nature from any amount of actual wickedness.

“The trees.” said he, “of the Nëw mountain were once beautiful Being situated, however, in the suburbs of [the capital of] a large State, they were hewn down with axes and bills:—and could they retain their beauty? Still, through the growth from the vegetative life day and night, and the nourishing influence of the rain and dew, they were not without buds and sprouts springing forth;—but then came the cattle and goats, and browsed upon them. To these things is owing the bare and stript appearance [of the mountain], and when people see this they think it was never finely wooded. But is this the proper nature of the mountain? And so even of what properly belongs to man:—shall it be said that the mind [of any man] was without benevolence and righteousness? The way in which a man loses his proper goodness of mind is like the way in which those trees were denuded by axes and bills. Hewn down day after day, can the mind retain its excellence? But there is some growth of its life day and night, and in the [calm] air of the morning, just between night and day, the mind feels in a degree the desires and aversions which are proper to humanity; but the feeling is not strong, and then it is fettered and destroyed by what the man does during the day. This fettering takes place again and again; the restorative influence of the night is not sufficient to preserve [the proper goodness of the mind]; and when this proves insufficient for that purpose, the nature becomes not much different from that of the irrational animals, and when people see this, they think that it never had those powers [which I assert]. But does this condition represent the feelings proper to humanity?”2

Up to this point I fail to perceive anything in Mencius’ view of human nature that is contrary to the teachings of our Christian Scriptures, and that may not be employed with advantage by the missionary in preaching the Gospel to the Edition: current; Page: [67] Chinese. It is far from covering what we know to be the whole duty of man, yet it is defective rather than erroneous. Deferring any consideration of this for a brief space, I now inquire whether Mencius, having an ideal of the goodness of human nature, held also that it had been and could be realized? The answer is that he did.The actual perfection of the sages, and possible perfection of all. The actual realization he found in the sages, and he contended that it was within the reach of every individual.

“All things which are the same in kind,” he says, “are like one another;—why should we doubt in regard to man, as if he were a solitary exception to this? The sage and we are the same in kind. The feet, the mouths, the eyes of the sages were not different from those of other people, neither were their minds.”1 “Is it so,” he was once asked, “that all men may be Yaous and Shuns?” and he answered, “It is,” adding by way of explanation:—“To walk slowly, keeping behind his elders, is to perform the part of a younger brother, and to walk quickly and precede his elders is to violate that duty. Now, is it what a man cannot do,—to walk slowly? It is what he does not do. The course of Yaou and Shun was simply that of filial piety and fraternal duty. Do you wear the clothes of Yaou, repeat the words of Yaou, and do the actions of Yaou;—and you will just be a Yaou.”2

Among the sages, however, Mencius made a distinction. Yaou and Shun exceeded all the rest, unless it might be Confucius. Those three never came short of, never went beyond, the law of their nature. The ideal and the actual were in them always one and the same. The others had only attained to perfection by vigorous effort and culture. Twice at least he has told us this. “Yaou and Shun were what they were by nature; T‘ang and Woo were so by returning [to natural virtue].”3 The actual result, however, was the same, and therefore he could hold them all up as models to his countrymen of the style of man that they ought to be and might be. What the compass and square were in the hands of the workman, enabling him to form perfect circles and squares, that the sages, “perfectly exhibiting the human relations,” might be to every earnest individual, enabling him to perfect himself as they were perfect.4

Here we feel that the doctrine of Mencius wants an element which Revelation supplies. He knows nothing of the Edition: current; Page: [68] fact that “by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed” (passed on, extended, διη̑λθεν) “to all men, because all sinned.”Mencius’ doctrine contains no acknowledgement of the universal proneness to evil. His ideal has been realized by sages, and may be realized by all. We have our ideal as well as he; but for the living reality of it we must go back to Adam, as he was made by God in His own image, after His likeness. In him the model is soon shattered, and we do not discover it again, till God’s own Son appears in the world, made in the likeness of sinful flesh, yet without sin. While He died for our transgressions, He left us also an example, that we should walk in His steps; and as we do so, we are carried on to glory and virtue. At the same time we find a law in our members warring against the law in our minds, and bringing us into captivity to sin. However we may strive after our ideal, we do not succeed in reaching it. The more we grow in the knowledge of Christ, and see in Him the glory of humanity in its true estate, the greater do we feel our own distance to be from it, and that of ourselves we cannot attain to it. There is something wrong about us; we need help from without in order to become even what our nature, apart from Revelation, tells us we ought to be.

When Mencius therefore points us to Yaou, Shun, and Confucius, and says that they were perfect, we cannot accept his statement. Understanding that he is speaking of them only in the sphere of human relations, we must yet believe that in many things they came short. One of them, the greatest of the three in Mencius’ estimation, Confucius, again and again confesses so of himself. He was seventy years old, he says, before he could follow what his heart desired without transgressing what was right.1 It might have been possible to convince the sage that he was under a delusion in this important matter even at that advanced age; but what his language allows is sufficient to upset Mencius’ appeal to him. The image of sagely perfection is broken by it. It proves to be but a brilliant and unsubstantial phantasm of our philosopher’s own imagining.

When he insists again, that every individual may become what he fancies that the sages were,—i.e., perfect, living in love, walking in righteousness, observant of propriety, approving whatsoever is good, and disapproving whatever is Edition: current; Page: [69] evil,—he is pushing his doctrine beyond its proper limits; he is making a use of it of which it is not capable. It supplies a law of conduct, and I have set it forth as entitled to our highest admiration for the manner in which it does so; but law only gives the knowledge of what we are required to do:—it does not give the power to do it. We have seen how when it was necessary to explain accurately his statement that the nature of man is good, Mencius defined it as meaning that “it is constituted for the practice of that which is good.” Because it is so constituted, it follows that every man ought to practise what is good. But some disorganization may have happened to the nature; some sad change may have come over it. The very fact that man has, in Mencius’ own words, to recover his “lost mind,”1 shows that the object of the constitution of the nature has not been realized. Whether he can recover it or not, therefore, is a question altogether different from that of its proper design.

In one place, indeed, Mencius has said that “the great man is he who does not lose his child’s-heart.”2 I can only suppose that, by that expression—“the child’s-heart,” he intends the ideal goodness which he affirms of our nature. But to attribute that to the child as actually existing in it is absurd. It has neither done good nor evil. It possesses the capacity for either. It will by and by awake to the consciousness that it ought to follow after the one, and eschew the other; but when it does so,—I should rather say when he does so, for the child has now emerged from a mere creature existence, and assumed the functions of a moral being, he will find that he has already given himself to inordinate affection for the objects of sense; and in the pursuit of gratification he is reckless of what must be acknowledged to be the better and nobler part, reckless also of the interest and claims of others, and whenever thwarted glows into passion and fury. The youth is more pliant than the man in whom the dominion of self-seeking has become ingrained as a habit; but no sooner does he become a subject of law, than he is aware of the fact, that when he would do good, evil is present with him. The boy has to go in search of his “lost heart,” as truly as the man of fourscore. Even in him there is an “old man, corrupt according to the deceitful lusts,” which he has to put off.

Edition: current; Page: [70]

Butler had an immense advantage over Mencius, arising from his knowledge of the truths of Revelation. Many, admiring his sermons, have yet expressed a measure of dissatisfaction, because he does not in them make explicit reference to the condition of man as fallen and depraved.Butler’s advantage over Mencius, and that he does not make the same application of their common principles. That he fully admitted the fact we know. He says elsewhere:—“Mankind are represented in Scripture to be in a state of ruin;” “If mankind are corrupted and depraved in their moral character, and so are unfit for that state which Christ is gone to prepare for his disciples; and if the assistance of God’s Spirit be necessary to renew their nature, in the degree requisite to their being qualified for that state; all which is implied in the express, though figurative declaration, Except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” . . . .1 How is it, then, that there is no mention of this in the sermons? Dissatisfaction, I have said, has been expressed on account of this silence, and it would have taken the form of more pointed utterance, and more decided condemnation, but for the awe of his great name, and the general appreciation of the service he rendered to Christianity in his work on The Analogy of Religion to the Course of Nature. But, in truth, dissatisfaction at all is out of place. Butler wrote his sermons as he wrote his Analogy, in consequence of the peculiar necessity of his times. More particularly against Hobbes, denying all moral sentiments and social affections, and making a regard to personal advantage the only motive of human action, it was his business to prove that man’s nature is of a very different constitution, comprehending disinterested affections, and above all the supreme element of conscience, which, “had it strength as it has right, would govern the world.” He proves this, and so accomplishes his work. He had merely to do with the ideal of humanity. It did not belong to him to dwell on the actual feebleness of man to perform what is good. He might have added a few paragraphs to this effect; but it was not the character of his mind to go beyond the task which he had set himself. What is of importance to be observed here is, that he does not make the application of their common principles which Mencius does. He knows of no perfect men; he does not tell his readers that they have Edition: current; Page: [71] merely to set about following their nature, and, without any aid from without, they will surely and easily go on to perfection.

Mencius is not to be blamed for his ignorance of what is to us the Doctrine of the Fall. He had no means of becoming acquainted with it. We have to regret, however, that his study of human nature produced in him no deep feeling on account of men’s proneness to go astray.Mencius’ lacking in humility and sympathy with human error. He never betrays any consciousness of his own weakness. In this respect he is again inferior to Confucius, and far from being, as I have said of him in another aspect of his character, “more admirable” than he. In the former volume I have shown that we may sometimes recognize in what the sage says of himself the expressions of a genuine humility. He acknowledges that he comes short of what he knows he ought to be. We do not meet with this in Mencius. His merit is that of the speculative thinker. His glance is searching and his penetration deep; but there is wanting that moral sensibility which would draw us to him, in our best moments, as a man of like passions with ourselves. The absence of humility is naturally accompanied with a lack of sympathy. There is a hardness about his teachings. He is the professor, performing an operation in the class-room, amid a throng of pupils who are admiring his science and dexterity, and who forgets in the triumph of his skill the suffering of the patient. The transgressors of their nature are to Mencius the “tyrants of themselves,” or “the self-abandoned.” The utmost stretch of his commiseration is a contemptuous “Alas for them!”1 The radical defect of the orthodox moral school of China, that there only needs a knowledge of duty to insure its performance, is in him exceedingly apparent. Confucius, Tsze-sze, and Mencius most strangely never thought of calling this principle in question. It is always as in the formula of Tsze-sze:—“Given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence; given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity.”

I said above that Mencius’ doctrine of human nature was defective, inasmuch as even his ideal does not cover the whole field of duty. He says very little of what we owe to God. There is no glow of natural piety in his pages.Mencius’ ideal of human nature does not embrace duty to God. Instead of the name God, containing in itself a recognition of the divine personality Edition: current; Page: [72] and supremacy, we hear from him more commonly, as from Confucius, of Heaven. Butler has said:—“By the love of God, I would understand all those regards, all those affections of mind, which are due immediately to Him from such a creature as man, and which rest in Him as their end.”1 Of such affections Mencius knows nothing. In one place he speaks of “delighting in Heaven,”2 but he is speaking, when he does so, of the sovereign who with a great State serves a small one, and the delight is seen in certain condescensions to the weak and unworthy. Never once, where he is treating of the nature of man, does he make mention of any exercise of the mind as due directly to God. The services of religion come in China under the principle of propriety, and are only a cold formalism; but, even here, other things come with Mencius before them. We are told:—“The richest fruit of love is this,—the service of one’s parents; the richest fruit of righteousness is this,—the obeying one’s elder brothers; the richest fruit of wisdom is this,—the knowing those two things, and not departing from them; the richest fruit of propriety is this,—the ordering and adorning those two things.”3 How different is this from the reiterated declaration of the Scriptures, that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom!” The first and great commandment, “Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart and soul and mind and strength,” was never thought of, much less delivered, by any Chinese philosopher or sage. Had Mencius apprehended this, and seen how all our duties to our fellow-men are to be performed as to God, he could not have thought so highly as he did of man’s powers; a suspicion might have grown up that there is a shadow on the light which he has in himself.

This absence of the recognition of man’s highest obligations from Mencius’ ideal of our nature is itself a striking Edition: current; Page: [73] illustration of man’s estrangement from God. His talking of Heaven has combined with the similar practice of his master to prepare the way for the grosser conceptions of the modern literati, who would often seem to deny the divine personality altogether, and substitute for both God and Heaven a mere principle of order or fitness of things. It has done more: it has left the people in the mass to become an easy prey to the idolatrous fooleries of Buddhism. Yea, the unreligiousness of the teachers has helped to deprave still more the religion of the nation, such as it is, and makes its services a miserable pageant of irreverent forms.

It is time to have done with this portion of my theme. It may be thought that I have done Mencius more than justice in the first part of my remarks, and less than justice at the last; but I hope it is not so. A very important use is to be made both of what he succeeds in, and where he fails, in his discoursing upon human nature. His principles may be, and, I conceive, ought to be, turned against himself. They should be pressed to produce the conviction of sin. There is enough in them, if the conscience be but quickened by the Spirit of God, to make the haughtiest scholar cry out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Then may it be said to him with effect, “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world!” Then may Christ, as a new and true exemplar of all that man should be, be displayed, “altogether lovely,” to the trembling mind! Then may a new heart be received from Him, that shall thrill in the acknowledgment of the claims both of men and God, and girding up the loins of the mind, address itself to walk in all His commandments and ordinances blameless! One thing should be plain. In Mencius’ lessons on human duty there is no hope for his countrymen. If they serve as a schoolmaster to bring them to Christ, they will have done their part; but it is from Christ alone that the help of the Chinese can come.

7. Besides giving more explicit expression to the doctrine of the goodness of man’s nature than had been done before him, Mencius has the credit also of calling attention to the nourishment of the passion-nature. It may be questioned whether I translate his language exactly by this phrase. What I render the passion-nature, Julien renders by “vitalis Edition: current; Page: [74] spiritus.” The philosopher says himself that it is difficult to describe what he intends. Attempting such a description, he says:—“This is it:—It is exceedingly great and exceedingly strong. Being nourished by rectitude, and sustaining no injury, it fills up all between heaven and earth. This is it:—It is the mate and assistant of righteousness and reason. Without it man is in a state of starvation. It is produced by the accumulation of righteous deeds; it is not to be taken, as by surprise, by incidental acts of righteousness. If the mind does not feel complacency in the conduct, this is starved.”1 From such predicates we may be sure that it is not anything merely or entirely physical of which he is speaking. “The righteous,” said Solomon, “are bold as a lion.” The Hebrew saying is very much in Mencius’ style. That boldness is the result of the nourishment for which he thought he had a peculiar aptitude. Strong in it and in a knowledge of words, a faculty of discovering the moral aberrations of others from their forms of speech, he was able to boast of possessing “an unperturbed mind;” he could “sit in the centre” of his being, “and enjoy bright day,” whatever clouds and storms gathered around him.

The nourishment, therefore, of “the passion-nature,” “the vital spirit,” or whatever name we choose to give to the subject, is only an effect of general good-doing. This is the practical lesson from all Mencius’ high-sounding words. He has illustrated it amusingly:—

“There was a man of Sung, who was grieved that his growing corn was not longer, and pulled it up. Having done this, he returned home, looking very wearied, and said to his people, ‘I am tired to-day. I have been helping the corn to grow long.’ His son ran to look at it, and found the corn all withered. There are few in the world, who do not assist the corn [of their passion-nature] to grow long. Some consider it of no benefit to them, and let it alone:—they do not weed their corn. Those who assist it to grow long, pull out their corn. What they do is not only of no benefit to the nature, but it also injures it.”2

This portion of Mencius’ teaching need not detain us. He has put a simple truth in a striking way. That is his merit. It hardly seems of sufficient importance to justify the use which has been made of it in vindicating a place for him among the sages of his country.

Edition: current; Page: [75]

8. I said I should end the discussion of Mencius’ opinions by pointing out what I conceive to be his chief defects as a moral and political teacher. His defects, however, in the former respect have been already not lightly touched on. So far as they were the consequence of his ignorance, without the light which Revelation sheds on the whole field of human duty, and the sanctions, which it discloses, of a future state of retribution, I do not advance any charge against his character. That he never indicates any wish to penetrate into futurity, and ascertain what comes after death; that he never indicates any consciousness of human weakness, nor moves his mind Godward, longing for more light:—these are things which exhibit strongly the contrast between the mind of the East and the West. His self-sufficiency is his great fault. To know ourselves is commonly supposed to be an important step to humility; but it is not so with him. He has spoken remarkably about the effects of calamity and difficulties. He says:—“When Heaven is about to confer a great office on a man, it first exercises his mind with suffering, and his sinews and bones with toil; it exposes his body to hunger, and subjects him to extreme poverty; it confounds his undertakings. By all these methods it stimulates his mind, hardens his nature, and supplies his incompetencies.”1 Such have been the effects of Heaven’s exercising some men with calamities; but if the issue has been a fitting for the highest offices, there has been a softening of the nature rather than a hardening of it. Mencius was a stranger to the humbling of the lofty looks of man, and the bowing down his haughtiness, that the Lord alone may be exalted.

His faults as a political teacher are substantially the same as those of Confucius. More than was the case with his sayings of a political character, the utterances of Mencius have reference to the condition and needs of his own age. They were for the time then being, and not for all time. He knew as little as Confucius of any other great and independent nation besides his own; and he has left one maxim which is deeply treasured by the rulers and the people of China at the present day, and feeds the supercilious idea which they are so unwilling to give up of their own superiority to foreigners. “I have heard,” said he, “of men Edition: current; Page: [76] using [the doctrines of] our great land to change barbarians, but I have never yet heard of any being changed by barbarians.” “I have heard of birds leaving dark valleys to remove to lofty trees, but I have not heard of their descending from lofty trees to enter into dark valleys.”1 Mongol and Tartar sway has not broken the charm of this dangerous flattery, because only in warlike energy were the Mongols and Tartars superior to the Chinese, and when they conquered the country they did homage to its sages. During the last four-and-thirty years, Christian Powers have come to ask admission into China, and to claim to be received as her equals. They do not wish to conquer her territory, though they have battered and broken her defences. With fear and trembling their advances are contemplated. The feeling of dislike to them arises from the dread of their power, and suspicion of their faith. It is feared that they come to subdue; it is known that they come to change. The idol of Chinese superiority is about to be broken. Broken it must be ere long, and a new generation of thinkers will arise, to whom Mencius will be a study but not a guide.

Edition: current; Page: [77]

APPENDIX.

I have thought it would be interesting to many readers to append here the Essays of two distinguished scholars of China on the subject of Human Nature. The one is in direct opposition to Mencius’ doctrine; according to the other, his doctrine is insufficient to explain the phenomena. The author of the first, Seun K‘ing, was not much posterior to Mencius. He is mentioned as in office under king Seang of Ts‘e (bc 271-264), and he lived on to the times of the Ts‘in dynasty. His Works which still remain form a considerable volume. The second essay is from the work of Han Yu, mentioned above, Ch. I. Sect. IV. 3. I shall not occupy any space with criticisms on the style or sentiments of the writers. If the translation appear at times to be inelegant or obscure, the fault is perhaps as much in the original as in myself. A comprehensive and able sketch of “The Ethics of the Chinese, with special reference to the Doctrines of Human Nature and Sin,” by the Rev. Griffith John, was read before the North-China Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, in November, 1859, and has been published separately. The essays of Seun and Han are both reviewed in it.

I.: THAT THE NATURE IS EVIL.

The nature of man is evil; the good which it shows is factitious. There belongs to it, even at his birth, the love of gain, and as actions are in accordance with this, contentions and robberies grow up, and self-denial and yielding to Edition: current; Page: [78] others are not to be found; there belong to it envy and dislike, and as actions are in accordance with these, violence and injuries spring up, and self-devotedness and faith are not to be found; there belong to it the desires of the ears and the eyes, leading to the love of sounds and beauty, and as the actions are in accordance with these, lewdness and disorder spring up, and righteousness and propriety, with their various orderly displays, are not to be found. It thus appears, that the following man’s nature and yielding obedience to its feelings will assuredly conduct to contentions and robberies, to the violation of the duties belonging to every one’s lot, and the confounding of all distinctions, till the issue will be in a state of savagism; and that there must be the influence of teachers and laws, and the guidance of propriety and righteousness, from which will spring self-denial, yielding to others, and an observance of the well-ordered regulations of conduct, till the issue will be in a state of good government.—From all this, it is plain that the nature of man is evil; the good which it shows is factitious.

To illustrate.—A crooked stick must be submitted to the pressing-frame, to soften and bend it, and then it becomes straight; a blunt knife must be submitted to the grindstone and whetstone, and then it becomes sharp; so, the nature of man, being evil, must be submitted to teachers and laws, and then it becomes correct; it must be submitted to propriety and righteousness, and then it comes under government. If men were without teachers and laws, their condition would be one of deflection and insecurity, entirely incorrect; if they were without propriety and righteousness, their condition would be one of rebellious disorder, rejecting all government. The sage kings of antiquity understanding that the nature of man was thus evil, in a state of hazardous deflection, and incorrect, rebellious and disorderly, and refusing to be governed, they set up the principles of righteousness and propriety, and framed laws and regulations to straighten and ornament the feelings of that nature and correct them, to tame and change those same feelings and guide them, so that they might all go forth in the way of moral government and in agreement with reason. Now, the man who is transformed by teachers and laws, gathers on himself the ornament of learning, and proceeds in the path of propriety Edition: current; Page: [79] and righteousness, is a superior man; and he who gives the reins to his nature and its feelings, indulges its resentments, and walks contrary to propriety and righteousness, is a mean man. Looking at the subject in this way, we see clearly that the nature of man is evil; the good which it shows is factitious.

Mencius said, “Man has only to learn, and his nature becomes good;” but I reply,—It is not so. To say so shows that he had not attained to the knowledge of man’s nature, nor examined into the difference between what is natural in man and what is factitious. The natural is what the constitution spontaneously moves to:—it needs not to be learned, it needs not to be followed hard after; propriety and righteousness are what the sages have given birth to:—it is by learning that men become capable of them, it is by hard practice that they achieve them. That which is in man, not needing to be learned and striven after, is what I call natural; that in man which is attained to by learning, and achieved by hard striving, is what I call factitious. This is the distinction between those two. By the nature of man, the eyes are capable of seeing, and the ears are capable of hearing. But the power of seeing is inseparable from the eyes, and the power of hearing is inseparable from the ears;—it is plain that the faculties of seeing and hearing do not need to be learned. Mencius says, “The nature of man is good, but all lose and ruin their nature, and therefore it becomes bad;” but I say that this representation is erroneous. Man being born with his nature, when he thereafter departs from its simple constituent elements, he must lose it. From this consideration we may see clearly that man’s nature is evil. What might be called the nature’s being good would be if there were no departing from its simplicity to beautify it, no departing from its elementary dispositions to sharpen it. Suppose that those simple elements no more needed beautifying, and the mind’s thoughts no more needed to be turned to good, than the power of vision which is inseparable from the eyes, and the power of hearing which is inseparable from the ears, need to be learned, [then we might say that the nature is good, just as] we say that the eyes see and the ears hear. It is the nature of man, when hungry, to desire to be filled; when cold, to desire to be warmed; when tired, to desire rest:—these are the feelings Edition: current; Page: [80] and nature of man. But now, a man is hungry, and in the presence of an elder he does not dare to eat before him,—he is yielding to that elder; he is tired with labour, and he does not dare to ask for rest,—he is working for some one. A son’s yielding to his father and a younger brother to his elder, a son’s labouring for his father and a younger brother for his elder,—these two instances of conduct are contrary to the nature and against the feelings; but they are according to the course laid down for a filial son, and the refined distinctions of propriety and righteousness. It appears that if there were an accordance with the feelings and the nature, there would be no self-denial and yielding to others. Self-denial and yielding to others are contrary to the feelings and the nature. In this way we come to see how clear it is that the nature of man is evil; the good which it shows is factitious.

An inquirer will ask, “If man’s nature be evil, whence do propriety and righteousness arise?” I reply,—All propriety and righteousness are the artificial production of the sages, and are not to be considered as growing out of the nature of man. It is just as when a potter makes a vessel from the clay;—the vessel is the product of the workman’s art, and is not be considered as growing out of his nature. Or it is as when another workman cuts and hews a vessel out of wood;—it is the product of his art, and is not to be considered as growing out of his nature. The sages pondered long in thought and gave themselves to practice, and so they succeeded in producing propriety and righteousness, and setting up laws and regulations. Thus it is that propriety and righteousness, laws and regulations, are the artificial product of the sages, and are not to be considered as growing properly from the nature of man.

If we speak of the fondness of the eyes for beauty, or of the mouth for [pleasant] flavours, or of the mind for gain, or of the bones and skin for the enjoyment of ease;—all these grow out of the natural feelings of man. The object is presented and the desire is felt; there needs no effort to produce it. But when the object is presented, and the affection does not move till after hard effort, I say that this effect is factitious. Those cases prove the difference between what is produced by nature and what is produced by art.

Edition: current; Page: [81]

Thus the sages transformed their nature, and commenced their artificial work. Having commenced this work with their nature, they produced propriety and righteousness. When propriety and righteousness were produced, they proceeded to frame laws and regulations. It appears, therefore, that propriety and righteousness, laws and regulations, were given birth to by the sages. Wherein they agree with all other men and do not differ from them, is their nature; wherein they differ from and exceed other men, is this artificial work.

Now to love gain and desire to get;—this is the natural feeling of men. Suppose the case that there is an amount of property or money to be divided among brothers, and let this natural feeling to love gain and desire to get come into play;—why, then the brothers will be opposing, and snatching from one another. But where the changing influence of propriety and righteousness, with their refined distinctions, has taken effect, a man will give up to any other man. Thus it is that if they act in accordance with their natural feelings, brothers will quarrel together; and if they have come under the transforming influence of propriety and righteousness, men will give up to other men, to say nothing of brothers. [Again], the fact that men wish to do what is good, is because their nature is bad. The thin wishes to be thick; the ugly wishes to be beautiful; the narrow wishes to be wide; the poor wish to be rich; the mean wish to be noble:—when anything is not possessed in one’s self, he seeks for it outside himself. But the rich do not wish for wealth; the noble do not wish for position:—when anything is possessed by one’s self, he does not need to go beyond himself for it. When we look at things in this way, we perceive that the fact of men’s wishing to do what is good is because their nature is evil. It is the case, indeed, that man’s nature is without propriety and benevolence:—he therefore studies them with vigorous effort and seeks to have them. It is the case that by nature he does not know propriety and righteousness:—he therefore thinks and reflects and seeks to know them. Speaking of man, therefore, as he is by birth simply, he is without propriety and righteousness, without the knowledge of propriety and righteousness. Without propriety and righteousness, man must be all confusion and disorder; without the knowledge of propriety and righteousness, Edition: current; Page: [82] there must ensue all the manifestations of disorder. Man, as he is born, therefore, has in him nothing but the elements of disorder, passive and active. It is plain from this contemplation of the subject that the nature of man is evil; the good which it shows is factitious.

When Mencius says that “Man’s nature is good,” I affirm that it is not so. In ancient times and now throughout the empire, what is meant by good is a condition of correctness, regulation, and happy government; and what is meant by evil, is a condition of deflection, insecurity, and refusing to be under government:—in this lies the distinction between being good and being evil. And now, if man’s nature be really so correct, regulated, and happily governed in itself, where would be the use for sage kings? where would be the use for propriety and righteousness? Although there were the sage kings, propriety, and righteousness, what could they add to the nature so correct, regulated, and happily ruled in itself? But it is not so; the nature of man is bad. It was on this account, that anciently the sage kings, understanding that man’s nature was bad, in a state of deflection and insecurity instead of being correct, in a state of rebellious disorder instead of one of happy rule, set up therefore the majesty of princes and governors to awe it; and set forth propriety and righteousness to change it; and framed laws and statutes of correctness to rule it; and devised severe punishments to restrain it:—so that its outgoings might be under the dominion of rule, and in accordance with what is good. This is [the true account of] the governance of the sage kings, and the transforming power of propriety and righteousness. Let us suppose a state of things in which there shall be no majesty of princes and governors, no influence of propriety and righteousness, no rule of laws and statutes, no restraints of punishment:—what would be the relations of men with one another, all under heaven? The strong would be injuring the weak, and spoiling them; the many would be tyrannizing over the few, and hooting them; a universal disorder and mutual destruction would speedily ensue. When we look at the subject in this way, we see clearly that the nature of man is evil; the good which it shows is factitious.

He who would speak well of ancient times must have certain references in the present; he who would speak well of Edition: current; Page: [83] Heaven must substantiate what he says out of man. In discourse and argument it is an excellent quality when the divisions which are made can be brought together like the halves of a token. When it is so, the arguer may sit down, and discourse of his principles; and he has only to rise up, and they may be set forth and displayed and carried into action. When Mencius says that the nature of man is good, there is no bringing together in the above manner of his divisions. He sits down and talks, but there is no getting up to display and set forth his principles, and put them in operation:—is not his error very gross? To say that the nature is good does away with the sage kings, and makes an end of propriety and righteousness; to say that the nature is bad exalts the sage kings, and dignifies propriety and righteousness. As the origin of the pressing-boards is to be found in the crooked wood, and the origin of the carpenter’s marking line is to be found in things’ not being straight; so the rise of princes and governors, and the illustration of propriety and righteousness, are to be traced to the badness of the nature. It is clear from this view of the subject that the nature of man is bad; the good which it shows is factitious.

A straight piece of wood does not need the pressing-boards to make it straight;—it is so by its nature. A crooked piece of wood must be submitted to the pressing-boards to soften and straighten it, and then it is straight;—it is not straight by its nature. So it is that the nature of man, being evil, must be submitted to the rule of the sage kings, and to the transforming influence of propriety and righteousness, and then its outgoings are under the dominion of rule, and in accordance with what is good. This shows clearly that the nature of man is bad; the good which it shows is factitious.

An inquirer may say [again], “Propriety and righteousness, though seen in an accumulation of factitious deeds, do yet belong to the nature of man; and thus it was that the sages were able to produce them.” I reply,—It is not so. A potter takes a piece of clay, and produces a dish from it; but are that dish and clay the nature of the potter? A carpenter plies his tools upon a piece of wood, and produces a vessel; but are that vessel and wood the nature of the carpenter? So it is with the sages and propriety and righteousness; they produced Edition: current; Page: [84] them, just as the potter works with the clay. It is plain that there is no reason for saying that propriety and righteousness, and the accumulation of their factitious actions, belong to the proper nature of man. Speaking of the nature of man, it is the same in all,—the same in Yaou and Shun, and in Këeh and in the robber Chih, the same in the superior man and in the mean man. If you say that propriety and righteousness, with the factitious actions accumulated from them, are the nature of man, on what ground do you proceed to ennoble Yaou and Yu, to ennoble [generally] the superior man? The ground on which we ennoble Yaou, Yu, and the superior man, is their ability to change the nature, and to produce factitious conduct. That factitious conduct being produced, out of it there are brought propriety and righteousness. The sages stand indeed in the same relation to propriety and righteousness, and the factitious conduct resulting from them, as the potter does to his clay:—we have a product in either case. This representation makes it clear that propriety and righteousness, with their factitious results, do not properly belong to the nature of man. [On the other hand], that which we consider mean in Keeh, the robber Chih, and the mean man generally, is that they follow their nature, act in accordance with its feelings, and indulge its resentments, till all its outgoings are a greed of gain, contentions, and rapine.—It is plain that the nature of man is bad; the good which it shows is factitious.

Heaven did not make favourites of Tsăng, K‘ëen, and Heaou-ke, and deal unkindly with the rest of men. How then was it that they alone were distinguished by the greatness of their filial deeds, that all which the name of filial piety implies was complete in them? The reason was that they were subject to the restraints of propriety and righteousness.

Heaven did not make favourites of the people of Ts‘e and Loo, and deal unkindly with the people of Ts‘in. How then was it that the latter were not equal to the former in the rich manifestation of the filial piety belonging to the righteousness of the relation between father and son, and the respectful observance of the proprieties belonging to the separate functions of husband and wife? The reason was that the people of Ts‘in followed the feelings of their Edition: current; Page: [85] nature, indulged its resentments, and contemned propriety and righteousness. We are not to suppose that they were different in their nature.

What is the meaning of the saying, that “Any traveller on the road may become like Yu?” I answer,—All that made Yu what he was was his practice of benevolence, righteousness, and his observance of laws and rectitude. But benevolence, righteousness, laws, and rectitude, are all capable of being known and being practised. Moreover, any traveller on the road has the capacity of knowing these, and the ability to practise them:—it is plain that he may become like Yu. If you say that benevolence, righteousness, laws, and rectitude, are not capable of being known and practised, then Yu himself could not have known, could not have practised them. If you will have it that any traveller on the road is really without the capacity of knowing these things, and the ability to practise them, then, in his home, it will not be competent for him to know the righteousness that should rule between father and son, and, abroad, it will not be competent for him to know the rectitude that should rule between ruler and minister. But it is not so. There is no one who travels along the road but may know both that righteousness and that rectitude:—it is plain that the capacity to know and the ability to practise belong to every traveller on the way. Let him, therefore, with his capacity of knowing and ability to practise, take his ground on the knowableness and practicableness of benevolence and righteousness;—and it is clear that he may become like Yu. Yea, let any traveller on the way addict himself to the art of learning with all his heart and the entire bent of his will, thinking, searching, and closely examining;—let him do this day after day, through a long space of time, accumulating what is good, and he will penetrate as far as a spiritual Intelligence, he will become a ternion with Heaven and Earth. It follows that [the characters of] the sages were what any man may reach by accumulation.

It may be said:—“To be sage may thus be reached by accumulation;—why is it that all men cannot accumulate [to this extent?]” I reply,—They may do so, but they cannot be made to do so. The mean man might become a superior man, but he is not willing to be a superior man. The superior Edition: current; Page: [86] man might become a mean man, but he is not willing to be a mean man. It is not that the mean man and the superior man may not become the one the other; their not becoming the one the other is because it is a thing which may be, but cannot be made to be. Any traveller on the road may become like Yu:—the case is so; that any traveller on the road can really become like Yu:—this is not a necessary conclusion. Though any one, however, cannot really become like Yu, that is not contrary at all to the truth that he may become so. One’s feet might travel all over the world, but there never was one who was really able to travel all over the world. There is nothing to prevent the mechanic, the farmer, and the merchant, from practising each the business of the others, but there has never been a case when it has really been done. Looking at the subject in this way, we see that what may be need not really be; and although it shall not really be, that is not contrary to the truth that it might be. It thus appears that the difference is wide between what is really done or not really done, and what may be or may not be. It is plain that these two cases may not become the one the other.

Yaou asked Shun what was the character of the feelings proper to man. Shun replied, “The feelings proper to man are very unlovely; why need you ask about them? When a man has got a wife and children, his filial piety withers away; under the influence of lust and gratified desires, his good faith to his friends withers away; when he is full of dignities and emoluments, his loyalty to his ruler withers away. The natural feelings of man! The natural feelings of man! They are very unlovely. Why need you ask about them? It is only in the case of men of the highest worth that it is not so.”

There is a knowledge characteristic of the sage; a knowledge characteristic of the scholar and superior man; a knowledge characteristic of the mean man; and a knowledge characteristic of the mere servant. In much speech to show his cultivation and maintain consistency, and though he may discuss for a whole day the reasons of a subject, to have a unity pervading the ten thousand changes of discourse;—this is the knowledge of the sage. To speak seldom, and in a brief and sparing manner, and to be orderly in his reasoning, as if its parts were connected with a string;—this is the Edition: current; Page: [87] knowledge of the scholar and superior man. Flattering words and disorderly conduct, with undertakings often followed by regrets;—these mark the knowledge of the mean man. Hasty, officious, smart, and swift, but without consistency; versatile, able, of extensive capabilities, but without use; decisive in discourse, rapid, exact, but the subject unimportant; regardless of right and wrong, taking no account of crooked and straight, to get the victory over others the guiding object:—this is the knowledge of the mere servant.

There is bravery of the highest order; bravery of the middle order; bravery of the lowest order. Boldly to take up his position in the place of the universally acknowledged Mean; boldly to carry into practice his views of the doctrines of the ancient kings; in a high situation, not to defer to a bad ruler, and, in a low situation, not to follow the current of a bad people; to consider that there is no poverty where there is virtue, and no wealth where virtue is not; when appreciated by the world, to desire to share in all men’s joys and sorrows; when unknown by the world, to stand up grandly alone between heaven and earth, and have no fears:—this is the bravery of the highest order. To be reverently observant of propriety, and sober-minded; to attach importance to adherence to fidelity, and set little store by material wealth; to have the boldness to push forward men of worth and exalt them, to hold back undeserving men, and get them deposed;—this is the bravery of the middle order. To be devoid of self-respect and set a great value on wealth; to feel complacent in calamity, and always have plenty to say for himself; saving himself in any way without regard to right and wrong; whatever be the real state of a case, making it his object to get the victory over others:—this is the bravery of the lowest order.

The fan-joh, the keu, and the shoo were the best bows of antiquity; but without their regulators, they could not adjust themselves. The tsung of duke Hwan, the keueh of T‘aekung, the luh of king Wăn, the hwuh of prince Chwang, the kan-tseang, moh-yay keu-keueh, and p‘eih-leu of Hoh-leu:—these were the best swords of antiquity; but without the grindstone and whetstone, they would not have been sharp; without the strength of the arms that wielded them, they would not have cut anything.

The hwa, the lew, the le, the k‘e, the sėen, the lei, the luh, Edition: current; Page: [88] and the urh:—these were the best horses of antiquity; but there were still necessary for them the restraints in front of bit and bridle, the stimulants behind of cane and whip, and the management of a Tsaou-foo, and then they could accomplish a thousand le in one day.

So it is with man:—granted to him an excellent capacity of nature and the faculty of intellect, he must still seek for good teachers under whom to place himself, and make choice of friends with whom he may be intimate. Having got good masters and placed himself under them, what he will hear will be the doctrines of Yaou, Shun, Yu, and T‘ang; having got good friends and become intimate with them, what he will see will be deeds of self-consecration, fidelity, reverence, and complaisance:—he will go on from day to day to benevolence and righteousness, without being conscious of it; a natural following of them will make him do so. On the other hand, if he live with bad men, what he will hear will be the language of deceit, calumny, imposture, and hypocrisy; what he will see will be the conduct of filthiness, insolence, lewdness, corruptness, and greed:—he will be going on from day to day to punishment and disgrace, without being conscious of it; a natural following of them will make him do so.

The Record says, “If you do not know your son, look at his friends; if you do not know your ruler, look at his confidants.” All is the influence of association! All is the influence of association!

II.: AN EXAMINATION OF THE NATURE OF MAN.

The nature dates from the date of the life; the feelings date from contact with external things. There are three grades of the nature, and it has five characteristics. There are also three grades of the feelings, and they have seven characteristics. To explain myself:—The three grades of the nature are—the Superior, the Middle, and the Inferior. The superior grade is good, and good only; the middle grade Edition: current; Page: [89] is capable of being led: it may rise to the superior, or sink to the inferior; the inferior is evil, and evil only. The five characteristics of the nature are—Benevolence, Righteousness, Propriety, Sincerity, and Knowledge. In the Superior Grade, the first of these characteristics is supreme, and the other four are practised. In the Middle Grade, the first of these characteristics is not wanting: it exists, but with a little tendency to its opposite; the other four are in an ill-assorted state. In the Inferior Grade there is the opposite of the first characteristic, and constant rebelliousness against the other four. The grade of the nature regulates the manifestation of the feelings in it. [Again]:—The three grades of the feelings are the Superior, the Middle, and the Inferior; and their seven characteristics are—Joy, Anger, Sorrow, Fear, Love, Hatred, and Desire. In the Superior Grade, these seven all move, and each in its due place and degree. In the Middle Grade, some of the characteristics are in excess, and some in defect; but there is a seeking to give them their due place and degree. In the Inferior Grade, whether they are in excess or defect, there is a reckless acting according to the one in immediate predominance. The grade of the feelings regulates the influence of the nature in reference to them.

Speaking of the nature, Mencius said:—“Man’s nature is good;” the philosopher Seun said:—“Man’s nature is bad;” the philosopher Yang said:—“In the nature of man good and evil are mixed together.” Now, to say that the nature, good at first, subsequently becomes bad; or that, bad at first, it subsequently becomes good; or that, mixed at first, it subsequently becomes—it may be good, it may be bad:—in each of these cases only the nature of the middle grade is dealt with, and the superior and inferior grades are neglected. Those philosophers are right about one grade, and wrong about the other two.

When Shuh-yu was born, his mother knew, as soon as she looked at him, that he would fall a victim to his love of bribes. When Yang Sze-go was born, the mother of Shuh-hëang knew, as soon as she heard him cry, that he would cause the destruction of all his kindred. When Yueh-tsëaou was born, Tsze-wăn considered it was a great calamity, knowing that through him the ghosts of the Joh-gaou family would all be famished.—With such cases before Edition: current; Page: [90] us, can it be said that the nature of man (i.e., all men) is good?

When How-tseih was born, his mother had no suffering; and as soon as he began to creep, he displayed all elegance and intelligence. When king Wăn was in his mother’s womb, she experienced no distress; after his birth, those who tended him had no trouble; when he began to learn, his teachers had no vexation:—with such cases before us, can it be said that the nature of man (i.e., all men) is evil?

Choo was the son of Yaou, and Keun the son of Shun; Kwan and Ts‘ae were sons of king Wăn. They were instructed to practise nothing but what was good, and yet they turned out villains. Shun was the son of Koo-sow, and Yu the son of K‘wăn. They were instructed to practise nothing but what was bad, and yet they turned out sages.—With such cases before us, can it be said that in the nature of man (i.e., all men) good and evil are blended together?

Having these things in view, I say that the three philosophers, to whom I have referred, dealt with the middle grade of the nature, and neglected the superior and the inferior, that they were right about the one grade, and wrong about the other two.

It may be asked, “Is it so, then, that the superior and inferior grades of the nature can never be changed?” I reply,—The nature of the superior grade, by application to learning, becomes more intelligent, and the nature of the inferior grade, through awe of power, comes to have few faults. The superior nature, therefore, may be taught, and the inferior nature may be restrained; but the grades have been pronounced by Confucius to be unchangeable.

It may be asked, “How is it that those who now-a-days speak about the nature do so differently from this?” I reply,—Those who now-a-days speak about the nature blend with their other views those of Laou-tsze and Buddhism; and doing so, how could they speak otherwise than differently from me?

Edition: current; Page: [91]

CHAPTER III.: OF YANG CHOO AND MIH TEIH.

SECTION I.: THE OPINIONS OF YANG CHOO.

1.The words of Yang Choo and Mih Teih,” said Mencius, “fill the empire. If you listen to people’s discourses throughout it, you will find that they have adopted the views of the one or of the other. Now, Yang’s principle is—‘Each one for himself,’ which does not acknowledge the claims of the sovereign. Mih’s principle is—‘To love all equally,’ which does not acknowledge the peculiar affection due to a father. To acknowledge neither king nor father is to be in the state of a beast. If their principles are not stopped, and the principles of Confucius set forth, their perverse speakings will delude the people, and stop up the path of benevolence and righteousness.

“I am alarmed by these things, and address myself to the defence of the doctrines of the former sages, and to oppose Yang and Mih. I drive away their licentious expressions, so that such perverse speakers may not be able to show themselves. When sages shall rise up again, they will not change my words.”1

His opposition to Yang and Mih was thus one of the great labours of Mencius’ life, and what he deemed the success of it one of his great achievements. His countrymen generally accede to the justice of his claim; though there have not been wanting some to say—justly, as I think and will endeavour to show in the next section—that Mih need not have incurred from him such heavy censure. For Yang no one has a word to say. His leading principle as stated by Mencius is certainly detestable, and so far as we can judge from the slight accounts of him that are to be gathered from other quarters, he seems to have been about “the least erected spirit,” who ever professed to reason concerning the life and duties of man.

Edition: current; Page: [92]

2. The generally received opinion is that Yang belonged to the period of “The Warring States,” the same era of Chinese history as Mencius. He was named Choo, and styled Tsze-keu. In a note, p. 159 of my larger work, I have supposed that he was of the times of Confucius and Laou-tsze, having then before me a passage of the Taouist philosopher Chwang, in which he gives an account of an interview between Laou-tsze and Yang Choo. That interview, however, must be an invention of Chwang. The natural impression which we receive from all the references of Mencius is that Yang must have been posterior to Confucius, and that his opinions had come into vogue only in the times of our philosopher himself. This view would be placed beyond doubt if we could receive as genuine the chapter on Yang, which is contained in the writings of the philosopher Leeh. And so far we may accept it, as to believe that it gives the sentiments which were attributed to him in the 1st century before our era. The leading principle ascribed to him by Mencius nowhere appears in it in so many words, but the general tenor of his language is entirely in accordance with it. This will appear from the following specimens:—

“Yang Choo said, ‘A hundred years are the extreme limit of longevity; and not one man in a thousand enjoys such a period of life. Suppose the case of one who does so:—infancy borne in the arms, and doting old age, will nearly occupy the half; what is forgotten in sleep, and what is lost in the waking day, will nearly occupy the half; pain and sickness, sorrow and bitterness, losses, anxieties, and fears will nearly occupy the half. There may remain ten years or so; but I reckon that not even in them will be found an hour of smiling self-abandonment, without the shadow of solicitude.—What is the life of man then to be made of? What pleasure is in it?

“ ‘[Is it to be prized] for the pleasure of food and dress? or for the enjoyments of music and beauty? But one cannot be always satisfied with those pleasures; one cannot be always toying with beauty and listening to music. And then there are the restraints of punishments and the stimulants of rewards; the urgings and the repressings of fame and laws:—these make one strive restlessly for the vain praise of an hour, and calculate on the residuary glory after death; they keep him, as with body bent, on the watch Edition: current; Page: [93] against what his ears hear and his eyes see, and attending to the right and the wrong of his conduct and thoughts. In this way he loses the real pleasure of his years, and cannot allow himself for a moment.—In what does he differ from an individual manacled and fettered in an inner prison? The people of high antiquity knew both the shortness of life, and how suddenly and completely it might be closed by death, and therefore they obeyed the movements of their hearts, refusing not what it was natural for them to like, nor seeking to avoid any pleasure that occurred to them. They paid no heed to the incitements of fame; they enjoyed themselves according to their nature; they did not resist the common tendency of all things to self-enjoyment; they cared not to be famous after death. They managed to keep clear of punishment; as to fame and praise, being first or last, long life or short life, these things did not come into their calculations.’ ”

“Yang Choo said, ‘Wherein people differ is the matter of life; wherein they agree is death. While they are alive, we have the distinctions of intelligence and stupidity, honourableness and meanness; when they are dead, we have so much stinking rottenness decaying away:—this is the common lot. Yet intelligence and stupidity, honourableness and meanness, are not in one’s power; neither is that condition of putridity, decay, and utter disappearance. A man’s life is not in his own hands, nor is his death; his intelligence is not his own, nor is his stupidity, nor his honourableness, nor his meanness. All are born and all die;—the intelligent and the stupid, the honourable and the mean. At ten years old some die; at a hundred years old some die. The virtuous and the sage die; the ruffian and the fool also die. Alive, they were Yaou and Shun; dead they were so much rotten bone. Alive they were Këeh and Chow; dead, they were so much rotten bone. Who could know any difference between their rotten bones? While alive, therefore, let us hasten to make the best of life; what leisure have we to be thinking of anything after death?’ ”

“Măng-sun Yang asked Yang-tsze, saying, ‘Here is a man who sets a high value on his life, and takes loving care of his body, hoping that he will not die:—does he do right?’ ‘There is no such thing as not dying,’ was the reply. ‘But if he does so, hoping for long life, is he right?’ Edition: current; Page: [94] Yang-tsze answered, ‘One cannot be assured of long life. Setting value upon life will not preserve it; taking care of the body will not make it greatly better. And, in fact, why should long life be made of? There are the five feelings with their likings and dislikings,—now as in old time; there are the four limbs, now at ease, now in danger,—now as in old time; there are the various experiences of joy and sorrow,—now as in old time; there are the various changes from order to disorder, and from disorder to order,—now as in old time:—all these things I have heard of, and seen, and gone through. A hundred years of them would be more than enough, and shall I wish the pain protracted through a longer life?’ Mang-sun said, ‘If it be so, early death is better than long life. Let a man go to trample on the pointed steel, or throw himself into the caldron or flames, to get what he desires.’ Yang-tsze answered, ‘No. Being once born, take your life as it comes, and endure it, and, seeking to enjoy yourself as you desire, so await the approach of death. When you are about to die, treat the thing with indifference and endure it; and seeking to accomplish your departure, so abandon yourself to annihilation. Both death and life should be treated with indifference; they should both be endured:—why trouble onesself about earliness or lateness in connexion with them?’ ”

“K‘in-tsze asked Yang Choo, saying, ‘If you could benefit the world by parting with one hair of your body, would you do it?’ ‘The world is not to be benefited by a hair,’ replied Yang. The other urged, ‘But suppose it could be, what would you do?’ To this Yang gave no answer, and K‘in went out, and reported what had passed to Măng-sun Yang. Măng-sun said, ‘You do not understand our Master’s mind:—let me explain it to you. If by enduring a slight wound in the flesh, you could get ten thousand pieces of gold, would you endure it?’ ‘I would.’ ‘If by cutting off one of your limbs, you could get a kingdom, would you do it?’ K‘in was silent; and after a little, Măng-sun Yang resumed, ‘To part with a hair is a slighter matter than to receive a wound in the flesh, and that again is a slighter matter than to lose a limb:—that you can discern. But consider:—a hair may be multiplied till it become as important as the piece of flesh, and the piece of flesh may be multiplied till it becomes as important as a limb. A single hair is just one of the ten Edition: current; Page: [95] thousand portions of the body;—why should you make light of it?’ K‘in-tsze replied, ‘I cannot answer you. If I could refer your words to Laou Tan or Kwan Yin, they would say that you were right; but if I could refer my words to the great Yu or Mih Teih, they would say that I was right.’ Măng-sun Yang, on this, turned round, and entered into conversation with his disciples on another subject.”

“Yang Choo said, ‘The empire agrees in considering Shun, Yu, Chow-kung, and Confucius to have been the most admirable of men, and in considering Këeh and Chow to have been the most wicked.

“ ‘Now, Shun had to plough the ground on the south of the Ho, and to play the potter by the Luy lake. His four limbs had not even a temporary rest; for his mouth and belly he could not find pleasant food and warm clothing. No love of his parents rested upon him; no affection of his brothers and sisters. When he was thirty years old, he had not been able to get the permission of his parents to marry. When Yaou at length resigned to him the throne, he was advanced in age; his wisdom was decayed; his son Shang-keun proved without ability; and he had finally to resign the throne to Yu. Sorrowfully came he to his death. Of all mortals never was one whose life was so worn out and empoisoned as his. K‘wăn was required to reduce the deluged land to order; and when his labours were ineffectual, he was put to death on mount Yu, and Yu [his son] had to undertake the task, and serve his enemy. All his energies were spent on his labours with the land; a child was born to him, but he could not foster it; he passed his door without entering; his body became bent and withered; the skin of his hands and feet became thick and callous. When at length Shun resigned to him the throne, he lived in a low, mean house, while his sacrificial apron and cap were elegant. Sorrowfully came he to his death. Of all mortals never was one whose life was so saddened and embittered as his. On the death of king Woo [his son], king Shing was young and weak. Chow-kung had to undertake all the imperial duties. The duke of Shaou was displeased, and evil reports spread through the empire. Chow-kung had to reside three years in the east; he slew his elder brother, and banished his younger; scarcely did he escape with his life. Sorrowfully came he to his death. Of all mortals never was one Edition: current; Page: [96] whose life was so full of hazards and terrors as his. Confucius understood the ways of the ancient emperors and kings. He responded to the invitations of the princes of his time. The tree was cut down over him in Sung; the traces of his footsteps were removed in Wei; he was reduced to extremity in Shang and Chow; he was surrounded in Ch‘in and Ts‘ae; he had to bend to the Head of the Ke family; he was disgraced by Yang Hoo. Sorrowfully came he to his death. Of all mortals never was one whose life was so agitated and hurried as his.

“ ‘Those four sages, during their life, had not a single day’s joy. Since their death they have had a [grand] fame that will last through myriads of ages. But that fame is what no one who cares for what is real would choose. Celebrate them;—they do not know it. Reward them;—they do not know it. Their fame is no more to them than to the trunk of a tree or a clod of earth.

“ ‘[On the other hand], Këeh came into the accumulated wealth of many generations; to him belonged the honour of the imperial seat; his wisdom was enough to enable him to set at defiance all below; his power was enough to shake the empire. He indulged the pleasures to which his eyes and ears prompted him; he carried out whatever it came into his thoughts to do. Brightly came he to his death. Of all mortals never was one whose life was so luxurious and dissipated as his. [Similarly], Chow came into the accumulated wealth of many generations; to him belonged the honour of the royal seat; his power enabled him to do whatever he would; his will was everywhere obeyed; he indulged his feelings in all his palaces; he gave the reins to his lusts through the long night; he never made himself bitter by the thought of propriety and righteousness. Brightly came he to his destruction. Of all mortals never was one whose life was so abandoned as his.

“ ‘These two villains, during their life, had the joy of gratifying their desires. Since their death, they have had the [evil] fame of folly and tyranny. But the reality [of enjoyment] is what no fame can give. Reproach them;—they do not know it. Praise them;—they do not know it. Their [ill]fame is no more to them than to the trunk of a tree, or to a clod of earth.

“ ‘To the four sages all admiration is given; yet were their Edition: current; Page: [97] lives bitter to the end, and their common lot was death. To the two villains all condemnation is given; yet their lives were pleasant to the last, and their common lot was likewise death.’ ”

3. The above passages are sufficient to show the character of Yang Choo’s mind and of his teachings. It would be doing injustice to Epicurus to compare Yang with him, for though the Grecian philosopher made happiness the chief end of human pursuit, he taught also that “we cannot live pleasurably without living virtuously and justly.” The Epicurean system is, indeed, unequal to the capacity, and far below the highest complacencies, of human nature; but it is widely different from the reckless contempt of all which is esteemed good and great that defiles the pages where Yang is made to tell his views.

We are sometimes reminded by him of fragmentary utterance in the Book of Ecclesiastes:—“In much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” “As it happeneth to the fool, so it happeneth even to me; and why was I then more wise? Then I said in my heart, that this also is vanity. For there is no remembrance of the wise more than of the fool for ever; seeing that which now is, in the days to come shall all be forgotten. And how dieth the wise man? As the fool. Therefore I hated life; because the work that is wrought under the sun is grievous to me: for all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” “There is a man whose labour is in wisdom, and in knowledge, and in equity. . . All his days are sorrows, and his travail grief; yea, his heart taketh not rest in the night:—this is also vanity. There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and that he should make his soul enjoy good in his labour.” “That which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence over a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. . . Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better than that a man should rejoice in his own works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him?”

But those thoughts were suggestions of evil from which the Hebrew Preacher recoiled in his own mind; and he put Edition: current; Page: [98] them on record only that he might give their antidote along with them. He vanquished them by his faith in God; and so he ends by saying, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter.—Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Yang Choo has no redeeming qualities. His reasonings contain no elements to counteract the poison that is in them. He never rises to the thought of God. There are, he allows, such ideas as those of propriety and righteousness, but the effect of them is merely to embitter and mar the enjoyment of life. Fame is but a phantom which only the fool will pursue. It is the same with all at death. There their being ends. After that there is but so much putridity and rottenness. With him therefore the conclusion of the whole matter is:—“Let us eat and drink; let us live in pleasure; gratify the ears and eyes; get servants and maidens, music, beauty, wine; when the day is insufficient, carry it on through the night; each one for himself.

Mencius might well say that if such “licentious talk” were not arrested, the path of benevolence and righteousness would be stopped up. If Yang’s principles had been entertained by the nation, every bond of society would have been dissolved. All the foundations of order would have been destroyed. Vice would have become rampant, and virtue would have been named only to be scorned. There would have remained for the entire State only what Yang saw in store for the individual man—“putridity and rottenness.” Doubtless it was owing to Mencius’ opposition that the foul and dangerous current was stayed. He raised up against it the bulwark of human nature formed for virtue. He insisted on benevolence, righteousness, propriety, fidelity, as the noblest attributes of man’s conduct. More was needed, but more he could not supply. If he had had a living faith in God, and had been in possession of His revealed will, the present state of China might have been very different. He was able to warn his countrymen of the gulf into which Yang Choo would have plunged them; but he could direct them in the way of truth and duty only imperfectly. He sent them into the dark cave of their own souls, and back to the vague lessons and imperfect examples of their sages; and China Edition: current; Page: [99] has staggered on, waxing feebler and feebler, to the present time. Her people need to be directed above themselves and beyond the present. When stars shine out to them in heaven and from eternity, the empire will perhaps renew its youth, and go forward from strength to strength.

SECTION II.: THE OPINIONS OF MIH TEIH.

1. Very different from Yang Choo was Mih Teih. They stood at the opposite poles of human thought and sentiment; and we may wonder that Mencius should have offered the same stern opposition to the opinions of each of them. He did well to oppose the doctrine whose watchword was—“Each one for himself;” was it right to denounce, as equally injurious, that which taught that the root of all social evils is to be traced to the want of mutual love?

It is allowed that Mih was a native and officer of the State of Sung; but the time when he lived is a matter of dispute. Sze-ma Ts‘ëen says that some made him to be a contemporary of Confucius, and that others placed him later. He was certainly later than Confucius, to whom he makes many references, not always complimentary, in his writings. In one of his Treatises, moreover, mention is made of Wăn-tsze, an acknowledged disciple of Tsze-hëa, so that he must have been very little anterior to Mencius. This is the impression also which I receive from the references to him in our philosopher.

In Lëw Hin’s third catalogue the Mihist writers form a subdivision. Six of them are mentioned, including Mih himself, to whom 71 p‘ëen, or Books, are attributed. So many were then current under his name; but 18 of them have since been lost. He was an original thinker. He exercised a bolder judgment on things than Confucius or any of his followers. Antiquity was not so sacred to him, and he did not hesitate to condemn the literati—the orthodox—for several of their doctrines and practices.

Edition: current; Page: [100]

Two of his peculiar views are adverted to by Mencius, and vehemently condemned. The one is about the regulation of funerals, where Mih contended that a spare simphcity should be the rule.1 On that I need not dwell. The other is the doctrine of “Universal Love.”2 A lengthy exposition of this remains in the Writings which go by Mih’s name, though it is not from his own pen, but that of a disciple. Such as it is, with all its repetitions, I give a translation of it. My readers will be able, after perusing it, to go on with me to consider the treatment which the doctrine received at the hands of Mencius.

UNIVERSAL LOVE. PART I.

It is the business of the sages to effect the good government of the empire. They must know, therefore, whence disorder and confusion arise, for without this knowledge their object cannot be effected. We may compare them to a physician who undertakes to cure a man’s disease:—he must ascertain whence the disease has arisen, and then he can assail it with effect, while, without such knowledge, his endeavours will be in vain. Why should we except the case of those who have to regulate disorder from this rule? They must know whence it has arisen, and then they can regulate it.

It is the business of the sages to effect the good government of all under heaven. They must examine therefore into the cause of disorder; and when they do so, they will find that it arises from the want of mutual love. When a minister and a son are not filial to their sovereign and their father, this is what is called disorder. A son loves himself, and does not love his father;—he therefore wrongs his father and advantages himself: a younger brother loves himself, and does not love his elder brother;—he therefore Edition: current; Page: [101] wrongs his elder brother, and advantages himself: a minister loves himself, and does not love his sovereign:—he therefore wrongs his sovereign, and advantages himself:—all these are cases of what is called disorder. Though it be the father who is not kind to his son, or the elder brother who is not kind to his younger brother; or the sovereign who is not gracious to his minister:—the case comes equally under the general name of disorder. The father loves himself, and does not love his son;—he therefore wrongs his son, and advantages himself: the elder brother loves himself, and does not love his younger brother;—he therefore wrongs his younger brother, and advantages himself: the sovereign loves himself, and does not love his minister;—he therefore wrongs his minister, and advantages himself. How do these things come to pass? They all arise from the want of mutual love. Take the case of any thief or robber:—it is just the same with it. The thief loves his own house, and does not love his neighbour’s house;—he therefore steals from his neighbour’s house to advantage his own: the robber loves his own person, and does not love his neighbour;—he therefore does violence to his neighbour to advantage himself. How is this? It all arises from the want of mutual love. Come to the case of great officers throwing each other’s families into confusion, and of princes attacking one another’s States:—it is just the same with them. The great officer loves his own family, and does not love his neighbour’s;—he therefore throws his neighbour’s family into disorder to advantage his own: the prince loves his own State, and does not love his neighbour’s;—he therefore attacks his neighbour’s State to advantage his own. All disorder in the empire has the same explanation. When we examine into the cause of it, it is found to be the want of mutual love.

Suppose that universal mutual love prevailed throughout the kingdom;—if men loved others as they love themselves, disliking to exhibit what was unfilial. . . . . .1 And moreover would there be those who were unkind? Looking on their sons, younger brothers, and ministers as themselves, and disliking to exhibit what was unkind . . . . the want of filial duty would disappear. And would there be thieves and robbers? Edition: current; Page: [102] When every man regarded his neighbour’s house as his own, who would be found to steal? When every one regarded his neighbour’s person as his own, who would be found to rob? Thieves and robbers would disappear. And would there be great officers throwing one another’s families into confusion, and princes attacking one another’s States? When officers regarded the families of others as their own, what one would make confusion? When princes regarded other States as their own, what one would begin an attack? Great officers throwing one another’s families into confusion, and princes attacking one another’s States, would disappear.

If, indeed, universal mutual love prevailed throughout the kingdom; one State not attacking another, and one family not throwing another into confusion; thieves and robbers nowhere existing; rulers and ministers, fathers and sons, all being filial and kind:—in such a condition the kingdom would be well governed. On this account, how may sages, whose business it is to effect the good government of the kingdom, do other than prohibit hatred and advise to love? On this account it is affirmed that universal mutual love throughout the kingdom will lead to its happy order, and that mutual hatred leads to confusion. This was what our master, the philosopher Mih, meant, when he said, “We must not but advise to the love of others.”

UNIVERSAL LOVE. PART II.

Our Master, the philosopher Mih, said, “That which benevolent men consider to be incumbent on them as their business, is to stimulate and promote all that will be advantageous to the kingdom, and to take away all that is injurious to it. This is what they consider to be their business.”

And what are the things advantageous to the kingdom, and the things injurious to it? Our Master said, “The mutual attacks of State on State; the mutual usurpations of family on family; the mutual robberies of man on man; the want of kindness on the part of the sovereign and of loyalty on the part of the minister; the want of tenderness and filial duty between father and son:—these, and such as these, are the things injurious to the empire.”

Edition: current; Page: [103]

And from what do we find, on examination, that these injurious things are produced? Is it not from the want of mutual love?

Our Master said, “Yes, they are produced by the want of mutual love. Here is a prince who only knows to love his own State, and does not love his neighbour’s;—he therefore does not shrink from raising all the power of his State to attack his neighbour. Here is the chief of a family who only knows to love it, and does not love his neighbour’s;—he therefore does not shrink from raising all his powers to seize on that other family. Here is a man who only knows to love his own person, and does not love his neighbour’s;—he therefore does not shrink from using all his strength to rob his neighbour. Thus it happens that the princes, not loving one another, have their battle-fields; and the chiefs of families, not loving one another, have their mutual usurpations; and men, not loving one another, have their mutual robberies; and sovereigns and ministers, not loving one another, become unkind and disloyal; and fathers and sons, not loving one another, lose their affection and filial duty; and brothers, not loving one another, contract irreconcileable enmities. Yea, men in general not loving one another, the strong make prey of the weak; the rich do despite to the poor; the noble are insolent to the mean; and the deceitful impose upon the stupid. All the miseries, usurpations, enmities, and hatreds in the world, when traced to their origin, will be found to arise from the want of mutual love. On this account, the benevolent condemn it.”

They may condemn it; but how shall they change it?

Our Master said, “They may change it by universal mutual love, and by the interchange of mutual benefits.”

How will this law of universal mutual love and the interchange of mutual benefits accomplish this?

Our Master said, “[It would lead] to the regarding another kingdom as one’s own; another family as one’s own; another person as one’s own. That being the case, the princes, loving one another, would have no battle-fields; the chiefs of families, loving one another, would attempt no usurpations; men, loving one another, would commit no robberies; rulers and ministers, loving one another, would be gracious and loyal; fathers and sons, loving one another, would be kind and filial; brothers, loving one another, Edition: current; Page: [104] would be harmonious and easily reconciled. Yea, men in general loving one another, the strong would not make prey of the weak; the many would not plunder the few; the rich would not insult the poor; the noble would not be insolent to the mean; and the deceitful would not impose upon the simple. The way in which all the miseries, usurpations, enmities, and hatreds in the world may be made not to arise, is universal mutual love. On this account, the benevolent value and praise it.”

Yes; but the scholars of the empire and superior men say, “True; if there were this universal love, it would be good. It is, however, the most difficult thing in the world.”

Our Master said, “This is because the scholars and superior men simply do not understand the advantageousness [of the law], and to conduct their reasonings upon that. Take the case of assaulting a city, or of a battle-field, or of the sacrificing one’s life for the sake of fame;—this is felt by the people everywhere to be a difficult thing. Yet, if the sovereign be pleased with it, both officers and people are able to do it:—how much more might they attain to universal mutual love, and the interchange of mutual benefits, which is different from this! When a man loves others, they respond to and love him; when a man benefits others, they respond to and benefit him; when a man injures others, they respond to and injure him: when a man hates others, they respond to and hate him:—what difficulty is there in the matter? It is only that rulers will not carry on the government on this principle, and so officers do not carry it out in their practice.

“Formerly, the duke Wăn of Tsin liked his officers to be badly dressed, and, therefore, they all wore rams’ furs, a leathern swordbelt, and a cap of bleached cotton. Thus attired, they went in to the prince’s levee, and came out and walked through the court. Why did they do this? The sovereign liked it, and therefore the ministers did it. The duke Ling of Ts‘oo liked his officers to have small waists, and, therefore, they all limited themselves to a single meal. They held in their breath in putting on them belts, and had to help themselves up by means of the wall. In the course of a year, they looked black, and as if they would die of starvation. Why did they do this? The Edition: current; Page: [105] sovereign liked it, and, therefore, the ministers were able to do it. Kow-tsëen, the king of Yueh, liked his ministers to be brave, and taught them to be accustomed to be so. At a general assembly of them, he set on fire the ship where they were, and to try them, said, “All the precious things of Yueh are here.” He then with his own hands beat a drum, and urged them on. When they heard the drum thundering, they rushed confusedly about, and trampled in the fire, till more than a hundred of them perished, when he struck the gong, and called them back.

“Now, little food, bad clothes, and the sacrifice of life for the sake of fame,—these are what it is difficult for people to approve of. Yet, when the sovereign was pleased with it, they were all able [in those cases] to bring themselves to them. How much more could they attain to universal mutual love, and the interchange of mutual benefits, which is different from such things! When a man loves others, they respond to and love him; when a man benefits others, they respond to and benefit him; when a man hates others, they respond to and hate him; when a man injures others, they respond to and injure him. It is only that rulers will not carry on their government on this principle, and so, officers do not carry it out in their practice.”

Yes; but now the officers and superior men say, “Granted; the universal practice of mutual love would be good; but it is an impracticable thing. It is like taking up the T‘ae mountain, and leaping with it over the Ho or the Tse.”

Our Master said, “That is not the proper comparison for it. To take up the T‘ae mountain, and leap with it over the Ho or the Tse, may be called an exercise of most extraordinary strength; it is, in fact, what no one, from antiquity to the present time, has ever been able to do. But how widely different from this is the practice of universal mutual love, and the interchange of mutual benefits!

“Anciently, the sage kings practised this. How do we know that they did so? When Yu reduced the empire to order:—in the west he made the western Ho and the Joo-tow, to carry off the waters of K‘eu-sun-wang; in the north, he made the Fang-yuen, the Koo, How-che-te, and the Tow of Foo-t‘o; setting up also the Te-ch‘oo, and chiselling out the Lung-mun, to benefit Yen, Tae, Hoo, Mih, and the Edition: current; Page: [106] people of the western Ho; in the east, he drained the waters to Luh-fang and the marsh of Măng-choo, reducing them to nine channels, to limit the waters of the eastern country, and benefit the people of K‘e-chow; and in the south, he made the Këang, the Han, the Hwae, the Joo, the course of the eastern current, and the five lakes, to benefit King, Ts‘oo, and Yueh, the people of the wild south. These were the doings of Yu; and I am now for practising the [same] universal [mutual love].

“When king Wăn brought the western country to good order, his light spread, like the sun or the moon, over its four quarters. He did not permit great States to insult small ones; he did not permit the multitude to oppress the fatherless and the widow; he did not permit violence and power to take from the husbandmen their millet pannicled millet, dogs, and swine. Heaven, as if constrained, visited king Wăn with blessing. The old and childless were enabled to complete their years; the solitary and brotherless could yet mingle among the living; the young and parentless found those on whom they could depend, and grew up. These were the doings of king Wăn; and I am now for practising the same universal [mutual love].

“King Woo tunneled through the T‘ae mountain. The Record says, ‘There is a way through the mountain, made by me, the descendant of the kings of Chow:—I have accomplished this great work. I have got my virtuous men, and rise up full of reverence for Shang, Hea, and the tribes of the south, the east, and the north. Though he has his multitudes of relatives, they are not equal to my virtuous men. If guilt attach to the people anywhere throughout the empire, it is to be required of me, the One man.’ This describes the doings of king Woo, and I am now for practising the [same] universal mutual love.

“If, now, the rulers of the kingdom truly and sincerely wish all in it to be rich, and dislike any being poor; if they desire its good government, and dislike disorder; they ought to practise universal mutual love, and the interchange of mutual benefits. This was the law of the sage kings; it is the way to effect the good government of the kingdom; it may not but be striven after.”

Edition: current; Page: [107]

UNIVERSAL LOVE. PART III.

Our Master, the philosopher Mih, said, “The business of benevolent men requires that they should strive to stimulate and promote what is advantageous to the empire, and to take away what is injurious to it.”

Speaking, now, of the present time, what are to be accounted the most injurious things to the empire? They are such as the attacking of small States by great ones; the inroads on small families of great ones; the plunder of the weak by the strong; the oppression of the few by the many; the scheming of the crafty against the simple; the insolence of the noble to the mean. To the same class belong the ungraciousness of rulers, and the disloyalty of ministers; the unkindness of fathers, and the want of filial duty on the part of sons. Yea, there is to be added to these the conduct of the mean men, who employ their edged weapons and poisoned stuff, water and fire, to rob and injure one another.

Pushing on the inquiry now, let us ask whence all these injurious things arise. Is it from loving others and advantaging others? It must be answered “No;” and it must likewise be said, “They arise clearly from hating others and doing violence to others.” [If it be further asked] whether those who hate and do violence to others hold the principle of loving all, or that of making distinctions, it must be replied, “They make distinctions.” So then, it is this principle of making distinctions between man and man, which gives rise to all that is most injurious in the empire. On this account we conclude that that principle is wrong.

Our Master said, “He who condemns others must have whereby to change them.” To condemn men, and have no means of changing them, is like saving them from fire by plunging them in water. A man’s language in such a case must be improper. On this account our Master said, “There is the principle of loving all, to change that which makes distinctions.” If, now, we ask, “And how is it that universal Edition: current; Page: [108] love can change [the consequences of] that other principle which makes distinctions?” the answer is, “If princes were as much for the States of others as for their own, what one among them would raise the forces of his State to attack that of another?—he is for that other as much as for himself. If they were for the capitals of others as much as for their own, what one would raise the forces of his capital to attack that of another?—he is for that as much as for his own. If chiefs regarded the families of others as their own, what one would lead the power of his family to throw that of another into confusion?—he is for that other as much as for himself. If, now, States did not attack, nor holders of capitals smite, one another, and if families were guilty of no mutual aggressions, would this be injurious to the empire, or its benefit?” It must be replied, “This would be advantageous to the empire.” Pushing on the inquiry, now, let us ask whence all these benefits arise. Is it from hating others and doing violence to others? It must be answered, “No;” and it must likewise be said, “They arise clearly from loving others and doing good to others.” [If it be further asked] whether those who love others and do good to others hold the principle of making distinctions between man and man, or that of loving all, it must be replied, “They love all.” So then it is this principle of universal mutual love which really gives rise to all that is most beneficial to the empire. On this account we conclude that that principle is right.

Our Master said, a little ago, “The business of benevolent men requires that they should strive to stimulate and promote what is advantageous to the kingdom, and to take away what is injurious to it.” We have now traced the subject up, and found that it is the principle of universal love which produces all that is most beneficial to the kingdom, and the principle of making distinctions which produces all that is injurious to it. On this account what our Master said—“The principle of making distinctions between man and man is wrong, and the principle of universal love is right,” turns out to be correct as the sides of a square.

If, now, we just desire to promote the benefit of the kingdom, and select for that purpose the principle of universal love, then the acute ears and piercing eyes of people will hear and see for one another; and the strong limbs of people will Edition: current; Page: [109] move and be ruled for one another; and men of principle will instruct one another. It will come about that the old, who have neither wife nor children, will get supporters who will enable them to complete their years; and the young and weak, who have no parents, will yet find helpers that shall bring them up. On the contrary, if this principle of universal love is held not to be correct, what benefits will arise from such a view? What can be the reason that the scholars of the empire, whenever they hear of this principle of universal love, go on to condemn it? Plain as the case is, their words in condemnation of this principle do not stop;—they say, “It may be good, but how can it be carried into practice?”

Our Master said, “Supposing that it could not be practised, it seems hard to go on likewise to condemn it. But how can it be good, and yet incapable of being put into practice?”

Let us bring forward two instances to test the matter.—Let any one suppose the case of two individuals, the one of whom shall hold the principle of making distinctions, and the other shall hold the principle of universal love. The former of these will say, “How can I be for the person of my friend as much as for my own person? how can I be for the parents of my friend as much as for my own parents?” Reasoning in this way, he may see his friend hungry, but he will not feed him; cold, but he will not clothe him; sick, but he will not nurse him; dead, but he will not bury him. Such will be the language of the individual holding the principle of distinction, and such will be his conduct. The language of the other, holding the principle of universality, will be different, and also his conduct. He will say, “I have heard that he who wishes to play a lofty part among men, will be for the person of his friend as much as for his own person, and for the parents of his friend as much as for his own parents. It is only thus that he can attain his distinction? Reasoning in this way, when he sees his friend hungry, he will feed him; cold, he will clothe him; sick, he will nurse him; dead, he will bury him. Such will be the language of him who holds the principle of universal love, and such will be his conduct.

The words of the one of these individuals are a condemnation of those of the other, and their conduct is directly Edition: current; Page: [110] contrary. Suppose now that their words are perfectly sincere, and that their conduct will be carried out,—that their words and actions will correspond like the parts of a token, every word being carried into effect; and let us proceed to put the following questions on the case:—Here is a plain in the open country, and an officer, with coat of mail, gorget, and helmet, is about to take part in a battle to be fought in it, where the issue, whether for life or death, cannot be foreknown; or here is an officer about to be despatched on a distant commission from Pa to Yueh, or from Ts‘e to King, where the issue of the journey, going and coming, is quite uncertain:—on either of these suppositions, to whom will the officer entrust the charge of his house, the support of his parents, and the care of his wife and children?—to one who holds the principle of universal love? or to one who holds that which makes distinctions? I apprehend there is no one under heaven, man or woman, however stupid, though he may condemn the principle of universal love, but would at such a time make one who holds it the subject of his trust. This is in words to condemn the principle, and when there is occasion to choose between it and the opposite, to approve it;—words and conduct are here in contradiction. I do not know how it is, that, throughout the empire, scholars condemn the principle of universal love, whenever they hear it.

Plain as the case is, their words in condemnation of it do not cease, but they say, “This principle may suffice perhaps to guide in the choice of an officer, but it will not guide in the choice of a sovereign.”

Let us test this by taking two illustrations:—Let any one suppose the case of two sovereigns, the one of whom shall hold the principle of mutual love, and the other shall hold the principle which makes distinctions. In this case, the latter of them will say, “How can I be as much for the persons of all my people as for my own? This is much opposed to human feelings. The life of man upon the earth is but a very brief space; it may be compared to the rapid movement of a team of horses whirling past any particular spot.” Reasoning in this way, he may see his people hungry, but he will not feed them; cold, but he will not clothe them; sick, but he will not nurse them; dead, but he will not bury them. Such will be the language of the sovereign who holds the principle of distinctions, and such will be his conduct. Edition: current; Page: [111] Different will be the language and conduct of the other who holds the principle of universal love. He will say, “I have heard that he who would show himself a [virtuous and] intelligent sovereign, ought to make his people the first consideration, and think of himself only after them.” Reasoning in this way, when he sees any of the people hungry, he will feed them; cold, he will clothe them; sick, he will nurse them; dead, he will bury them. Such will be the language of the sovereign who holds the principle of universal love, and such his conduct. If we compare the two sovereigns, the words of the one are condemnatory of those of the other, and their actions are opposite. Let us suppose that their words are equally sincere, and that their actions will be made good,—that their words and actions will correspond like the parts of a token, every word being carried into effect; and let us proceed to put the following questions on the case:—Here is a year when a pestilence walks abroad among the people; many of them suffer from cold and famine; multitudes die in the ditches and water-channels. If at such a time they might make an election between the two sovereigns whom we have supposed, which would they prefer? I apprehend there is no one under heaven, however stupid, though he may condemn the principle of universal love, but would at such a time prefer to be under the sovereign who holds it. This is in words to condemn the principle, and, when there is occasion to choose between it and the opposite, to approve it;—words and conduct are here in contradiction. I do not know how it is that throughout the empire scholars condemn the principle of universal love, whenever they hear it.

Plain as the case is, their words in condemnation of it do not cease; but they say, “This universal [mutual love] is benevolent and righteous. That we grant, but how can it be practised? The impracticability of it is like that of taking up the T‘ae mountain, and leaping with it over the Keang or the Ho. We do, indeed, desire this universal love, but it is an impracticable thing!”

Our Master said, “To take up the T‘ae mountain, and leap with it over the Keang or the Ho, is a thing which never has been done, from the highest antiquity to the present time, since men were; but the exercise of mutual love and the interchange of mutual benefits,—this was practised by the ancient sages and six kings.”

Edition: current; Page: [112]

How do you know that the ancient sages and the six kings practised this?

Our Master said, “I was not of the same age and time with them, so that I could myself have heard their voices, or seen their faces; but I know what I say from what they have transmitted to posterity, written on bamboo or cloth, cut in metal or stone, engraven on their vessels.”

It is said in “The Great Declaration,”—“King Wăn was like the sun or like the moon; suddenly did his brightness shine through the four quarters of the western region.”

According to these words, king Wăn exercised the principle of universal love on a vast scale. He is compared to the sun or moon which shines on all, without partial favour to any spot under the heavens;—such was the universal love of king Wăn.” What our Master insisted on was thus exemplified in him.

Again, not only does “The Great Declaration” speak thus;—we find the same thing in “The Declaration of Yu.” Yu said, “Ye multitudes, listen all to my words. It is not only I who dare to say a word in favour of war;—against this stupid prince of Mëaou we must execute the punishment appointed by Heaven. I am therefore leading your hosts, and go before you all to punish the prince of Mëaou.”

Thus Yu punished the prince of Meaou, not to increase his own riches and nobility, nor to obtain happiness and emolument, nor to gratify his ears and eyes;—he did it, seeking to promote what was advantageous to the empire, and to take away what was injurious to it. It appears from this that Yu held the principle of universal love. What our Master insisted on may be found in him.

And not only may Yu thus be appealed to;—we have “The words of T‘ang” to the same effect. T‘ang said, “I, the child Le, presume to use a dark-coloured victim, and announce to Thee, O supreme Heavenly Sovereign.—Now there is a great drought, and it is right I should be held responsible for it. I do not know but that I have offended against the Powers above and below. But the good I dare not keep in obscurity, and the sinner I dare not pardon. The examination of this is with Thy mind, O God. If the people throughout the empire commit offences, it is to be required of me. If I commit offences, it does not concern the people.” From these words we perceive that T‘ang, possessing the Edition: current; Page: [113] dignity of supreme king, and the wealth of the kingdom, yet did not shrink from offering himself as a sacrifice which might be acceptable to God and [other] spiritual Beings.” It appears from this that T‘ang held the principle of universal love. What our Master insisted on was exemplified in T‘ang.

And not only may we appeal in this way to the “Declarations,” “Charges,” and “The Words of T‘ang,”—we find the same thing in “The Poems of Chow.” One of those poems says,

“Wide and long is the Royal way, It is straight as an arrow,
Without deflection, without injustice. It is smooth as a whetstone.
The Royal way is plain and level, The officers tread it;
Without injustice, without deflection. The lower people see it.”

Is not this speaking of the [Royal] way in accordance with our style? Anciently, Wăn and Woo, acting with exact justice and impartiality, rewarded the worthy and punished the oppressive, allowing no favouritism to influence them towards their own relatives. It appears from this that Wăn and Woo held the principle of universal love. What our Master insisted on was exemplified in them.—How is it that the scholars of the empire condemn this universal love, whenever they hear of it? Plain as the case is, the words of those who condemn the principle of universal love do not cease. They say, “It is not advantageous to the entire devotion to parents which is required;—it is injurious to filial piety.” Our Master said, “Let us bring this objection to the test:—A filial son, having [the happiness of] his parents at heart, considers how it is to be secured. Now, does he, so considering, wish men to love and benefit his parents? or does he wish them to hate and injure his parents?” On this view of the question, it must be evident that he wishes men to love and benefit his parents. And what must he himself first do in order to gain this object? If I first address myself to love and benefit men’s parents, will they for that return love and benefit to my parents? or if I first address myself to hate men’s parents, will they for that return love and benefit to my parents? It is clear that I must first address myself to love and benefit men’s parents, and they will return to me love and benefit to my parents. The conclusion is that a filial son has no alternative.—He must address himself in the first place to love and do good to the Edition: current; Page: [114] parents of others. If it be supposed that this is an accidental course, to be followed on emergency by a filial son, and not sufficient to be regarded as a general rule, let us bring it to the test of what we find in the Books of the ancient kings. It is said in the Ta Ya,

“Every word find its answer; He threw me a peach;
Every action its recompense. I returned him a plum.”

These words show that he who loves others will be loved, and that he who hates others will be hated. How is it that the scholars of the empire condemn this principle of universal love, when they hear it?

Is it that they deem it so difficult as to be impracticable? But there have been more difficult things, which yet have been done. [For instance], king Ling of King was fond of small waists. In his time, the officers of King restricted themselves to a handful of rice, till they required a stick to raise themselves, and in walking had to hold themselves up by the wall. Now, it is a difficult thing to restrict one’s-self in food, but they were able to do it, because it would please king Ling.—It needs not more than a generation to change the manners of the people, such is their desire to move after the pattern of their superiors.

[Again], Kow-tseen the king of Yueh, was fond of bravery. He spent three years in training his officers to be brave; and then, not knowing fully whether they were so, he set fire to the ship where they were, and urged them forward by a drum into the flames. They advanced, one rank over the bodies of another, till an immense number perished in the water or the flames; and it was not till he ceased to beat the drum, that they retired. Those officers of Yueh might be pronounced to be full of reverence. To sacrifice one’s life in the flames is a difficult thing, but they were able to do it, because it would please their king.—It needs not more than a generation to change the manners of the people, such is their desire to move after the pattern of their superiors. [Once more], duke Wăn of Tsin was fond of garments of coarse flax. In his time, the officers of Tsin wore wide clothes of that fabric, with rams’ furs, leathern swordbelts, and coarse canvas sandals. Thus attired, they went in to the duke’s levee, and went out and walked through the court. It is a difficult thing to wear such Edition: current; Page: [115] clothes, but they were able to do it, because it would please duke Wăn.—It needs but a generation to change the manners of the people, such is their desire to move after the pattern of their superiors.

Now, little food, a burning ship, and coarse clothes,—these are among the most difficult things to endure; but because the ruler would be pleased with the enduring them, they were able [in those cases] to do it. It needs no more than a generation to change the manners of the people. Why? Because such is their desire to move after the pattern of their superiors. And now, as to universal mutual love, it is an advantageous thing and easily practised,—beyond all calculation. The only reason why it is not practised is, in my opinion, because superiors do not take pleasure in it. If superiors were to take pleasure in it, stimulating men to it by rewards and praise, and awing them from opposition to it by punishments and fines, they would, in my opinion, move to it,—the practice of universal mutual love, and the interchange of mutual benefits,—as fire rises upwards, and as water flows downwards:—nothing would be able to check them. This universal love was the way of the sage kings; it is the principle to secure peace for kings, dukes, and great men; it is the means to secure plenty of food and clothes for the myriads of the people. The best course for the superior man is to well understand the principle of universal love, and exert himself to practise it. It requires the ruler to be gracious, and the minister to be loyal; the father to be kind, and the son to be filial; the elder brother to be friendly, and the younger to be obedient. Therefore the superior man, with whom the chief desire is to see gracious rulers and loyal ministers; kind fathers and filial sons; friendly elder brothers and obedient younger ones, ought to insist on the indispensableness of the practice of universal love. It was the way of the sage kings; it would be the most advantageous thing for the myriads of the people.

2. Notwithstanding the mutilations and corruptions in the text of the preceding Essay, its general scope is clearly discernible, and we obtain from it a sufficient account of Mih’s doctrine on the subject of “Universal Love.” We have now to consider the opposition offered to this doctrine Edition: current; Page: [116] by Mencius. He was not the first, however, to be startled and offended by it. The Essay shows that it was resented as an outrage on the system of orthodox belief during all the lifetime of Mih and his immediate disciples. Men of learning did not cease to be clamorous against it. From the allusions made by Mencius to its prevalence in his days, it would appear that it had overcome much of the hostility which it at first encountered. He stepped forward to do battle with it; and though he had no new arguments to ply, such was the effect of his onset, that “Universal Love” has ever since been considered, save by some eccentric thinkers, as belonging to the Limbo of Chinese Vanity, among other things “abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed.”

We may approach the question conveniently by observing that Mih’s attempts to defend his principle were in several points far from the best that could be made. His references to the examples of Yu, T‘ang, and the kings Wăn and Woo, are of this nature. Those worthies well performed the work of their generation. They punished the oppressor, and delivered the oppressed. Earnest sentiments of justice and benevolence animated their breasts and directed their course. But they never laid down the doctrine of “Universal Love,” as the rule for themselves or others.

When he insists, again, that the people might easily be brought to appreciate and practise his doctrine, if their rulers would only set them the example, he shows the same overweening idea of the influence of superiors, and the same ignorance of human nature, which I have had occasion to point out in both Confucius and Mencius. His references to duke Wăn of Tsin, king Ling of Ts‘oo, and Kow-tsëen of Yueh, and his argument from what they are said to have effected, only move us to smile. And when he teaches that men are to be awed to love one another “by punishments and fines,” we feel that he is not understanding fully what he says nor whereof he affirms.

Still, he has broadly and distinctly laid it down, that if men would only universally love one another, the evils which disturb and embitter human society would disappear. I do not say that he has taught the duty of universal love. His argument is conducted on the ground of expediency. Whether he had in his own mind a truer, nobler foundation Edition: current; Page: [117] for his principle, does not immediately appear. Be that as it may, his doctrine was that men were to be exhorted to love one another,—to love one another as themselves. According to him, “princes should be as much for the States of others as for their own. One prince should be for every other as for himself.” So it ought to be also with the heads of clans, with ministers, with parents, and with men generally.

Here it was that Mencius joined issue with him. He affirmed that “to love all equally did not acknowledge the peculiar affection due to a parent.” It is to be observed that Mih himself nowhere says that his principle was that of loving all equally. His disciples drew this conclusion from it. In the third Book of Mencius’ Works, we find one of them, E Che, contending that the expression in the Shoo-king, about the ancient kings acting towards the people “as if they were watching over an infant,” sounded to him as if love were to be without difference of degree, the manifestation of it simply commencing with our parents. To this Mencius replied conclusively by asking, “Does E really think that a man’s affection for the child of his brother is merely like his affection for the child of his neighbour?” With still more force might he have asked, “Is a man’s affection for his father merely like his affection for the father of his neighbour?” Such a question, and the necessary reply to it, are implied in his condemnation of Mih’s system, as being “without father,” that is, denying the peculiar affection due to a father. If Mih had really maintained that a man’s father was to be no more to him than the father of any other body, or if his system had necessitated such a consequence, Mencius would only have done his duty to his country in denouncing him, and exposing the fallacy of his reasonings. As the case is, he would have done better if he had shown that no such conclusion necessarily flows from the doctrine of Universal Love, or its preceptive form that we are to love our neighbour as ourselves.

Of course it belonged to Mih himself to defend his views from the imputation. But what he has said on the point is not satisfactory. In reply to the charge that his principle was injurious to filial piety, he endeavoured to show, that, by acting on it, a man would best secure the happiness of Edition: current; Page: [118] his parents:—as he addressed himself in the first place to love, and do good to, the parents of others, they would recompense to him the love of, and good-doing to, his parents. It might be so, or it might not. The reply exhibits strikingly in what manner Mih was conducted to the inculcation of “universal love,” and that really it had in his mind no deeper basis than its expediency. This is his weak point; and if Mencius, whose view of the constitution of human nature, and the obligation of the virtues, apart from all consideration of consequences, was more comprehensive and correct than that of Mih, had founded his opposition on this ground, we could in a measure have sympathized with him. But while Mih appeared to lose sight of the other sentiments of the human mind too much, in his exclusive contemplation of the power of love, he did not doubt but his principle would make sons more filial, and ministers more devoted, and subjects more loyal. The passage which I have just referred to, moreover, does not contain the admission that the love was to be without any difference of degree. The fact is, that he hardly seems to have realized the objection with which Mencius afterwards pressed the advocacy of his principle by his followers. If he did do so, he blinked the difficulty, not seeing his way to give a full and precise reply to it.

This seems to be the exact state of the case between the two philosophers.—Mih stumbled on a truth, which, based on a right foundation, is one of the noblest that can animate the human breast, and affords the surest remedy for the ills of society. There is that in it, however, which is startling, and liable to misrepresentation and abuse. Mencius saw the difficulty attaching to it, and unable to sympathize with the generosity of it, set himself to meet it with a most vehement opposition. Nothing, certainly, could be more absurd than his classing Yang Choo and Mih Teih together, as equally the enemies of benevolence and righteousness. When he tries to ridicule Mih, and talks contemptuously about him, how, if he could have benefited the kingdom, by toiling till he had rubbed off every hair of his body, he would have done it,—this only raises up a barrier between himself and us. It reminds us of the hardness of nature which I have elsewhere charged against him.

Edition: current; Page: [119]

3. Confucius, I think, might have dealt more fairly and generously with Mih. In writing of him, I called attention to his repeated enunciation of “the golden rule” in a negative form,—“What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others.”1 In one place, indeed, he rises for a moment to the full apprehension of it, and recognizes the duty of taking the initiative,—of behaving to others in the first instance as he would that they should behave to him.2 Now, what is this but the practical exercise of the principle of universal love? “All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:”—this is simply the manifestation of the requirement, “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Confucius might have conceded, therefore, to Mih, that the rule of conduct which he laid down was the very best that could be propounded. If he had gone on to remove it from the basis of expediency, and place it on a better foundation, he would have done the greatest service to his countrymen, and entitled himself to a place among the sages of the world.

On this matter I am happy to find myself in agreement with the “prince of literature,” Han Yu. “Our literati,” says he, “find fault with Mih because of what he has said on ‘The Estimation to be attached to Concord,’3 on ‘Universal Love,’ on ‘The Estimation to be given to Men of Worth,’ on ‘The Acknowledging of Spiritual Beings,’4 Edition: current; Page: [120] and on ‘Confucius’ being in awe of great men, and, when he resided in any State, not blaming its great officers.’1 But when the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw finds fault with assuming ministers, is not this attaching a similar value to concord? When Confucius speaks of ‘overflowing in love to all, and cultivating the friendship of the good,’ and of how ‘the extensive conferring of benefits constitutes a sage,’ does he not teach universal love? When he advises ‘the esteem of the worthy;’ when he arranged his disciples into ‘the four classes,’ so stimulating and commending them; when he says that ‘the superior man dislikes the thought of his name not being mentioned after death:’—does not this show the estimation he gave to men of worth? When ‘he sacrificed as if the spiritual Beings were present,’ and condemned ‘those who sacrificed as if they were not really sacrificing,’ when he said, ‘When I sacrifice, I shall receive blessing:’—was not this acknowledging spiritual Beings? The literati and Mih equally approve of Yaou and Shun, and equally condemn Keeh and Chow; they equally teach the cultivation of the person, and the rectifying of the heart, reaching on to the good government of the kingdom, with all its States and families:—why should they be so hostile to each other? In my opinion, the discussions which we hear are the work of their followers, vaunting on each side the sayings of their Teacher; there is no such contrariety between the real doctrines of the two Teachers. Confucius would have used Mih; and Mih would have used Confucius. If they would not have used each other, they could not have been K‘ung and Mih.”

4. It seems proper, in closing this discussion of Mih’s views, to notice the manner in which the subject of “universal love” appears in Christianity. Its whole law is comprehended in the one word—Love; but how wide is the scope of the term compared with all which it ever entered into the mind of Chinese sage or philosopher to conceive!

It is most authoritative where the teachers of China are altogether silent, and commands:—“Thou shalt love the Lord, thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, Edition: current; Page: [121] and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” For the Divine Being Christianity thus demands from all men supreme love;—the love of all that is majestic, awing the soul; the love of all that is beautiful, wooing the heart; the love of all that is good, possessing and mastering the entire nature. Such a love, existing, would necessitate obedience to every law, natural or revealed. Christianity, however, goes on to specify the duties which every man owes, as the complement of love to God, to his fellow-men:—“Owe no man anything, but to love one another, for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this—‘Thou shalt not commit adultery,’ ‘Thou shalt not kill,’ ‘Thou shalt not steal,’ ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness,’ ‘Thou shalt not covet;’ and if there be any other commandment:—the whole is briefly comprehended in this saying, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ ” This commandment is “like to” the other, only differing from it in not requiring the supreme love which is due to God alone. The rule which it prescribes,—such love to others as we feel for ourselves,—is much more definitely and intelligibly expressed than anything we find in Mih, and is not liable to the cavils with which his doctrine was assailed. Such a love to men, existing, would necessitate the performance of every relative and social duty; we could not help doing to others as we would that they should do to us.

Mih’s universal love was to find its scope and consummation in the good government of China. He had not the idea of man as man, any more than Confucius or Mencius. How can that idea be fully realized, indeed, where there is not the right knowledge of one living and true God, the creator and common parent of all? The love which Christianity inculcates is a law of humanity; paramount to all selfish, personal feelings; paramount to all relative, local, national attachments; paramount to all distinctions of race or of religion. Apprehended in the spirit of Christ, it will go forth even to the love of enemies; it will energize in a determination to be always increasing the sum of others’ happiness, limited only by the means of doing so.

But I stop. These prolegomena are the place for disquisition; but I deemed it right to say thus much here of that true, universal love, which at once gives glory to God and effects peace on earth.

Edition: current; Page: [122] Edition: current; Page: [123]

THE WORKS OF MENCIUS.*

BOOK I.**

KING HWUY OF LËANG. PART I.

Chapter I. 1. Mencius [went to] see king Hwuy of Leang.

Edition: current; Page: [124]

2. The king said, “Venerable Sir, since you have not counted it far to come here, a distance of a thousand le, may I presume that you are likewise provided with [counsels] to profit my kingdom?”

3. Mencius replied, “Why must your Majesty use that word ‘profit’? What I am likewise provided with are [counsels to] benevolence and righteousness; and these are my only topics.

4. “If your Majesty say, ‘What is to be done to profit my kingdom?’ the great officers will say, ‘What is to be done to profit our families?’ and the [inferior] officers and the common people will say, ‘What is to be done to profit our persons?’ Superiors and inferiors will try to take the profit the one from the other, and the kingdom will be endangered. In the kingdom of ten thousand chariots, the murderer of his ruler will be [the chief of] a family of a thousand chariots. In the State of a thousand chariots, the Edition: current; Page: [125] murderer of his ruler will be [the chief of] a family of a hundred chariots. To have a thousand in ten thousand, and a hundred in a thousand, cannot be regarded as not a large allowance; but if righteousness be put last and profit first, they will not be satisfied without snatching all.

5. “There never was a man trained to benevolence who neglected his parents. There never was a man trained to righteousness who made his ruler an after-consideration.

6. “Let your Majesty likewise make benevolence and righteousness your only themes;—why must you speak of profit?”

II. 1. When Mencius [another day] was seeing king Hwuy of Lëang, the king [went and] stood [with him] by a pond, and, looking round on the wild geese and deer, large and small, said, “Do wise and good [princes] also take pleasure in these things?”

2. Mencius replied, “Being wise and good, they then have pleasure in these things. If they are not wise and good, though they have these things, they do not find pleasure.

3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry:—

  • ‘When he planned the commencement of the Marvellous tower,
  • He planned it, and defined it,
  • And the people in crowds undertook the work,
  • And in no time completed it.
  • When he planned the commencement, [he said], “Be not in a hurry;”
  • Edition: current; Page: [126]
  • But the people came as if they were his children.
  • The king was in the Marvellous park,
  • Where the does were lying down,—
  • The does so sleek and fat;
  • With the white birds glistening.
  • The king was by the Marvellous pond;—
  • How full was it of fishes leaping about!’

King Wăn used the strength of the people to make his tower and pond, and the people rejoiced [to do the work], calling the tower ‘the Marvellous tower,’ and the pond ‘the Marvellous pond,’ and being glad that he had his deer, his fishes, and turtles. The ancients caused their people to have pleasure as well as themselves, and therefore they could enjoy it.

4. “In the Declaration of T‘ang it is said, ‘O sun, when wilt thou expire? We will die together with thee.’ The people wished [for Këeh’s death, though] they should die with him. Although he had his tower, his pond, birds and animals, how could he have pleasure alone?”

III. 1. King Hwuy of Lëang said, “Small as my virtue is, in [the government of] my kingdom, I do indeed exert my mind to the utmost. If the year be bad inside the Ho, I remove [as many of] the people [as] I can to the east of it, and convey grain to the country inside. If the year be bad on the east of the river, I act on the same plan. On examining the governmental methods of the neighbouring kingdoms, Edition: current; Page: [127] I do not find there is any [ruler] who exerts his mind as I do. And yet the people of the neighbouring kings do not decrease, nor do my people increase;—how is this?”

2. Mencius replied, “Your Majesty loves war; allow me to take an illustration from war. [The soldiers move forward at] the sound of the drum; and when the edges of their weapons have been crossed, [on one side] they throw away their buff-coats, trail their weapons behind them, and run. Some run a hundred paces and then stop; some run fifty paces and stop. What would you think if these, because [they had run but] fifty paces, should laugh at [those who ran] a hundred paces?” The king said, “They cannot do so. They only did not run a hundred paces; but they also ran.” [Mencius] said, “Since your Majesty knows this, you have no ground to expect that your people will become more numerous than those of the neighbouring kingdoms.

3. “If the seasons of husbandry be not interfered with, the grain will be more than can be eaten. If close nets are not allowed to enter the pools and ponds, the fish and turtles will be more than can be consumed. If the axes and bills enter the hill-forests [only] at the proper times, the wood will be more than can be used. When the grain and fish and turtles are more than can be eaten, and there is more wood than can be used, this enables the people to nourish their living and do all offices for their dead, without any feeling against any. [But] this condition, in which [the people] nourish their living, and do all offices to their dead without having any feeling against any, is the first step in the Royal way.

4. “Let mulberry-trees be planted about the homesteads with their five acres, and persons of fifty years will be able Edition: current; Page: [128] to wear silk. In keeping fowls, pigs, dogs, and swine, let not their times of breeding be neglected, and persons of seventy years will be able to eat flesh. Let there not be taken away the time that is proper for the cultivation of the field-allotment of a hundred acres, and the family of several mouths will not suffer from hunger. Let careful attention be paid to the teaching in the various schools, with repeated inculcation of the filial and fraternal duties, and gray-haired men will not be seen upon the roads, carrying burdens on their backs or on their heads. It has never been that [the ruler of a State] where these results were seen, persons of seventy wearing silk and eating flesh, and the black-haired people suffering neither from hunger nor cold, did not attain to the Royal dignity.

5. “Your dogs and swine eat the food of men, and you do not know to store up [of the abundance]. There are people dying from famine on the roads, and you do not know to issue [your stores for their relief]. When men die, you say, ‘It is not owing to me; it is owing to the year.’ In what does this differ from stabbing a man and killing him, and then saying, ‘It was not I; it was the weapon’? Let your Majesty cease to lay the blame on the Edition: current; Page: [129] year, and instantly the people, all under the sky, will come to you.”

IV. 1. King Hwuy of Lëang said, “I wish quietly to receive your instructions.”

2. Mencius replied, “Is there any difference between killing a man with a stick and with a sword?” “There is no difference,” was the answer.

3. [Mencius continued,] “Is there any difference between doing it with a sword and with governmental measures?” “There is not,” was the answer [again].

4. [Mencius then] said, “In [your] stalls there are fat beasts; in [your] stables there are fat horses. [But] your people have the look of hunger, and in the fields there are those who have died of famine. This is leading on beasts to devour men.

5. “Beasts devour one another, and men hate them [for doing so]. When he who is [called] the parent of the people conducts his government so as to be chargeable with leading on beasts to devour men, where is that parental relation to the people?

6. “Chung-ne said, ‘Was he not without posterity who first made wooden images [to bury with the dead]?’ [So he said,] because that man made the semblances of men and Edition: current; Page: [130] used them [for that purpose];—what shall be thought of him who causes his people to die of hunger?”

V. 1. King Hwuy of Lëang said, “There was not in the kingdom a stronger State than Ts‘in, as you, venerable Sir, know. But since it descended to me, on the east we were defeated by Ts‘e, and then my eldest son perished; on the west we lost seven hundred le of territory to Ts‘in; and on the south we have sustained disgrace at the hands of Ts‘oo. I have brought shame on my departed predecessors, and wish on their account to wipe it away once for all. What course is to be pursued to accomplish this?”

2. Mencius replied, “With a territory [only] a hundred le square it has been possible to obtain the Royal dignity.

3. “If your Majesty will [indeed] dispense a benevolent government to the people, being sparing in the use of punishments and fines, and making the taxes and levies of produce light, [so causing that] the fields shall be ploughed deep, and the weeding well attended to, and that the able-bodied, during their days of leisure, shall cultivate their filial piety, fraternal duty, faithfulness, and truth, serving thereby, at home, their fathers and elder brothers, and, abroad, their elders and superiors; you will then have a people who can be employed with sticks which they have Edition: current; Page: [131] prepared to oppose the strong buff-coats and sharp weapons of [the troops of] Ts‘in and Ts‘oo.

4. “[The rulers of] those [States] rob their people of their time, so that they cannot plough and weed their fields in order to support their parents. Parents suffer from cold and hunger; elder and younger brothers, wives and children, are separated and scattered abroad.

5. “Those [rulers] drive their people into pitfalls or into the water; and your Majesty will go to punish them. In such a case, who will oppose your Majesty?

6. “In accordance with this is the saying,—‘The benevolent has no enemy!’ I beg your Majesty not to doubt [what I said].”

VI. 1. Mencius had an interview with king Sëang of Lëang.

2. When he came out, he said to some persons, “When I looked at him from a distance, he did not appear like a ruler; when I drew near to him, I saw nothing venerable about him. Abruptly he asked me, ‘How can the kingdom, all under the sky, be settled?’

2. “I replied, ‘It will be settled by being united under one [sway].’

3. “ ‘Who can so unite it?’ [he asked].

4. “I replied, ‘He who has no pleasure in killing men can so unite it.’

5. “ ‘Who can give it to him?’ [he asked].

Edition: current; Page: [132]

6. “I replied, ‘All under heaven will give it to him. Does your Majesty know the way of the growing grain? During the seventh and eighth months, when drought prevails, the plants become dry. Then the clouds collect densely in the heavens, and send down torrents of rain, so that the grain erects itself as if by a shoot. When it does so, who can keep it back? Now among those who are shepherds of men throughout the kingdom, there is not one who does not find pleasure in killing men. If there were one who did not find pleasure in killing men, all the people under the sky would be looking towards him with outstretched necks. Such being indeed the case, the people would go to him as water flows downwards with a rush, which no one can repress.”

VII. 1. King Seuen of Ts‘e asked, saying, “May I be informed by you of the transactions of Hwan of Ts‘e and Wăn of Tsin?”

2. Mencius replied, “There were none of the disciples of Edition: current; Page: [133] Chung-ne who spoke about the affairs of Hwan and Wăn, and therefore they have not been transmitted to [these] after-ages; your servant has not heard of them. If you will have me speak, let it be about [the principles of attaining to] the Royal sway.”

3. [The king] said, “Of what kind must his virtue be who can [attain to] the Royal sway?” [Mencius] said, “If he loves and protects the people, it is impossible to prevent him from attaining it.”

4. [The king] said, “Is such an one as poor I competent to love and protect the people?” “Yes,” was the reply. “From what do you know that I am competent to that?” “I have heard,” said [Mencius], “from Hoo Heih the following incident:—‘The king,’ said he, ‘was sitting aloft in the hall, when some people appeared leading a bull past below it. The king saw it, and asked where the bull was going, and being answered that they were going to consecrate a bell with its blood, he said, “Let it go, I cannot bear its frightened appearance as if it were an innocent person going to the place of death.” They asked in reply whether, if they did so, they should omit the consecration of the bell; but [the king] said, “How can that be omitted? Change it for a sheep.” ’ I do not know whether this incident occurred.”

5. “It did,” said [the king], and [Mencius] replied, “The heart seen in this is sufficient to carry you to the Royal sway. The people all supposed that your Majesty grudged [the animal], but your servant knows surely that Edition: current; Page: [134] it was your Majesty’s not being able to bear [the sight of the creature’s distress which made you do as you did].”

6. The king said, “You are right; and yet there really was [an appearance of] what the people imagined. [But] though Ts‘e be narrow and small, how should I grudge a bull? Indeed it was because I could not bear its frightened appearance, as if it were an innocent person going to the place of death, that therefore I changed it for a sheep.”

7. Mencius said, “Let not your Majesty deem it strange that the people should think you grudged the animal. When you changed a large one for a small, how should they know [the true reason]? If you felt pained by its [being led] without any guilt to the place of death, what was there to choose between a bull and a sheep?” The king laughed and said, “What really was my mind in the matter? I did not grudge the value of the bull, and yet I changed it for a sheep! There was reason in the people’s saying that I grudged [the creature].”

8. [Mencius] said, “There is no harm [in their saying so]. It was an artifice of benevolence. You saw the bull, and had not seen the sheep. So is the superior man affected towards animals, that, having seen them alive, he cannot bear to see them die, and, having heard their [dying] cries, he cannot bear to eat their flesh. On this account he keeps away from his stalls and kitchen.”

9. The king was pleased and said, “The Ode says,

  • ‘What other men have in their minds,
  • I can measure by reflection.’

This might be spoken of you, my Master. I indeed did the thing, but when I turned my thoughts inward and sought for it, I could not discover my own mind. When you, Master, spoke those words, the movements of compassion began to work in my mind. [But] how is it that this heart has in it what is equal to the attainment of the Royal sway?”

Edition: current; Page: [135]

10. [Mencius] said, “Suppose a man were to make this statement to your Majesty, ‘My strength is sufficient to lift three thousand catties, but it is not sufficient to lift one feather; my eyesight is sharp enough to examine the point of an autumn hair, but I do not see a waggon-load of faggots,’ would your Majesty allow what he said?” “No,” was the [king’s] remark, [and Mencius proceeded], “Now here is kindness sufficient to reach to animals, and yet no benefits are extended from it to the people;—how is this? is an exception to be made here? The truth is, the feather’s not being lifted is because the strength was not used; the waggon-load of firewood’s not being seen is because the eyesight was not used; and the people’s not being loved and protected is because the kindness is not used. Therefore your Majesty’s not attaining to the Royal sway is because you do not do it, and not because you are not able to do it.”

11. [The king] asked, “How may the difference between him who does not do [a thing] and him who is not able to do it be graphically set forth?” [Mencius] replied, “In such a thing as taking the T‘ae mountain under your arm, and leaping with it over the North sea, if you say to people, ‘I am not able to do it,’ that is a real case of not being able. In such a matter as breaking off a branch from a tree at the order of a superior, if you say to people, ‘I am not able to do it,’ it is not a case of not being able to do it. And so your Majesty’s not attaining to the Royal sway is not such a case as that of taking the T‘ae mountain under your arm and leaping over the North sea with it; but it is a case like that of breaking off a branch from a tree.

12. “Treat with the reverence due to age the elders in Edition: current; Page: [136] your own family, so that those in the families of others shall be similarly treated; treat with the kindness due to youth the young in your own family, so that those in the families of others shall be similarly treated:—do this and the kingdom may be made to go round in your palm. It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘His example acted on his wife,
  • Extended to his brethren,
  • And was felt by all the clans and States;’

telling us how [King Wăn] simply took this [kindly] heart, and exercised it towards those parties. Therefore the carrying out the [feeling of] kindness [by a ruler] will suffice for the love and protection of all within the four seas; and if he do not carry it out, he will not be able to protect his wife and children. The way in which the ancients came greatly to surpass other men was no other than this, that they carried out well what they did, so as to affect others. Now your kindness is sufficient to reach to animals, and yet no benefits are extended from it to the people. How is this? Is an exception to be made here?

13. “By weighing we know what things are light, and what heavy. By measuring we know what things are long, and what short. All things are so dealt with, and the mind requires specially to be so. I beg your Majesty to measure it.

14. “Your Majesty collects your equipments of war, endangers your soldiers and officers, and excites the resentment of the various princes:—do these things cause you pleasure in your mind?”

15. The king said, “No. How should I derive pleasure from these things? My object in them is to seek for what I greatly desire.”

16. [Mencius] said, “May I hear from you what it is that your Majesty greatly desires?” The king laughed, and did not speak. [Mencius] resumed, “[Are you led to desire it], because you have not enough of rich and sweet [food] for your mouth? or because you have not enough of Edition: current; Page: [137] light and warm [clothing] for your body? or because you have not enow of beautifully coloured objects to satisfy your eyes? or because there are not voices and sounds cnow to fill your ears? or because you have not enow of attendants and favourites to stand before you and receive your orders? Your Majesty’s various officers are sufficient to supply you with all these things. How can your Majesty have such a desire on account of them?” “No,” said the king, “my desire is not on account of them.” [Mencius] observed, “Then, what your Majesty greatly desires can be known. You desire to enlarge your territories, to have Ts‘in and Ts‘oo coming to your court, to rule the Middle States, and to attract to you the barbarous tribes that surround them. But to do what you do in order to seek for what you desire is like climbing a tree to seek for fish.”

17. “Is it so bad as that?” said [the king]. “I apprehend it is worse,” was the reply. “If you climb a tree to seek for fish, although you do not get the fish, you have no subsequent calamity. But if you do what you do in order to seek for what you desire, doing it even with all your heart, you will assuredly afterwards meet with calamities.” The king said, “May I hear [what they will be]?” [Mencius] replied, “If the people of Tsow were fighting with the people of Ts‘oo, which of them does your Majesty think would conquer?” “The people of Ts‘oo would conquer,” was the answer, and [Mencius] pursued, “So then, a small State cannot contend with a great, few cannot contend with many, nor can the weak contend with the strong. The territory within the seas would embrace nine divisions, each of a thousand le square. All Ts‘e together is one of them. If with one part you try to subdue the other eight, what is the difference between that and Tsow’s contending with Ts‘oo? [With the desire which you have], you must turn back to the proper course [for its attainment].

18. “Now if your Majesty will institute a government whose action shall all be benevolent, this will cause all the officers in the kingdom to wish to stand in your Majesty’s court, the farmers all to wish to plough in your Majesty’s fields, the merchants, both travelling and stationary, all to wish to store their goods in your Majesty’s market-places, travellers and visitors all to wish to travel on your Majesty’s roads, and all under heaven who feel aggrieved by their Edition: current; Page: [138] rulers to wish to come and complain to your Majesty When they are so bent, who will be able to keep them back?”

19. The king said, “I am stupid, and cannot advance to this. [But] I wish you, my Master, to assist my intentions. Teach me clearly, and although I am deficient in intelligence and vigour, I should like to try at least [to institute such a government].”

20. [Mencius] replied, “They are only men of education, who, without a certain livelihood, are able to maintain a fixed heart. As to the people, if they have not a certain livelihood, they will be found not to have a fixed heart. And if they have not a fixed heart, there is nothing which they will not do in the way of self-abandonment, of moral deflection, of depravity, and of wild license. When they have thus been involved in crime, to follow them up and punish them, is to entrap the people. How can such a thing as entrapping the people be done under the rule of a benevolent man?

21. “Therefore an intelligent ruler will regulate the livelihood of the people, so as to make sure that, above, they shall have sufficient wherewith to serve their parents, and, below, sufficient wherewith to support their wives and children; that in good years they shall always be abundantly satisfied, and that in bad years they shall not be in danger of perishing. After this he may urge them, and they will proceed to what is good, for in this case the people will follow after that with readiness.

22. “But now, the livelihood of the people is so regulated, that, above, they have not sufficient wherewith to serve their parents, and, below, they have not sufficient where-with to support their wives and children; [even] in good years their lives are always embittered, and in bad years they are in danger of perishing. In such circumstances their only object is to escape from death, and they are afraid they will not succeed in doing so;—what leisure have they to cultivate propriety and righteousness?

Edition: current; Page: [139]

23. “If your Majesty wishes to carry out [a benevolent government], why not turn back to what is the essential step [to its attainment]?

24. “Let mulberry-trees be planted about the homesteads with their five acres, and persons of fifty years will be able to wear silk. In keeping fowls, pigs, dogs, and swine, let not their times of breeding be neglected, and persons of seventy years will be able to eat flesh. Let there not be taken away the time that is proper for the cultivation of the field-allotment of a hundred acres, and the family of eight mouths will not suffer from hunger. Let careful attention be paid to the teaching in the various schools, with repeated inculcation of the filial and fraternal duties, and gray-haired men will not be seen upon the roads, carrying burdens on their backs or on their heads. It has never been that [the ruler of a State] where these results were seen, the old wearing silk and eating flesh, and the black-haired people suffering neither from hunger nor cold, did not attain to the Royal dignity.”

KING HWUY OF LEANG. PART II.

Chapter I. 1. Chwang Paou, [having gone to] see Mencius, said to him, “I had an audience of the king. His Majesty told me about his loving music, and I was not prepared Edition: current; Page: [140] with anything to reply to him. What do you pronounce concerning [that] love of music?” Mencius said, “If the king’s love of music were very great, the kingdom of Ts‘e would be near to [being well governed].”

2. Another day, Mencius had an audience of the king, and said, “Your Majesty, [I have heard,] told the officer Chwang about your love of music;—was it so?” The king changed colour, and said, “I am unable to love the music of the ancient kings; I only love the music that suits the manners of the [present] age.”

3. [Mencius] said, “If your Majesty’s love of music were very great, Ts‘e, I apprehend, would be near to [being well governed]. The music of the present day is just like the music of antiquity [for effecting that].”

4. [The king] said, “May I hear [the proof of what you say]?” “Which is the more pleasant,” was the reply,—“to enjoy music by yourself alone, or to enjoy it along with others?” “To enjoy it along with others,” said [the king]. “And which is the more pleasant,” pursued [Mencius],—“to enjoy music along with a few, or to enjoy it along with many?” “To enjoy it along with many,” replied [the king].

5. [Mencius went on], “Will you allow your servant to speak to your Majesty about music?

6. “Your Majesty is having music here.—The people hear the sound of your bells and drums, and the notes of your reeds and flutes, and they all, with aching heads, knit their brows, and say to one another, ‘That’s how our king loves music! But why does he reduce us to this extremity [of distress]? Fathers and sons do not see one another; elder brothers and younger brothers, wives and children, are separated and scattered abroad.’ Again, your Majesty is hunting here. The people hear the noise of your carriages and horses, and see the beauty of your plumes and pennons, and they all, with aching heads, knit their brows, and say to one another, ‘That’s how our king loves hunting! But Edition: current; Page: [141] why does he reduce us to this extremity of distress? Fathers and sons do not see one another; elder brothers and younger brothers, wives and children, are separated and scattered abroad.’ This is from no other cause, but that you do not give the people to have pleasure as well as yourself.

7. “Your Majesty is having music here.—The people hear the sound of your bells and drums, and the notes of your reeds and flutes, and they all, delighted and with joyful looks, say to one another, ‘That sounds as if our king were free from all sickness! What fine music he is able to have!’ Again, your Majesty is hunting here.—The people hear the noise of your carriages and horses, and see the beauty of your plumes and pennons, and they all, delighted and with joyful looks, say to one another, ‘That looks as if our king were free from all sickness! How he is able to hunt!’ This is from no other reason but that you cause the people to have pleasure as well as yourself.

8. “If your Majesty now will make pleasure a thing common to the people and yourself, the Royal sway awaits you.”

II. 1. King Seuen of Ts‘e asked, “Was it so that the park of king Wăn contained seventy square le?” Mencius replied, “It is so in the Records.”

2. “Was it so large as that?” said [the king]. “The people,” said [Mencius], “still considered it small.” “My park,” responded [the king], “contains [only] forty square le, and the people still consider it large. How is this?” “The park of king Wăn,”—said [Mencius], “contained seventy square le, but the grass-cutters and fuel-gatherers Edition: current; Page: [142] [had the privilege of] resorting to it, and so also had the catchers of pheasants and hares. He shared it with the people, and was it not with reason that they looked on it as small?

3. “When I first arrived at your frontiers, I enquired about the great prohibitory regulations before I would venture to enter [the country]; and I heard that inside the border-gates there was a park of forty square le, and that he who killed a deer in it, whether large or small, was held guilty of the same crime as if he had killed a man. In this way those forty square le are a pit-fall in the middle of the kingdom. Is it not with reason that the people look upon [your park] as large?”

III. 1. King Seuen of Ts‘e asked, saying, “Is there any way [to regulate one’s maintenance] of intercourse with neighbouring States?” Mencius replied, “There is. But it requires a benevolent [ruler] to be able with a great State to serve a small;—as, for instance, T‘ang served Koh, and king Wăn served the hordes of the Keun. And it requires a wise [ruler] to be able with a small State to serve a great,—as, for instance, king T‘ae served the Heun-yuh, and Kow-tseen served Woo.

2. “He who with a great [State] serves a small is one Edition: current; Page: [143] who delights in Heaven; and he who with a small [State] serves a great is one who fears Heaven. He who delights in Heaven will affect with his love and protection all under the sky; and he who fears Heaven will so affect his own State.

3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘I revere the majesty of Heaven,
  • And thus preserve its [favour].’ ”

4. The king said, “A great saying! [But] I have an infirmity,—I love valour.”

5. [Mencius] replied, “I beg your Majesty not to love small valour. If a man brandishes his sword, looks fierce, and says, ‘How dare he withstand me?’ this is the valour of a common man, and can only be used against one individual. I beg your Majesty to change it into great valour.

6. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘The king rose majestic in his wrath.
  • He marshalled his troops,
  • To stop the march to Keu;
  • To consolidate the prosperity of Chow;
  • To meet the expectations of all under heaven.’

This was the valour of king Wăn. King Wăn, by one burst of his anger, gave repose to all the people under heaven.

7. “It is said in the Book of History, ‘Heaven, having produced the inferior people, made for them rulers, and made for them instructors, with the purpose that they should be aiding to God, and gave them distinction throughout the four quarters [of the land]. Whoever are offenders, and whoever are innocent, here am I [to deal with them]. Edition: current; Page: [144] How dare any under heaven give indulgence to their refractory wills?’ One man was pursuing a violent and disorderly course in the kingdom, and king Woo was ashamed of it. This was the valour of king Woo, and he also, by one burst of his anger, gave repose to all the people under heaven.

8. “Let now your Majesty, in one burst of anger, give repose to all the people under heaven. The people are only afraid that your Majesty does not love valour.”

IV. 1. King Seuen of Ts‘e [went to] see Mencius in the Snow palace, and said to him, “Do men of talents and virtue likewise find pleasure in [such a place as] this?” Mencius replied, “They do. And if people [generally] do not get [similar pleasure], they condemn their superiors.

2. “For them, when they do not get that, to condemn their superiors is wrong; but when the superiors of the people do not make [such] pleasure a thing common to the people and themselves, they also do wrong.

3. “When [a ruler] rejoices in the joy of his people, they also rejoice in his joy; when he sorrows for the sorrow of his people, they also sorrow for his sorrow. When his joy extends to all under heaven, and his sorrow does the same, it never was that in such a case [the ruler] did not attain to the Royal sway.

Edition: current; Page: [145]

4. “Formerly, duke King of Ts‘e asked the minister Gan, saying, ‘I wish to make a tour to Chuen-foo and Chaou-woo, and then to bend my way southward, along the shore, till I come to Lang-yay. What shall I do specially, that my tour may be fit to be compared with those made by the former kings?’

5. “The minister Gan replied, ‘An excellent inquiry! When the son of Heaven visited the feudal princes, it was called “a tour of inspection;” that is, he surveyed the States under their care. When the princes attended at his court, it was called “a report of office;” that is, they reported [their administration of] their offices. [Thus] neither of those proceedings was without its proper object. [And moreover], in the spring they examined the ploughing, and supplied any deficiency [of seed]; in the autumn they examined the reaping, and assisted where there was any deficiency [of yield]. There is the saying of the Hea dynasty,

  • “If our king go not from home,
  • Whence to us will comfort come?
  • If our king make not his round,
  • Whence to us will help be found?”

That excursion and that round were a pattern for the princes.

6. “ ‘Now the state of things is different. A host marches [in attendance on the ruler], and the provisions are consumed. Edition: current; Page: [146] The hungry are deprived of their food, and there is no rest for those who are called to toil. Maledictions are uttered by one to another with eyes askance, and the people proceed to the commission of wickedness. The [Royal] orders are violated and the people are oppressed; the supplies of food and drink flow away like water. The [rulers] yield themselves to the current; or they urge their way against it; they are wild; they are lost:—[these things proceed] to the grief of the [smaller] princes.

7. “ ‘Descending along with the current, and forgetting to return,’ is what I call yielding to it. ‘Going against it, and forgetting to return,’ is what I called urging their way against it. ‘Pursuing the chase without satiety’ is what I call being wild. ‘Delighting in spirits without satiety’ is what I call being lost.

8. “ ‘The former kings had no pleasures to which they gave themselves as on the flowing stream, no doings which might be so characterized as wild and lost.

9. “ ‘It is for you, my ruler, to take your course.’

10. “Duke King was pleased. He issued a grand proclamation through the State, and went out [himself] and occupied a shed in the suburbs. From that time he began to open [his granaries] for the relief of the wants [of the people], and, calling the grand music master, said to him, ‘Make for me music to suit a prince and his minister well pleased with each other.’ It was then that the Che Shaou and Kë‘oh Shaou was made, in the poetry to which it was said,

‘What fault is it one’s ruler to restrain?’

He who restrains his ruler loves him.”

Edition: current; Page: [147]

V. 1. King Seuen of Ts‘e asked saying, “People all tell me to pull down the Brilliant hall and remove it;—shall I pull it down, or stop [the movement for that object]?”

2. Mencius replied, “The Brilliant hall is the hall appropriate to the kings. If your Majesty wishes to practise Royal government, do not pull it down.”

3. The king said, “May I hear from you what Royal government is?” “Formerly,” was the reply, “king Wăn’s government of K‘e was the following:—From the husbandman [there was required the produce of] one ninth [of the land]; the descendants of officers were salaried; at the passes and in the markets, [strangers] were inspected, but Edition: current; Page: [148] goods were not taxed; there were no prohibitions respecting the ponds and weirs; the wives and children of criminals were not involved in their guilt. There were the old and wifeless, or widowers, the old and husbandless, or widows; the old and childless, or solitaries; and the young and fatherless, or orphans:—these four classes are the most destitute under heaven, and have none to whom they can tell [their wants], and king Wăn, in the institution of his government with its benevolent action, made them the first objects of his regard. It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘The rich may get through,
  • But alas for the helpless and solitary!’ ”

4. The king said, “Excellent words!” [Mencius] said, “Since your Majesty deems them excellent, why do you not put them into practice?” “I have an infirmity,” said the king; “I am fond of substance.” “Formerly,” replied [Mencius], “duke Lëw was fond of substance. It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘He stored up [the produce] in the fields and in barns;
  • He tied up dried meat and grain
  • In bottomless bags and sacks;
  • That he might hold [his people] together, and glorify [his tribe].
  • Then with bows and arrows all ready,
  • With shields and spears, and axes, large and small,
  • He commenced his march.’

In this way those who remained in their old seat had their stores in the fields and in barns, and those who marched had their bags of grain. It was not till after this that he commenced his march. If your Majesty is fond of substance, let the people have the opportunity to gratify the same feeling, and what difficulty will there be in your attaining to the Royal sway?”

5. The king said, “I have an infirmity; I am fond of beauty.” The reply was, “Formerly king T‘ae was fond Edition: current; Page: [149] of beauty, and loved his wife. It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘The ancient duke T‘an-foo
  • Came in the morning, galloping his horses,
  • Along the banks of the western rivers,
  • To the foot of Mount K‘e;
  • And there he and the lady Këang
  • Came, and together looked out for a site on which to settle.’

At that time, in the seclusion of the house, there were no dissatisfied women, and, abroad, there were no unmarried men. If your Majesty is fond of beauty, let the people be able to gratify the same feeling, and what difficulty will there be in your attaining to the Royal sway?”

VI. 1. Mencius said to king Seuen of Ts‘e, “[Suppose that] one of your Majesty’s servants were to entrust his wife and children to the care of his friend, while he went [himself] into Ts‘oo to travel, and that, on his return, [he should find] that [the friend] had caused his wife and children to suffer from cold and hunger,—how ought he to deal with him?” The king said, “He should cast him off.”

2. [Mencius] proceeded, “[Suppose that] the chief criminal judge could not regulate the officers of justice under him, how should he be dealt with?” The king said, “He should be dismissed.”

3. [Mencius again] said, “When within the four borders [of your kingdom] there is not good government, what is to be done?” The king looked to the right and left, and spoke of other matters.

VII. 1. Mencius, having [gone to] see king Seuen of Edition: current; Page: [150] Ts‘e, said to him, “When men speak of ‘an ancient kingdom,’ it is not meant thereby that it has lofty trees in it, but that it has ministers [sprung from families that have been noted in it] for generations. Your Majesty has no ministers with whom you are personally intimate. Those whom you advanced yesterday are gone to-day, and you do not know it.”

2. The king said, “How shall I know that they have no ability, and avoid employing them at all?”

3. The reply was, “A ruler advances to office [new] men of talents and virtue [only] as a matter of necessity. As he thereby causes the low to overstep the honourable and strangers to overstep his relatives, ought he to do so but with caution?

4. “When all those about you say [of a man], ‘He is a man of talents and virtue,’ do not immediately [believe them]. When your great officers all say, ‘He is a man of talents and virtue,’ do not immediately [believe them]. When your people all say, ‘He is a man of talents and virtue,’ then examine into his character; and, when you find that he is such indeed, then afterwards employ him. When all those about you say, ‘He will not do,’ do not listen to them. When your great officers all say, ‘He will not do,’ do not listen to them. When your people all say, ‘He will not do,’ then examine into his character; and when you find that he will not do, then afterwards send him away.

5. “When those about you all say [of a man], ‘He deserves death,’ do not listen to them. When your great officers all say, ‘He deserves death,’ do not listen to them. When your people all say, ‘He deserves death,’ then examine into his case; and when you find that he deserves death, then afterwards put him to death. In accordance with this we have the saying, ‘The people put him to death.’

6. “Act in this way and you will be the parent of the people.”

Edition: current; Page: [151]

VIII. 1. King Seuen of Ts‘e asked, saying, “Was it so that T‘ang banished Këeh, and king Woo smote Chow?” Mencius replied, “It is so in the Records.”

2. [The king] said, “May a subject put his ruler to death?”

3. The reply was, “He who outrages benevolence is called a ruffian; he who outrages righteousness is called a villain. The ruffian and villain we call a mere fellow. I have heard of the cutting off of the fellow Chow; I have not heard of the putting a ruler to death [in his case].”

IX. 1. Mencius, [having gone to] see king Seuen of Ts‘e, said, “If you are going to build a large mansion, you will surely cause the Master of the workmen to look out for large trees; and when he has found them, your Majesty will be glad, thinking they will be fit for the object. Should the workmen hew them so as to make them too small, then you will be angry, thinking that they will not answer for the purpose. Now a man spends his youth in learning [the principles of right government], and, when grown up to vigour, he wishes to put them in practice:—if your Majesty say to him, ‘For the present put aside what you have learned, and follow me,’ what shall we say?

2. “Here now you have a gem in the stone. Although it be worth 240,000 [taels], you will surely employ your Edition: current; Page: [152] chief lapidary to cut and polish it. But when you come to the government of your kingdom, you say, ‘For the present put aside what you have learned and follow me;’—how is it that you herein act differently from your calling in the lapidary to cut and polish the gem?”

X. 1. The people of Ts‘e attacked Yen, and conquered it.

2. King Seuen asked, saying, “Some tell me not to take possession of it, and some tell me to take possession of it. For a kingdom of ten thousand chariots to attack another of the same strength, and to complete the conquest of it in fifty days, is an achievement beyond [mere] human strength. If I do not take it, calamities from Heaven will surely come upon me:—what do you say to my taking possession of it?”

3. Mencius replied, “If the people of Yen will be pleased with your taking possession of it, do so.—Among the ancients there was [one] who acted in this way, namely king Woo. If the people of Yen will not be pleased with your taking possession of it, do not. Among the ancients there was one who acted in this way, namely king Wăn.

4. “When with [the strength of] your kingdom of ten thousand chariots you attacked another of the same strength, Edition: current; Page: [153] and they met your Majesty’s army with baskets of rice and vessels of congee, was there any other reason for this but that they [hoped to] escape out of fire and water? If [you make] the water more deep and the fire more fierce, they will just in like manner make another revolution.”

XI. 1. The people of Ts‘e having attacked Yen and taken possession of it, the [other] princes proposed to take measures to deliver Yen. King Seuen said, “As the princes are many of them consulting to attack me, how shall I prepare myself for them?” Mencius replied, “I have heard of one who with seventy le gave law to the whole kingdom, but I have not heard of [a ruler] who with a thousand le was afraid of others.

2. “The Book of History says, ‘When T‘ang began his work of punishment, he commenced with Koh. All under heaven had confidence in him. When the work went on in the east, the wild tribes of the west murmured. When it went on in the south, those of the north murmured. They said, “Why does he make us the last?” The looking of the people for him was like the looking in a time of great drought for clouds and rainbows. The frequenters of the markets stopped not; the husbandmen made no change [in their operations]. While he took off their rulers, he consoled the people. [His progress] was like the falling of seasonable rain, and the people were delighted.’ It is said [again] in the Book of History, ‘We have waited for our prince [long]; the prince’s coming is our reviving.’

3. “Now [the ruler of] Yen was tyrannizing over his people, and your Majesty went and punished him. The people supposed that you were going to deliver them out of the water and the fire, and with baskets of rice and vessels of congee they met your Majesty’s host. But you have Edition: current; Page: [154] slain their fathers and elder brothers, and put their sons and younger brothers in chains; you have pulled down the ancestral temple [of the rulers], and are carrying away its precious vessels:—how can such a course be admitted? [The other States of] the kingdom were afraid of the strength of Ts‘e before; and now when with a doubled territory you do not exercise a benevolent government, this puts the arms of the kingdom in motion [against you].

4. “If your Majesty will make haste to issue an order, restoring [your captives] old and young, and stopping [the removal of] the precious vessels; [and if then] you will consult with the people of Yen, appoint [for them] a [new] ruler, and afterwards withdraw from the country:—in this way you may still be able to stop [the threatened attack].”

XII. 1. There had been a skirmish between [some troops of] Tsow and Loo, [in reference to which,] duke Mih asked, saying, “Of my officers there were killed thirty-three men and none of the people would die in their defence. If I would put them to death, it is impossible to deal so with so many; if I do not put them to death, then there is [the crime unpunished of] their looking on with evil eyes at the death of their officers, and not saving them:—how is the exigency of the case to be met?”

2. Mencius replied, “In calamitous years and years of famine, the old and weak of your people who have been found lying in ditches and water-channels, and the able-bodied who have been scattered about to the four quarters, have amounted to thousands. All the while, your granaries, O Edition: current; Page: [155] prince, have been stored with rice and other grain, and your treasuries and arsenals have been full, and not one of your officers has told you [of the distress];—so negligent have the superiors [in your State] been, and cruel to their inferiors. The philosopher Tsăng said, ‘Beware, beware. What proceeds from you will return to you.’ Now at last the people have had an opportunity to return [their conduct]; do not you, O prince, blame them.

3. “If you will practise a benevolent government, then the people will love all above them, and will die for their officers.”

XIII. 1. Duke Wăn of T‘ăng asked, saying, “T‘ăng is a small State, and lies between Ts‘e and Ts‘oo. Shall I serve Ts‘e? or shall I serve Ts‘oo?”

2. Mencius replied, “This is a matter in which I cannot counsel you. If you will have me speak, there is but one thing [I can suggest]. Dig [deep] your moats; build [strong] your walls; then guard them along with the people; be prepared to die [in their defence], and [have] the people [so that] they will not leave you:—this is a course which may be put in practice.”

XIV. 1. Duke Wăn of T‘ăng asked, saying, “The people of Ts‘e are going to fortify Sĕeh, and [the movement] Edition: current; Page: [156] occasions me great alarm; what is the proper course for me to take in the case?”

2. Mencius replied, “Formerly, when king T‘ae dwelt in Pin, the Teih were [continually] making incursions upon it. He [therefore] left it, and went to the foot of Mount K‘e, and there took up his residence. He did not take that situation as having selected it;—it was a matter of necessity.

3. “If you do good, among your descendants in future generations there shall be one who will attain to the Royal sway. The superior man lays the foundation of the inheritance, and hands down the beginning [which he has made], doing what can be continued [by his successors]. As to the accomplishment of the great result, that is with Heaven. What is that [Ts‘e] to you, O prince? you have simply to make yourself strong to do good.”

XV. 1. Duke Wăn of T‘ăng asked, saying, “T‘ăng is a small State. I do my utmost to serve the great kingdoms [on either side of it], but I cannot escape [suffering from them]. What is the proper course for me to pursue in the case?” Mencius replied, “Formerly, when king T‘ae dwelt in Pin, the Teih were continually making incursions upon it. He served them with skins and silks, and still he suffered from them. He served them with dogs and horses, and still he suffered from them. He served them with pearls and pieces of jade, and still he suffered from them. On this he assembled his old men, and announced to them, saying, ‘What the Teih want is my territory. I have heard Edition: current; Page: [157] this,—that the superior man does not injure his people for that which he nourishes them with. My children, why should you be troubled about having no ruler. I will leave this.’ [Accordingly] he left Pin, crossed over Mount Lëang, [built] a town at the foot of Mount K‘e, and dwelt there. The people of Pin said, ‘He is a benevolent man;—we must not lose him.’ Those who followed him [looked] like crowds going to market.

4. “On the other hand [a prince] may say, ‘[The country] has been held [by my ancestors] for generations, and is not what I can undertake to dispose of in my person. I will go to the death for it, and will not leave it.’

5. “I beg you, O prince, to make your election between these two courses.”

XVI. 1. Duke P‘ing of Loo was about to go out [one day], when his favourite Tsang Ts‘ang begged [to ask] him, saying, “On other days, when your lordship has gone out, you have given instructions to the officers as to where you were going. But now the horses have been put to your carriage, and the officers do not yet know where you are going. I venture to request your orders.” The duke said, “I am going to see the philosopher Măng.” “What!” said the Edition: current; Page: [158] other. “That you demean yourself, O prince, by what you are doing, to pay the first visit to a common man, is, I apprehend, because you think that he is a man of talents and virtue. [Our rules of] propriety and righteousness must have come from such men; but on the occasion of this Măng’s second mourning, his observances exceeded those of the former. Do not go to see him, O prince.” The duke said, “I will not.”

2. The officer Yoh-ching entered [the court], and had an audience. “Prince,” said he, “why have you not gone to see Măng K‘o?” “One told me,” was the reply, “that on the occasion of Mr Mang’s second mourning, his observances exceeded those of the former, and therefore I did not go to see him.” [Yoh-ching] said, “How is this? By what your lordship calls ‘exceeding,’ you mean, I suppose, that on the former occasion he used the ceremonies appropriate to an inferior officer, and on the latter those appropriate to a great officer; that he first used three tripods, and afterwards five.” “No,” said the duke, “I refer to the greater excellence of the coffin, the shell, the grave-clothes, and the shroud.’ [Yoh-ching] replied, “That cannot be called ‘exceeding.’ That was the difference between being poor and being rich.”

3. [After this] the officer Yoh-ching [went to] see Mencius, and said, “I told the ruler about you, and he was consequently coming to see you, when his favourite Tsang Ts‘ang stopped him, and he did not carry his purpose into effect.” [Mencius] said, “A man’s advance is effected, it may be, by others, and the stopping him is, it may be, from the efforts of others. But to advance a man or to stop his advance is [really] beyond the power of other men. My not finding [the right prince] in the marquis of Loo, is from Heaven. How could that scion of the Tsang family cause me not to find [the ruler that would suit me]?”

Edition: current; Page: [159]

BOOK II.*

KUNG-SUN CH‘OW. PART I.

Chapter I. 1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “Master, if you were to obtain the ordering of the government in Ts‘e, could you promise yourself the accomplishment of such successful results as were realized by Kwan Chung and the minister Gan?”

2. Mencius said, “You, Sir, are indeed a [true] man of Ts‘e. You know about Kwan Chung and the minister Gan, and nothing more.

3. “One asked Tsăng Se, saying, ‘To which, my [good] Sir, do you give the superiority,—to yourself or to Tsze-loo?’ Tsang Se looked uneasy, and said, ‘He was an object of veneration to my grandfather.’ ‘Then,’ pursued the man, ‘do you give the superiority to yourself, or to Kwan Chung?’ Tsăng Se flushed with anger, was displeased, and said, ‘How do you compare me to Kwan Chung? Considering how entirely he possessed [the confidence of] his ruler, how long he had the direction of the government of the State, and how low [after all] was what he accomplished, how is it that you compare me to him?’

4. “Thus,” added Mencius, “Tsăng Se would not play Edition: current; Page: [160] Kwan Chung, and is it what you desire for me, that I should do so?”

5. [Kung-sun Ch‘ow] said, “Kwan Chung raised his ruler to be the leader of all the other princes, and the minister Gan made his ruler illustrious; and do you still think that it would not be enough for you to do what they did?”

6. “To raise [the ruler of] Ts‘e to the Royal dignity would [simply] be like turning round the hand,” was the reply.

7. “So!” returned the other. “The perplexity of your disciple is hereby very much increased! And there was king Wăn, with all the virtue which belonged to him, and who did not die till he had reached a hundred years; yet his influence had not penetrated to all under heaven. It required king Woo and the duke of Chow to continue his course, before that influence greatly prevailed. And now you say that the Royal dignity may be so easily obtained:—is king Wăn then not worthy to be imitated?”

8. [Mencius] said, “How can king Wăn be matched? From T‘ang to Woo-ting there had arisen six or seven worthy and sage sovereigns; all under heaven had been long attached to Yin. The length of time made a change difficult, and Woo-ting gave audience to all the princes and possessed the whole kingdom, as if it had been a thing which he turned round in his palm. [Then] Chow was removed from Woo-ting by no great interval of time. There were still remaining some of the ancient families, and of the old manners, of the influence which had emanated [from the earlier sovereigns], and of their good government. Moreover, Edition: current; Page: [161] there were the viscount of Wei and his second son, his Royal Highness Pe-kan, the viscount of Ke, and Kaou Kih, all men of ability and virtue, who gave their joint assistance to Chow [in his government]. In consequence of these things it took him a long time to lose the kingdom. There was not a foot of ground which he did not possess; there was not one of all the people who was not his subject. So it was on his side, while king Wăn made his beginning from a territory of [only] a hundred square le, and therefore it was difficult for him [immediately to attain to the Royal dignity].

9. “The people of Ts‘e have the saying, ‘A man may have wisdom and discernment, but that is not like embracing the favourable opportunity; a man may have [good] hoes, but that is not like waiting for the [favourable] seasons.’ The present time is one in which [the Royal dignity] may be easily attained.

10. “In the flourishing periods of the sovereigns of Hëa, of Yin, and of Chow, the [Royal] territory did not exceed a thousand le and Ts‘e embraces as much. Cocks crow and dogs bark to one another all the way to its four borders, so that Ts‘e also possesses the [requisite number of] people. No change is needed for the enlargement of its territory, nor for the collecting of a population. If [its ruler] will put in practice a benevolent government, no power can prevent his attaining to the Royal sway.

11. “Moreover, never was there a time farther removed than this from the appearance of a true king; never was there a time when the sufferings of the people from oppressive government were more intense than this. The hungry are easily supplied with food, and the thirsty with drink.

12. “Confucius said, ‘The flowing progress of virtue is more rapid than the transmission of orders by stages and couriers.’

Edition: current; Page: [162]

13. “At the present time, in a country of ten thousand chariots, let a benevolent government be exercised, and the people will be delighted with it, as if they were relieved from hanging by the heels. With half the merit of the ancients, double their achievement is sure to be realized. It is only at this time that such could be the case.”

II. 1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow asked [Mencius], saying, “Master, Edition: current; Page: [163] if you were to be appointed a high noble and prime minister of Ts‘e, so as to carry your principles into practice, though you should thereupon [raise the ruler to] be head of all the other princes or [even] to be king, it would not be to be wondered at; but in such a position would your mind be perturbed or not?” Mencius replied, “No. At forty I attained to an unperturbed mind.”

2. [Chow] said, “Then, Master, you are far beyond Măng Pun.” “[The mere attainment of] that,” said [Mencius], “is not difficult. The scholar Kaou attained to an unperturbed mind at an earlier period of life than I did.”

3. “Is there any [proper] way to an unperturbed mind?” asked [Chow]; and the reply was, “Yes.

4. “Pih-kung Yew had this way of nourishing his valour:—His flesh did not shrink [from a wound], and his eyes did not turn aside [from any thrusts at them]. He considered that to submit to have a hair pulled out by any one was as great [a disgrace] as to be beaten in the market-place, and that what he would not receive from [a common man in his] loose garments of hair-cloth, neither should he receive from the ruler of ten thousand chariots. He viewed stabbing the ruler of ten thousand chariots just as stabbing a fellow in cloth of hair. He feared not any of the princes. A bad word addressed to him he always returned.

5. “The valour which Măng She-shay nourished spoke on this wise:—‘I look upon conquering and not conquering in the same way. To measure the enemy and then advance; to calculate the chances of victory and then engage:—this is to stand in awe of the opposing force. How can I make certain of conquering? I can only rise superior to all fear.’

6. “Măng She-shay resembled the philosopher Tsăng, and Edition: current; Page: [164] Pih-kung Yëw resembled Tsze-hëa. I do not know to the valour of which the superiority should be ascribed; but Măng She-shay attended to what was of the greater importance.

7. “Formerly, the philosopher Tsăng said to Tsze-seang, ‘Do you love valour? I heard an account of great valour from the Master, [who said that it speaks thus]:—“If on self-examination I find that I am not upright, shall I not be afraid of [a common man in his] loose garments of haircloth; if on self-examination I find that I am upright, I will go forward against thousands and tens of thousands.” ’

8. “What Măng She-shay maintained, however, was his physical energy merely, and was not equal to what the philosopher Tsăng maintained, which was [indeed] of the greater importance.”

9. [Ch‘ow] said, “May I venture to ask [the difference between] your unperturbed mind, Master, and that of the scholar Kaou?” [Mencius] answered, “Kaou says, ‘What you do not find in words, do not seek for in your mind; what you do not find in your mind, do not seek for by passion-effort.’ [This last]—not to seek by passion-effort for what you do not find in your mind—may be conceded; but not to Edition: current; Page: [165] seek in your mind for what you do not find in words ought not to be conceded. For the will is the leader of the passionnature; and the passion-nature pervades and animates the body. The will is [first and] chief, and the passion-nature is subordinate to it. Therefore [I] say, Maintain firm the will, and do no violence to the passion-nature.

10. [Ch‘ow observed], “Since you say that the will is chief and the passion-nature subordinate to it, how do you also say, Maintain firm the will, and do no violence to the passion-nature?” The reply was, “When the will is exclusively active, then it moves the passion-nature; and when the passion-nature is exclusively active, it moves the will. For instance now, the case of a man falling or running is an exertion of his passion-nature, and yet it moves his mind.”

11. “I venture to ask” [said Ch‘ow again], “wherein you, Master, have the superiority.” [Mencius] said, “I understand words. I am skilful in nourishing my vast, flowing, passion-nature.”

12. [Ch‘ow pursued,] “I venture to ask what you mean by your vast, flowing, passion-nature.” The reply was, “It is difficult to describe it.

13. “This is the passion-nature:—It is exceedingly great, and exceedingly strong. Being nourished by rectitude and sustaining no injury, it fills up all between heaven and earth.

14. “This is the passion-nature:—It is the mate and assistant of righteousness and reason. Without this [man’s nature] is in a state of starvation.

15. “It is produced by the accumulation of righteous deeds, and cannot be attained by incidental acts of righteousness. Edition: current; Page: [166] If the mind do not feel complacency in the conduct, [the nature becomes] starved. Hence it is that I say that Kaou has never understood righteousness, because he makes it something external.

16. “There must be the [constant] practice [of righteousness], but without the object [of thereby nourishing the passion-nature]. Let not the mind forget [its work], but let there be no assisting the growth. Let us not be like the man of Sung. There was a man at Sung who was grieved that his growing corn was not longer, and so he pulled it up. He then returned home, looking very stupid, and said to his people, ‘I am very tired to-day; I have been helping the corn to grow long.’ His son ran to look at it, and found the corn all withered. There are few people in the world who [do not deal with their passion-nature as if they] were thus assisting their corn to grow long. Some indeed consider it of no benefit to them, and neglect it;—they do not weed their corn. They who assist it to grow long pull out their corn. [What they do is] not only of no benefit [to the nature], but it also injures it.”

17. [Kung-sun Ch‘ow further asked,] “What do you mean by saying that you understand words?” [Mencius] replied, “When speeches are one-sided, I know how [the mind of the speaker] is clouded over; when they are extravagant, I know wherein [the mind] is snared; when they are all-depraved, I know how [the mind] has departed [from principle]; when they are evasive, I know how [the mind] is at its [wit’s] end. [These evils], growing in the mind, Edition: current; Page: [167] injure the [principles of the] government, and, displayed in the government, are hurtful to the conduct of affairs. When a sage shall again arise, he will certainly agree with [these] my words.”

18. On this Ch‘ow observed, “Tsae Wo and Tsze-kung were clever in making speeches; Jen New, the disciple Min, and Yen Yuen, while their words were good, were distinguished for their virtuous conduct. Confucius united both the qualities, [but still he] said, ‘In the matter of speeches I am not competent.’—Then, Master, have you attained to be a sage?”

19. [Mencius] replied, “Oh! what words are these? Formerly Tsze-kung asked Confucius, saying, ‘Master, are you a sage?’ and was answered, ‘To be a sage is what I cannot [claim]; but I learn without satiety, and teach without being tired.’ Tsze-kung rejoined, ‘You learn without satiety;—that shows your wisdom. You teach without being tired;—that shows your benevolence. Benevolent and wise:—Master, you are a sage.’ Now, since Confucius would not accept the position of a sage, what words were those [you spake about me]?”

20. [Ch‘ow said], “Formerly, it seems to me, I have heard that Tsze-hea, Tsze-yëw, and Tsze-chang had each one member of a sage, and that Jen New, the disciple Min, and Yen Yuen had all the members, but in small proportions. I venture to ask with which of these you are pleased to rank yourself.”

21. [Mencius] replied, “Let us drop [speaking about] these if you please.”

22. [Ch‘ow then] asked, “What do you say of Pih-e and Edition: current; Page: [168] E Yin?” “Their ways,” said [Mencius], “were different [from mine]. Not to serve a prince nor employ a people whom he did not approve; in a time of good government to take office, and in a time of disorder to retire;—this was [the way of] Pih-e. [To say], ‘Whom may I not serve as my ruler? Whom may I not employ as my people?’ In a time of good government to take office, and in a time of disorder to do the same:—this was [the way of] E Yin. When it was proper to go into office, then to go into office, and when it was proper to keep aloof from office, then to keep aloof; when it was proper to continue in it long, then to do so, and when it was proper to withdraw from it quickly, then so to withdraw:—that was [the way of] Confucius. These were all sages of antiquity, and I have not attained to do what they did; but what I wish to do is to learn to be like Confucius.”

23. [Ch‘ow] said, “Comparing Pih-e and E Yin with Confucius, are they to be placed in the same rank with him?” The reply was, “No. Since there were living men until now, there never was [another] Confucius.”

24. “Then,” said [Ch‘ow], “did they have any points of agreement [with him]?” “Yes,” said [Mencius]; “if they had been rulers over a hundred le of territory, they would all of them have brought all the feudal princes to attend at their court, and would have possessed all under the sky And none of them, to obtain that, would have committed one act of unrighteousness, or put to death one innocent person. In these points they agreed with him.”

25. [Ch‘ow] said, “I venture to ask wherein he differed from them.” [Mencius] replied, “Tsae Wo, Tsze-kung, and Yew Joh had wisdom sufficient to know the sage. Edition: current; Page: [169] [Even if we rank them] low, they would not have demeaned themselves to flatter their favourite.

26. “Tsae Wo said, ‘According to my view of the Master, he is far superior to Yaou and Shun.’

27. “Tsze-kung said, ‘By viewing the ceremonial ordinances [of a ruler] we know [the character of] his government; and by hearing his music we know [that of] his virtue. Along the distance of a hundred ages, I can arrange, [according to their merits], the line of their kings, so that not one can escape me; and from the birth of mankind downwards there has not been [another like our] Master.’

28. “Yew Joh said, ‘Is it only among men that it is so? There is the k‘e-lin among quadrupeds, the phœnix among birds, the T‘ae mountain among ant-hills, the Ho and the sea among rain-pools. [Though different in degree], they are the same in kind. And so the sages among mankind are the same in kind. But they stand out from their fellows, and rise up above the crowd; and from the birth of mankind till now there never has been one so complete as Confucius.’ ”

III. 1. Mencius said, “He who, using force, makes a pretence to benevolence becomes the leader of the princes, and he must be possessed of a large State. He who, using virtue, practises benevolence becomes the king, and he need not wait till he has a large State. T‘ang did it with [only] seventy le, and king Wan with [only] a hundred le.

2. “When one by force subdues men they do not submit to him in heart, but because their strength is not adequate Edition: current; Page: [170] [to resist]. When one subdues men by virtue, in their hearts’ core they are pleased, and sincerely submit, as was the case with the seventy disciples in their submission to Confucius. What is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘From the west to the east,
  • From the south to the north,
  • There was not a thought but did him homage,’

is an illustration of this.”

IV. 1. Mencius said, “Benevolence brings glory, and the opposite of it brings disgrace. For [the rulers of] the present day to hate disgrace, and yet live complacently doing what is not benevolent, is like hating moisture and yet living in a low situation.

2. “If [a ruler] hates disgrace, his best course is to esteem virtue and honour [virtuous] scholars, giving the worthiest of them places [of dignity] and the able offices [of trust]. When throughout the State there is leisure and rest [from external troubles], taking advantage of such a season, let him clearly digest the measures of his government with their penal sanctions, and even great States will stand in awe of him.

Edition: current; Page: [171]

3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Before the sky was dark with rain,
  • I gathered the roots of the mulberry tree,
  • And bound round and round my window and door.
  • Now, ye people below,
  • Dare any of you despise my house?’

“Confucius said, ‘Did not he who made this ode understand the way [of governing]?’ Who will dare to insult him who is able rightly to govern his State?

4. “[But] now [the rulers] take advantage of the time when throughout their States there is leisure and rest [from external troubles] to abandon themselves to pleasure and indolent indifference,—thus seeking calamities for themselves.

5. “Calamity and happiness are in all cases men’s own seeking.

6. “This is illustrated by what is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Always strive to accord with the will [of heaven],
  • So shall you be seeking for much happiness;’

and by the passage of the T‘ae-keah, ‘Calamities sent by Heaven may be avoided, but when we bring on the calamities ourselves, it is not possible to live.’ ”

V. 1. Mencius said, “If [a ruler] give honour to men of talents and virtue and employ the able, so that offices shall all be filled by individuals of the highest distinction, Edition: current; Page: [172] then all the scholars of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to stand in his court.

2. “If in the market-places he levy a ground-rent on the shops but do not tax the goods, or enforce the [proper] regulations without levying a ground-rent, then all traders of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to store their goods in his market-places.

3. “If at the frontier-gates there be an inspection of the persons, but no charges levied, then all the travellers of the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to be found on his roads.

4. “If the husbandmen be required to give their material aid [in cultivating the public field], and no levies be made [of the produce of their own], then all the farmers in the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to plough in his fields.

5. “If from the [occupiers of the] people’s dwellings he do not exact the cloth required from the individual [idler] or Edition: current; Page: [173] the quota for residences, then all the people in the kingdom will be pleased, and wish to be his people.

6. “If [a ruler] can truly practise these five things, then the people of neighbouring States will look up to him as a parent. From the first birth of mankind until now never has any one led children to attack their parents, and succeeded in his enterprise. Such [a ruler] will not have an enemy under the sky, and he who has no enemy under the sky is the minister of Heaven. Never has there been such a case where [the ruler] did not attain to the royal dignity.”

VI. 1. Mencius said, “All men have a wind which cannot bear [to see the sufferings of] others.

2. “The ancient kings had this commiserating mind, and they had likewise, as a matter of course, a commiserating Edition: current; Page: [174] government. When with a commiserating mind there was practised a commiserating government, to bring all under heaven to order was [as easy] as to make [a small thing] go round in the palm.

3. “The ground on which I say that all men have a mind which cannot bear [to see the suffering of] others is this:—Even now-a-days, when men suddenly see a child about to fall into a well, they will all experience a feeling of alarm and distress. They will feel so not that they may thereon gain the favour of the child’s parents; nor that they may seek the praise of their neighbours and friends; nor from a dislike to the reputation of [being unmoved by] such a thing.

4. “Looking at the matter from this case, [we may see that] to be without this feeling of distress is not human, and that it is not human to be without the feeling of shame and dislike, or to be without the feeling of modesty and complaisance, or to be without the feeling of approving and disapproving.

5. “That feeling of distress is the principle of benevolence; the feeling of shame and dislike is the principle of righteousness; the feeling of modesty and complaisance is the principle of propriety; and the feeling of approving and disapproving is the principle of knowledge.

6. “Men have these four principles just as they have their four limbs. When men, having these four principles, yet say of themselves that they cannot [manifest them], they play the thief with themselves; and he who says of Edition: current; Page: [175] his ruler that he cannot [manifest them], plays the thief with his ruler.

7. “Since we all have the four principles in ourselves, let us know to give them all their development and completion, and the issue will be like that of a fire which has begun to burn, or of a spring which has begun to find vent. Let them have their full development, and they will suffice to love and protect all [within] the four seas; let them be denied that development, and they will not suffice for a man to serve his parents with.”

VII. 1. Mencius said, “Is the arrow-maker [naturally] more wanting in benevolence than the maker of mail? [And yet], the arrow-maker’s only fear is lest [his arrows] should not wound men, and the fear of the maker of mail is lest men should be wounded. So it is as between the priest and the coffin-maker. [The choice of] a profession therefore is a thing in which it is very necessary to be careful.

2. “Confucius said, ‘The excellence of a neighbourhood consists in its virtuous manners. If a man, in selecting a residence, do not fix on one where such prevail, how can he be wise?’ Now benevolence belongs to the most honourable nobility of Heaven, and is the quiet home where man should dwell. Since no one can hinder us from being so, if we are not benevolent, this shows our want of wisdom.

Edition: current; Page: [176]

3. “He who is [thus] neither benevolent nor wise will be without propriety and righteousness, and must be the servant of [other] men. To be the servant of men and yet ashamed of such servitude is like a bow-maker’s being ashamed to make bows, or an arrow-maker’s being ashamed to make arrows.

4. “If [a man] be ashamed of being in such a case, his best course is to practise benevolence.

5. “He who [would be] benevolent is like the archer. The archer adjusts himself, and then shoots. If he shoot and do not hit, he does not murmur against those who surpass himself:—he simply turns round, and seeks the [cause of failure] in himself.”

VIII. 1. Mencius said, “When any one told Tsze-loo that he had a fault, he was glad.

2. “When Yu heard good words, he bowed [to the speaker].

3. “The great Shun had a [still] greater [quality]:—he regarded goodness as the common property of himself and others, giving up his own way to follow others, and delighting to copy [the example of] others,—in order to practise what was good.

4. “From the time that he ploughed and sowed, exercised the potter’s art and was a fisherman, to that when he was emperor, he was always learning from others.

Edition: current; Page: [177]

5. “To take example from others to practise what is good is to help men in the same practice. Therefore there is no attribute of the superior man greater than his helping men to practise what is good.”

IX. 1. Mencius said, “Pih-e would not serve a ruler whom he did not approve, nor be friendly with any one whom he did not esteem. He would not stand in the court of a bad man, nor speak with a bad man. To stand in a bad man’s court, or to speak with a bad man, would have been in his estimation the same as to stand with his court robes and court cap amid mire and charcoal. Pursuing our examination of his dislike to what was evil, [we find] that he thought it necessary, if he were standing with a villager whose cap was not rightly adjusted, to leave him with a high air as if he were going to be defiled. Hence it was, that, though some of the princes made application to him with very proper messages, he would not accept [their invitations]. That refusal to accept [their invitations] was because he counted it inconsistent with his purity to go to them.

2. “Hwuy of Lëw-hëa was not ashamed [to serve] an impure ruler, nor did he think it low to be in a small office. When called to employment, he did not keep his talents and virtue concealed, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When neglected and left out of office, he did not murmur; and when straitened by poverty, he did not grieve. Accordingly, he would say, ‘You are you, and I am I. Although you stand by my side with bare arms and breast, how can you defile me?’ In this way, self-possessed, he associated with men indifferently, and did not feel that he lost himself. If pressed to remain in office, he would remain. He would remain in office when so pressed, because he did not feel that his purity required him to go away.”

3. Mencius said, “Pih-e was narrow-minded, and Hwuy of Edition: current; Page: [178] Lëw-hëa was wanting in self-respect. The superior man will not follow either narrow-mindedness or the want of self-respect.”

KUNG-SUN CH‘OW. PART II.

Chapter I. 1. Mencius said, “Opportunities of time [vouchsafed by] Heaven are not equal to advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth, and advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth are not equal to the strength [arising from the] accord of men.

2. “[There is a city], with an inner wall of three le in circumference and an outer wall of seven. [The enemy] surround and attack it, but are not able to take it. Now, to surround and attack it, there must have been vouchsafed to them by Heaven the opportunity of time, and in such case their not taking it is because opportunities of time [vouchsafed by] Heaven are not equal to advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth.

3. “[There is a city] whose walls are as high and moats Edition: current; Page: [179] as deep as could be desired, and where the arms and mail [of its defenders] are distinguished for their sharpness and strength, and the [stores of] rice and grain are abundant; yet it has to be given up and abandoned. This is because advantages of situation [afforded by] the earth are not equal to the [strength arising from the] accord of men.

4. “In accordance with these principles it is said, ‘A people is bounded in not by the limits of dykes and borders; a State is secured not by the strengths of mountains and streams; the kingdom is overawed not by the sharpness of arms [and strength] of mail.’ He who finds the proper course has many to assist him, and he who loses it has few. When this—the being assisted by few—reaches the extreme point, [a ruler’s] own relatives and connexions revolt from him. When the being assisted by many reaches its extreme point, all under heaven become obedient [to the ruler].

5. “When one to whom all under heavenare are prepared to become obedient attacks one from whom his own relatives and connexions are ready to revolt, [what must the result be?] Therefore the true ruler will [prefer] not [to] fight, but if he do fight, he is sure to overcome.”

II. 1. As Mencius was about to go to court to the king, the king sent a person to him with this message:—“I was wishing to come and see you. But I have got a cold, and may not expose myself to the wind. In the morning I will hold my court. I do not know whether you will give me the opportunity of seeing you?” [Mencius] replied, Edition: current; Page: [180] “Unfortunately I am unwell, and not able to go to court.”

2. Next day he went out to pay a visit of condolence to the Tung-kwoh family, when Kung-sun Ch‘ow said to him, “Yesterday you declined [going to the court] on the ground of being unwell, and to-day you are paying a visit of condolence:—may not this be regarded as improper?” “Yesterday,” said [Mencius], “I was unwell; to-day I am better:—why should I not pay this visit?”

3. [In the mean time] the king sent a messenger to inquire about his illness, and a physician [also] came [from the court]. Măng Chung replied to them, “Yesterday, when the king’s order came, he was feeling a little unwell, and could not go to the court. To-day he was a little better and hastened to go to court. I do not know whether he can have reached it [by this time] or not.” [Having said this,] he sent several men to intercept [Mencius] on the way, and say to him that he begged him, before he returned, to be sure and go to the court.

4. [On this, Mencius] felt himself compelled to go to King Ch‘ow’s, and there stop the night. The officer King said to him, “In the family there is [the relation of] father and son; beyond it there is [that of] ruler and minister. These are the greatest relations among men. Between father and Edition: current; Page: [181] son the ruling principle is kindness; between ruler and minister the ruling principle is respect. I have seen the respect of the king to you, Sir, but I have not seen in what way you show respect to him.” The reply was, “Oh! what words are these? Among the people of Ts‘e there is no one who speaks to the king about benevolence and righteousness. Is it because they think that benevolence and righteousness are not admirable? No; but in their hearts they say, ‘This man is not fit to be spoken with about benevolence and righteousness.’ Thus they manifest a disrespect than which there can be none greater. I do not dare to set forth before the king any but the ways of Yaou and Shun. There is therefore no man of Ts‘e who respects the king so much as I do.”

5. King-tsze said, “Not so; that was not what I meant. In the Book of Rites it is said, ‘When a father calls, the son must go to him without a moment’s hesitation; when the prince’s order calls, the carriage must not be waited for.’ You were certainly going to court, but when you heard the king’s message, you did not carry the purpose out. This does seem as if your conduct were not in accordance with that rule of propriety.”

6. [Mencius] answered him, “How can you give that meaning to my conduct? The philosopher Tsăng said, ‘The wealth of Tsin and Ts‘oo cannot be equalled. Their [rulers] have their wealth, and I have my benevolence. They have their rank; and I have my righteousness. Wherein should I be dissatisfied [as inferior to them]?’ Now were these sentiments not right? Seeing that the philosopher Tsăng gave expression to them, there is in them, I apprehend, a [real] principle. Under heaven there are three things universally acknowledged to be honourable:—rank; years; and virtue. In courts, rank holds the first place of the three; in villages, years; and for helping one’s generation and presiding over the people, virtue. How can the possession of only one of them be presumed on to despise one who possesses the other two?

Edition: current; Page: [182]

7. “Therefore, a prince who is to accomplish great deeds will certainly have ministers whom he does not call to go to him. When he wishes to consult with them, he goes to them. [The ruler] who does not honour the virtuous and delight in their ways of doing to this extent is not worth having to do with.

8. “Accordingly, so did T‘ang behave to E Yin:—he learned of him, and then employed him as his minister, and so without difficulty he became king. And so did duke Hwan behave to Kwan Chung:—he learned of him, and then employed him as his minister, and so without difficulty he became leader of the princes.

9. “Now throughout the kingdom [the territories of] the princes are of equal extent and in their achievements they are on a level. Not one of them is able to exceed the others. This is from no other reason but that they love to make ministers of those whom they teach, and do not love to make ministers of those by whom they might be taught.

10. “So did T‘ang behave to E Yin, and duke Hwan to Kwan Chung, that they would not venture to call them [to them]. If even Kwan Chung could not be called to him [by his ruler], how much less may he be called who would not play the part of Kwan Chung!”

III. 1. Ch‘in Tsin asked [Mencius], saying, “Formerly, Edition: current; Page: [183] when you were in Ts‘e, the king sent you a present of 2,000 taels of fine silver, and you refused to accept it. When you were in Sung, 1,400 taels were sent to you, which you accepted; and when you were in Sëeh, 1,000 taels were sent, which you [likewise] accepted. If your declining the gift in the first case was right, your accepting it in the latter cases was wrong. If your accepting it in the latter cases was right, your declining it in the first case was wrong. You must accept, Master, one of these alternatives.”

2. Mencius said, “I did right in all the cases.

3. “When I was in Sung, I was about to take a long journey. Travellers must be provided with what is necessary for their expenses. The [prince’s] message was—‘A present against travelling expenses.’ Why should I not have received it?

4. “When I was in Sëeh, I was apprehensive for my safety, and wished to take measures for my protection. The message [with the gift] was—‘I have heard that you are apprehensive for your safety, and therefore I send you this to help you in procuring weapons.’ Why should I not have received it?

5. “But as to the case in Ts‘e, I had then no occasion for money. To send a man a gift, when he has no occasion for it, is to bribe him. How can one claim to be a superior man, and allow himself to be taken with a bribe?”

IV. 1. Mencius, having gone to P‘ing-luh, said to the Edition: current; Page: [184] governor of it, “If [one of] your spearmen should lose his place in the ranks three times in one day, would you, Sir, put him to death or not?” “I would not wait till he had done so three times,” was the reply.

2. [Mencius] continued, “Well then, you, Sir, have lost your place in the ranks many times. In calamitous years and years of famine, the old and feeble of your people who have been found lying in ditches and water-channels, and the able-bodied who have been scattered about to the four quarters, have amounted to thousands.” “This is not a case in which I, Keu-sin, can take it upon me to act.”

3. “Here,” said [Mencius], “is a man who receives charge of the sheep and cattle of another, and undertakes to feed them for him;—of course he must seek for pasture-ground and grass for them. If, after seeking for these, he cannot find them, will he return his charge to the owner? or will he stand [by] and see them die?” “Herein,” said [the governor], “I am guilty.”

4. Another day Mencius had an audience of the king, and said to him, “Of the governors of your Majesty’s cities I am acquainted with five; but the only one who knows his fault is K‘ung Keu-sin.” He then related to the king the conversation which he had had [with that officer], and the king said, “In this matter I am the guilty one.”

V. 1. Mencius said to Ch‘e Wa, “There seemed to be reason in your declining [the governorship] of Ling-k‘ëw, Edition: current; Page: [185] and requesting to be appointed chief criminal judge, because the [latter office] would afford you the opportunity of speaking your mind. But now several months have elapsed; and have you found nothing about which you might speak?”

2. [On this] Ch‘e Wa remonstrated [on some matter] with the king; and, his counsel not being taken, he resigned his office, and went away.

3. The people of Ts‘e said, “In the course which he marked out for Ch‘e Wa he did well; but as to the course which he pursues for himself, we do not know.”

4. His disciple Kung Too told him these remarks.

5. [Mencius] said, “I have heard that when he, who is in charge of an office, is prevented from performing its duties, he should take his departure, and that he on whom is the responsibility of giving his opinions, when his words are disregarded, should do the same. [But] I am in charge of no office, and on me is no responsibility to speak out my views;—may not I act freely and without restraint either in going forward or in retiring?”

VI. 1. Mencius, occupying the position of a high dignitary in Ts‘e, went from it on a mission of condolence to T‘ăng, and the king sent Wang Hwan, governor of Kah, [with him] as assistant-commissioner. Wang Hwan, morning and evening, waited upon him, but, during all the way to T‘ăng and back to Ts‘e, [Mencius] never spoke to him about the affairs of the mission.

Edition: current; Page: [186]

2. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said [to Mencius], “The position of a high dignitary of Ts‘e is not a small one, and the way from Ts‘e to T‘ăng is not short;—how was it that during all the way from Ts‘e to T‘ăng and back, you never spoke [to Hwan] about the affairs of the mission?” “There were the proper parties to attend to them; why should I speak [to him about them]?”

VII. 1. Mencius [went] from Ts‘e to bury [his mother] in Loo. When he returned to Ts‘e, he stopped at Ying, and Ch‘ung Yu begged [to put a question to] him, saying, “Formerly, in ignorance of my incompetency, you employed me to superintend the business of making the coffin. As [you were then pressed by] the urgency [of the business], I did not venture to put any question to you; but now I wish to take the liberty to submit the matter. The wood, it appeared to me, was too good.”

2. [Mencius] replied, “Anciently, there was no rule for [the thickness of] either the inner or the outer coffin. In Edition: current; Page: [187] middle antiquity, the inner coffin was made seven inches thick, and the outer the same. This was done by all from the son of Heaven down to the common people, and not simply for the beauty of the appearance, but because they thus satisfied [the natural feelings of] the human heart.

3. “If prevented [by statutory regulations] from making their coffins thus, men cannot have the feeling of pleasure; and if they have not the money [to make them thus], they cannot have that feeling. When they were not prevented, and had the money, the ancients all used this style;—why should I alone not do so?

4. “And moreover, is this alone no satisfaction to a man’s heart—to prevent the earth from getting near to the bodies of his dead?

5. “I have heard that the superior man will not for all the world be niggardly to his parents.”

VIII. 1. Shin T‘ung, on his private authority, asked [Mencius], saying, “May Yen be attacked?” Mencius said, “It may. Tsze-k‘wae had no right to give Yen to another man; and Tsze-che had no right to receive Yen from Tsze-k‘wae. [Suppose] there were an officer here, with whom you, Sir, were pleased, and that, without announcing the matter to the king, you were privately to give to him your salary and rank, and [suppose that] this officer, also without the king’s orders, were privately to receive them from you;—would [such a transaction] be Edition: current; Page: [188] allowable? And where is the difference between [the case of Yen and] this?”

2. The people of Ts‘e attacked Yen, and some one asked [Mencius] saying, “Is it true that you advised Ts‘e to attack Yen?” He replied, “No. Shin T‘ung asked me whether Yen might be attacked, and I replied that it might, on which they proceeded to attack it. If he had asked me who might attack it, I would have answered him that the minister of Heaven might do so. Suppose the case of a murderer, and that one asked me, ‘May this man be put to death?’ I would answer him, ‘He may.’ If he [further] asked me, ‘Who may put him to death?’ I would answer him, ‘The chief criminal judge.’ But now with [one] Yen to attack [another] Yen:—how should I have advised this?”

IX. 1. The people of Yen having rebelled, the king said, “I am very much ashamed [when I think] of Mencius.”

2. Ch‘in Këa said [to him], “Let not your Majesty be troubled. Whether does your Majesty consider yourself or the duke of Chow the more benevolent and wise?” The king replied, “Oh! what words are these?” [Ch‘in Kea] rejoined, “The duke of Chow employed Kwan-shuh to over-see [the heir of] Yin, but Kwan-shuh rebelled with [the people of] Yin. If, knowing [that this would happen], he yet employed him, he was not benevolent. If he Edition: current; Page: [189] employed him without knowing it, he was not wise. The duke of Chow was [thus] not perfectly benevolent and wise, and how much less can your Majesty be expected to be so! I beg to [go and] see Mencius, and relieve [your Majesty] of that [feeling].”

3. [Accordingly] he saw Mencius, and asked him, saying, “What kind of man was the duke of Chow?” “An ancient sage,” was the reply. “Is it true,” pursued [the other], “that he employed Kwan-shuh to oversee [the heir of] Yin, and that Kwan-shuh rebelled with [the people of] Yin?” “It is,” said [Mencius]. [Ch‘in Kea] asked, “Did the duke of Chow know that he would rebel, and [thereupon] employ him?” “He did not know it,” was the reply. “Then though a sage, he still fell into error.” “The duke of Chow,” said [Mencius], “was the younger brother, and Kwan-shuh the elder. Was not the error of the duke of Chow reasonable?

4. “Moreover, when the superior men of old had errors, they reformed them; but when the superior men of the present day have errors, they persist in them. The errors of the superior men of old were like the eclipses of the sun and moon. All the people witness them; and when they have resumed their usual appearance, all the people look up to them [with their former admiration]. But do superior men of the present day merely persist [in their errors]?—they go on to make excuses for them as well.”

X. 1. Mencius gave up his office [in Ts‘e], and [was preparing to] return [to his native State].

Edition: current; Page: [190]

2. The king went to see him, and said, “Formerly I wished to see you, but found no opportunity to do so. When I got that opportunity, and stood by you in the same court, I was exceedingly glad. [But] now again you are abandoning me and returning home;—I do not know if hereafter I may have another opportunity of seeing you.” “I do not venture to make any request,” was the reply, “but indeed it is what I desire.”

3. Another day, the king said to the officer She, “I wish to give Mencius a house in the centre of the kingdom, and to support his disciples with [an allowance of] 10,000 chung, so that all the great officers and people may have [such an example] to reverence and imitate. Had you not better tell him this for me?”

4. The officer She conveyed this message by means of the disciple Ch‘in, who reported his words to Mencius.

5. Mencius said, “Yes; but how should the officer She know that the thing may not be? Supposing that I wanted to be rich, having declined 100,000 chung, would my accepting 10,000 be the conduct of one desiring riches?

Edition: current; Page: [191]

6. “Ke-sun said, ‘A strange man was Tsze-shuh E! Suppose that he himself was a high minister, if [his prince would] no longer employ him, he had to retire; but he would again [try to] get one of his younger relatives to be high minister. Who indeed is there of men that does not wish to be rich and noble, but he only, among the rich and noble, sought to monopolize the conspicuous mound.’

7. “In old time the market-dealers exchanged the articles which they had for others which they had not, and simply had certain officers to keep them in order. There was a mean fellow, who made it a point to look out for a conspicuous mound, and get up upon it. Thence he looked right and left to catch in his net the whole gain of the market. People all thought his conduct mean, and therefore they proceeded to lay a tax upon his wares. The taxing of traders took its rise from this mean fellow.”

XI. 1. Mencius, having left [the capital of] T‘se, was passing the night in Chow.

2. A person who wished for the king to detain him [came Edition: current; Page: [192] and] sat down [to speak with him]. [Mencius] gave him no answer, but leant upon his stool and slept.

3. The stranger was displeased, and said, “I have fasted for two days before I would venture to speak with you, and [now], Master, you sleep and do not listen to me. Allow me to request that I may not again presume to see you.” [Mencius] said, “Sit down, and I will explain the matter clearly to you. Formerly, if duke Muh of Loo had not had persons [continually] by the side of Tsze-sze, he could not have kept Tsze-sze [in his State]; and if Sëeh Lëw and Shin Ts‘ëang had not had persons by the side of duke Muh, they would not have been able to feel at rest [in remaining in Loo].

4. “You, Sir, are concerned and plan about an old man like me, but I have not been treated as Tsze-sze was. Is it you, Sir, who cut me? Or is it I who cut you?”

XII. 1. Mencius having left Ts‘e, Yin Sze spake about him to others, saying, “If he did not know that the king could not be made a T‘ang or a Woo, that showed his want of intelligence. If he knew that he could not be made such, and yet came [to Ts‘e] notwithstanding, that he was Edition: current; Page: [193] seeking for favours. He came a thousand le to wait upon the king. Because he did not find in him the ruler he wished, he took his leave. Three nights he stayed, and then passed from Chow;—how dilatory and lingering [was his departure]! I am dissatisfied on account of this.”

3. The disciple Kaou informed [Mencius] of these remarks.

4. [Mencius] said, “How should Yin Sze know me? When I came a thousand le to see the king, it was what I desired to do. When I went away, not finding in him the ruler that I wished, was that what I desired to do? I felt myself constrained to do it.

5. “When I stayed three nights before I passed from Chow, in my own mind I still considered my departure speedy. I was hoping that the king might change. If the king had changed, he would certainly have recalled me.

6. “When I passed from Chow, and the king had not sent after me, then, and only then, was my mind resolutely bent on returning [to Tsow]. But notwithstanding that, was I giving the king up? He is after all one who may be made to do what is good. If the king were to use me, would it be for the happiness of the people of Ts‘e only? It would be for the happiness of all under heaven. Would the king but change! I am daily hoping for this.

7. “Am I like one of your little-minded people? They will remonstrate with their ruler, and when their remonstrance is not accepted, they get angry, and with their passion displayed in their countenance, they take their leave, and travel with all their strength for a whole day before they will stop for the night.”

8. When Yin Sze heard this [explanation], he said, “I am indeed a small man.”

XIII. 1. When Mencius left Ts‘e, Ch‘ung Yu questioned Edition: current; Page: [194] him on the way, saying, “Master, you look like one who carries an air of dissatisfaction in his countenance. [But] formerly I heard you say that the superior man does not murmur against Heaven, nor cherish a grudge against men.”

2. [Mencius] said, “That was one time, and this is another.

3. “It is a rule that a true sovereign should arise in the course of five hundred years, and that during that time there should be men illustrious in their generation.

4. “From the commencement of the Chow dynasty till now, more than seven hundred years have elapsed. Judging numerically, the date is passed. Considering the matter from the [character of the present] time, we might expect [a true king to arise].

5. “But Heaven does not yet wish that tranquillity and good order should prevail all under the sky. If it wished this, who is there besides me to bring it about? How should I be otherwise than dissatisfied?”

XIV. 1. When Mencius left Ts‘e, he dwelt in Hew. Edition: current; Page: [195] [There] Kung-sun Ch‘ow asked him, “Was it the way of the ancients to hold office without receiving salary?”

2. [Mencius] said, “No. When I first saw the king in Ts‘ung, it was my intention, on retiring from the interview, to go away. Because I did not wish to change this intention, I would not receive [any salary].

3. “Immediately after, orders were issued for [the collection of] troops, when it would have been improper for me to beg [permission to leave]. [But] to remain long in Ts‘e was not my purpose.”

Edition: current; Page: [196]

BOOK III.*

T‘ĂNG WĂN KUNG. PART I.

Chapter I. 1. When duke Wăn of T‘ang was heir-son, being on a journey to Ts‘oo he passed by [the capital of] Sung, and had an interview with Mencius.

2. Mencius discoursed to him how the nature of man is good, and, in speaking, made laudatory appeal to Yaou and Shun.

3. When the heir-son was returning from Ts‘oo, he again saw Mencius, when the latter said to him, “Prince, do you doubt my words? The path is one, and only one.

Edition: current; Page: [197]

4. “Ch‘ing Kan said to duke King of Ts‘e, ‘They were men, [and] I am a man;—why should I stand in awe of them?’ Yeu Yuen said, ‘What kind of man was Shun? What kind of man am I? He who exerts himself will also become such as he was.’ Kung-ming E said, ‘King Wăn is my teacher and model;—how should the duke of Chow deceive me [by these words]?’

5. “Now T‘ăng, taking its length with its breadth, will amount to about fifty square le. [Though small,] it may still be made a good kingdom. It is said in the Book of History, ‘If medicine do not distress the patient, it will not cure his sickness.’ ”

II. 1. When duke Ting of T‘ăng died, the heir-son said to Jen Yëw, “Formerly, Mencius spoke with me in Sung, and I have never forgotten his words. Now, alas! this great affair [of the death of my father] has happened, and I wish to send you, Sir, to ask Mencius, and then to proceed to the services [connected with it].”

2. Jen Yëw [accordingly] proceeded to Tsow, and consulted Mencius. Mencius said, “Is not this good? The mourning rites for parents are what men feel constrained to do their utmost in. The philosopher Tsăng said, ‘When parents are alive, they should be served according to [the Edition: current; Page: [198] rules of] propriety; when dead, they should be buried, and they should be sacrificed to, according to the same:—this may be called filial piety.’ I have not learned [for myself] the ceremonies to be observed by the feudal princes, but nevertheless I have heard these points:—Three years’ mourning, with the wearing the garment of coarse cloth with its lower edge even, and the eating of thin congee, have been equally prescribed by the three dynasties, and are binding on all, from the son of Heaven to the common people.”

3. Jen Yew reported the execution of his commission, and [the prince] determined that the three years’ mourning should be observed. His uncles and elder cousins, and the body of the officers, did not wish it, and said, “The former rulers of Loo, the State which we honour, have, none of them, observed this mourning, nor have any of our own former rulers observed it. For you to change their practice is improper; and moreover, the History says, ‘In mourning and sacrifice ancestors are to be followed,’ meaning that we have received those things from a [proper] source.”

4. [The prince again] said to Jen Yew, “Hitherto I have not given myself to the pursuit of learning, but have found my pleasure in driving my horses and in sword-exercise. Now my uncles and elder cousins and the body of officers Edition: current; Page: [199] are not satisfied with me. I am afraid I may not be able to carry out [this] great business; do you, Sir, [again go and] ask Mencius for me.” Jen Yëw went again to Tsow, and consulted Mencius, who said, “Yes, but this is not a matter in which he has to look to any one but himself. Confucius said, ‘When a ruler died, his successor entrusted the administration to the prime minister. He sipped the congee, and his face looked very dark. He went to the [proper] place, and wept. Of all the officers and inferior employés there was not one who did not dare not to be sad, when [the prince thus] set them the example. What the superior loves, his inferiors will be found to love still more. The relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the wind and the grass. The grass must bend when the wind blows upon it.’ The [whole thing] depends on the heir-son.”

5. Jen Yëw returned with this answer to his commission, and the prince said, “Yes; it does indeed depend on me.” For five months he dwelt in the shed, and did not issue an order or a caution. The body of officers and his relatives Edition: current; Page: [200] [said], “He may be pronounced acquainted [with all the ceremonies].” When the time of interment arrived, they came from all quarters to see it, with the deep dejection of his countenance, and the mournfulness of his wailing and weeping. Those who [had come from other States to] condole with him were greatly pleased.

III. 1. Duke Wăn of T‘ăng asked [Mencius] about [the proper way of] governing a State.

2. Mencius said, “The business of the people must not be remissly attended to. It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘In the daytime collect the grass,
  • And at night twist it into ropes.
  • Then get up quickly on our roofs:—
  • We shall have to recommence our sowing.’

3. “The way of the people is this:—Those who have a certain livelihood have a fixed heart, and those who have not a certain livelihood have not a fixed heart. If they have not a fixed heart, there is nothing which they will not do in the way of self-abandonment, of moral deflection, of depravity, and of wild license. When they have thus been involved in crime, to follow them up and punish them is to entrap the people. How can such a thing as entrapping the people be done under the rule of a benevolent man?

Edition: current; Page: [201]

4. “Therefore a ruler endowed with talents and virtue will be gravely complaisant and economical, showing a respectful politeness to his ministers, and taking from the people only according to definite regulations.

5. “Yang Hoo said, ‘He who seeks to be rich will not be benevolent; and he who seeks to be benevolent will not be rich.’

6. “[Under] the sovereigns of Hëa, [each farmer received] fifty acres, and contributed [a certain tax]. [Under] those of Yin, [each farmer received] seventy acres, and [eight families] helped [to cultivate the public acres]. Under those of Chow, [each farmer received] a hundred acres, and [the produce] was allotted in shares. In reality what was paid in all these was a tithe. The share system means division; the aid system means mutual dependence.

7. “Lung-tsze said, ‘For regulating the land there is no better system than that of mutual aid, and none worse than Edition: current; Page: [202] that of contributing a certain tax. According to the tax system it was fixed by taking the average of several years. In good years, when the grain lies about in abundance, much might be taken without its being felt to be oppressive, and the actual exaction is small. In bad years, when [the produce] is not sufficient to [repay] the manuring of the fields, this system still requires the taking of the full amount. When he who should be the parent of the people causes the people to wear looks of distress, and, after the whole year’s toil, yet not to be able to nourish their parents, and moreover to set about borrowing to increase [their means of paying the tax], till their old people and children are found lying in the ditches and water-channels:—where [in such a case] is his parental relation to the people?’

8. “As to the system of hereditary salaries, that is already observed in T‘ăng.

9. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘May it rain first on our public fields,
  • And then come to our private!’

It is only in the system of mutual aid, that there are the public fields, and from this passage we perceive that even in the Chow dynasty this system has been recognized.

10. “Establish ts‘eang, seu, heoh, and heaou,—[all these educational institutions]—for the instruction [of the people]. The name ts‘eang indicates nourishing; heaou indicates teaching; and seu indicates archery. By the Hea dynasty the name heaou was used; by the Yin dynasty that of seu; and by the Chow dynasty that of ts‘eang. As to the heoh, Edition: current; Page: [203] they belonged equally to the three dynasties, [and by that name]. The object of them all is to illustrate the [duties of the] human relations. When these are [thus] illustrated by superiors, mutual affection will prevail among the smaller people below.

11. “Should a [true] king arise, he will certainly come and take an example [from you], and thus you will be the teacher of the [true] king.

12. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Although Chow was an old State,
  • The [favouring] appointment lighted on it recently.’

That is said with reference to king Wăn. Do you practise those things with vigour, and you will also give a new history to your State.”

13. [The duke afterwards] sent Peih Chen to ask about the nine-squares system of dividing the land. Mencius said to him, “Since your ruler, wishing to put in practice a benevolent government, has made choice of you, and put you into this employment, you must use all your efforts. Benevolent government must commonce with the definition of the boundaries. If the boundaries be not defined correctly, the division of the land into squares will not be equal, and the produce [available for] salaries will not be evenly distributed. On this account, oppressive rulers and impure ministers are sure to Edition: current; Page: [204] neglect the defining of the boundaries. When the boundaries have been defined correctly, the division of the fields and the regulation of the salaries may be determined [by you] sitting [at your ease].

14. “Although the territory of T‘ăng be narrow and small, there must be in it, I apprehend, men of a superior grade, and there must be in it country-men. If there were not men of a superior grade, there would be none to rule the country-men; if there were not country-men, there would be none to support the men of superior grade.

15. “I would ask you, in the [purely] country districts, to observe the nine-squares division, having one square cultivated on the system of mutual aid; and in the central parts of the State, to levy a tenth, to be paid by the cultivators themselves.

16. “From the highest officers downwards, each one must have [his] holy field, consisting of fifty acres.

17. “Let the supernumerary males have [their] twenty-five acres.

18. “On occasions of death, or of removing from one dwelling to another, there will be no quitting the district. In the fields of a district, those who belong to the same nine-squares render all friendly offices to one another in their going out and coming in, aid one another in keeping watch and ward, and sustain one another in sickness. Thus the people will be led to live in affection and harmony.

Edition: current; Page: [205]

19. “A square le covers nine squares of land, which nine squares contain nine hundred acres. The central square contains the public fields; and eight families, each having its own hundred acres, cultivate them together. And it is not till the public work is finished that they presume to attend to their private fields. [This is] the way by which the country-men are distinguished [from those of a superior grade].

20. “These are the great outlines [of the system]. Happily to modify and adapt them depends on your ruler and you.”

IV. 1. There came from Ts‘oo to T‘ăng one Heu Hing, who gave out that he acted according to the words of Shin-nung. Coming right to his gate, he addressed duke Wăn, Edition: current; Page: [206] saying, “A man of a distant region, I have heard that you, O ruler, are practising a benevolent government, and I wish to receive a site for a house, and to become one of your people.” Duke Wăn gave him a dwelling-place. His disciples, amounting to several tens, all wore clothes of hair-cloth, and made sandals of hemp and wove mats for a living.

2. Ch‘in Sëang, a disciple of Ch‘in Lëang, with his younger brother Sin, with their plough-handles and shares on their backs, came [at the same time] from Sung to T‘ăng, saying, “We have heard that you, O ruler, are putting into practice the government of the [ancient] sages, [showing that] you are likewise a sage: we wish to be the subjects of a sage.”

3. When Ch‘in Seang saw Heu Hing, he was very much pleased with him, and, abandoning all which he had learned, he set about learning from him. Having an interview with Mencius, he repeated to him the words of Heu Hing to this effect:—“The ruler of T‘ăng is indeed a worthy prince, but nevertheless he has not yet heard the [real] ways [of antiquity]. Wise and able rulers should cultivate the ground equally and along with their people, and eat [the fruit of their own labour]. They should prepare their morning and evening meals [themselves], and [at the same time] carry on the business of government. But now [the ruler of] T‘ăng has his granaries, treasuries, and arsenals, which is a distressing of the people to support himself;—how can he be deemed a [real] ruler of talents and virtue?”

Edition: current; Page: [207]

4. Mencius said, “Mr Heu, I suppose, sows grain and eats [the produce].” “Yes,” was the reply. “I suppose he [also] weaves cloth, and wears his own manufacture.” “No, he wears clothes of hair-cloth.” “Does he wear a cap?” “He wears a cap.” “What kind of cap?” “A plain cap.” “Is it woven by himself?” “No; he gets it in exchange for grain.” “Why does he not weave it himself?” “That would be injurious to his husbandry.” “Does he cook his food with boilers and earthenware pans, and plough with an iron share?” “Yes.” “Does he make them himself?” “No; he gets them in exchange for grain.”

5. [Mencius then said], “The getting such articles in exchange for grain is not oppressive to the potter and founder; and are the potter and founder oppressive to the husbandman, when they give him their various articles in exchange for grain? Moreover, why does Heu not act the potter and founder, and supply himself with the articles which he uses solely from his own establishment? Why does he go confusedly dealing and exchanging with the handicraftsmen? Why is he so indifferent to the trouble that he takes?” [Ch‘in Seang replied], “The business of the handicraftsmen can by no means be carried on along with that of husbandry.”

6. [Mencius resumed], “Then is it the government of all under heaven which alone can be carried on along with the business of husbandry? Great men have their proper business, and little men have theirs. Moreover, in the case of any single individual, [whatever articles he can require are] ready to his hand, being produced by the various handicraftsmen:—if he must first make them himself for his own use, this would keep all under heaven running about on the roads. Hence there is the saying, ‘Some labour with their minds, and some labour with their strength. Those who labour with their minds govern others, and those who labour with their strength are governed by others. Those who are governed by others support them, and those who govern Edition: current; Page: [208] others are supported by them.’ This is a thing of right universally recognized.

7. “In the time of Yaou, when the world had not yet been perfectly reduced to order, the vast waters, flowing out of their channels, made a universal inundation. Vegetation was luxuriant, and birds and beasts swarmed. The five kinds of grain could not be grown, and the birds and beasts pressed upon men. The paths marked by the feet of beasts and prints of birds crossed one another throughout the Middle States. To Yaou especially this caused anxious sorrow. He called Shun to office, and measures to regulate the disorder were set forth. Shun committed to Yih the direction of the fire to be employed, and he set fire to, and consumed, [the forests and vegetation on] the mountains and [in] the marshes, so that the birds and beasts fled away and hid themselves. Yu separated the nine [streams of the] Ho, cleared the courses of the Tse and the T‘ah, and led them to the sea. He opened a vent for the Joo and the Han, removed the obstructions in the channels of the Hwae and the Sze, and led them to the Këang. When this was done, it became possible for [the people of] the Middle States to [cultivate the ground, and] get food [for themselves]. During that time, Yu was eight years away from his house, thrice passing by his door without entering it. Although he had wished to cultivate the ground, could he have done it?

Edition: current; Page: [209]

8. “How-tseih taught the people to sow and reap, cultivating the five kinds of grain; and when these were brought to maturity, the people all enjoyed a comfortable subsistence. [But] to men there belongs the way [in which they should go]; and if they are well fed, warmly clad, and comfortably lodged, without being taught [at the same time], they become almost like the beasts. This also was a subject of anxious solicitude to the sage [Shun]; and he appointed Sëeh to be minister of Instruction, and to teach the relations of humanity!—how, between father and son, there should be affection; between ruler and subject, righteousness; between husband and wife, attention to their separate functions; between old and young, a proper distinction; and between friends, fidelity. Fang-heun said, ‘Encourage them; lead them on; rectify them; straighten them; help them; give them wings; causing them to become masters of their own [nature] for themselves.’ When the sages were exercising their solicitude for the people in this way, had they leisure to cultivate the ground?

Edition: current; Page: [210]

9. “What Yaou felt as peculiarly giving him anxiety was the not getting Shun; and what Shun felt as peculiarly giving him anxiety was the not getting Yu and Kaou Yaou. But he whose anxiety is about his hundred acres’ not being properly cultivated is a [mere] husbandman.

10. “The imparting by a man to others of his wealth is called ‘a kindness.’ The teaching others what is good is called ‘an exercise of fidelity.’ The finding a man who shall benefit all under heaven is called ‘benevolence.’ Hence to give the kingdom to another man would be easy; to find a man who shall benefit it is difficult.

11. “Confucius said, ‘Great was Yaou as a ruler! Only Heaven is great, and only Yaou corresponded to it. How vast [was his virtue]! The people could find no name for it. Princely indeed was Shun! How majestic was he, possessing all under heaven, and yet seeming as if it were nothing to him!’ In their governing all under heaven, had Yaou and Shun no subjects with which they occupied their minds? But they did not occupy them with their own cultivation of the ground.

12. “I have heard of men using [the ways of our] great land to change barbarians, but I have not yet heard of any being changed by barbarians. Ch‘in Lëang was a native of Ts‘oo. Pleased with the doctrines of the dukes of Chow and Chung-ne, he came north to the Middle States and learned them. Among the learners of the northern regions, there were perhaps none who excelled him;—he was what you call a scholar of high and distinguished qualities. You and your younger brother followed him for several tens of years, but on his death you forthwith turned the back on him.

13. “Formerly, when Confucius died, after three years had elapsed the disciples put their baggage in order, intending Edition: current; Page: [211] to return to their homes. Having entered to take leave of Tsze-kung, they looked towards one another and wailed, till they all lost their voices. After this they returned to their homes, but Tsze-kung built another house for himself on the altar-ground, where he lived alone for [other] three years, after which he returned home. Subsequently, Tsze-hëa, Tsze-chang, and Tsze-yëw, thinking that Yëw Joh resembled the sage, wished to pay to him the same observances which they had paid to Confucius, and [tried to] force Tsăng-tsze [to join with them]. He said, [however], ‘The thing must not be done. What has been washed in the waters of the Keang and Han, and bleached in the autumn sun:—how glistening it is! Nothing can be added to it.’

14. “Now here is this shrike-tongued barbarian of the south, whose doctrines are not those of the ancient kings. You turn your back on your [former] master, and learn of him;—different you are indeed from Tsăng-tsze.

15. “I have heard of [birds] leaving the dark valleys, and removing to lofty trees, but I have not heard of their descending from lofty trees, and entering the dark valleys.

16. “In the Praise-odes of Loo it is said,

  • ‘He smote the tribes of the west and the north;
  • He punished King and Shoo.’

Thus the duke of Chow then smote those [tribes], and you are become a disciple of [one of] them;—the change which you have made is indeed not good.”

17. [Ch‘in Sëang said], “If Heu’s doctrines were followed, there would not be two prices in the market, nor any deceit in the State. Though a lad of five cubits were sent to the market, nobody would impose on him. Linens and silks of the same length would be of the same price. Edition: current; Page: [212] So would it be with [bundles of] hemp and silk, being of the same weight; with the different kinds of grain, being the same in quantity; and with shoes which were of the same size.”

18. [Mencius] replied, “It is in the nature of things to be of unequal quality. Some are twice, some five times, some ten times, some a hundred times, some a thousand times, some ten thousand times as valuable as others. If you reduce them all to the same standard, that would throw all under heaven into confusion. If large shoes and small shoes were of the same price, would people make them? If people were to follow the doctrines of Heu, they would [only] lead on one another to practise deceit;—how can they avail for the government of a State?”

V. 1. The Mihist E Che sought, through Seu Peih, to see Mencius. Mencius said, “I indeed wished to see him; but at present I am still unwell. When I am better, I will myself go and see him; he need not come [to me].”

2. Next day, [E Che] again sought to see Mencius, who said, “Yes, to-day I can see him. But if I do not correct Edition: current; Page: [213] [his errors], the [true] principles will not clearly appear; let me first correct him. I have heard that Mr E is a Mihist. Now Mih thinks that in the regulation of the rites of mourning a spare simplicity should be the rule. E thinks [with Mih’s doctrines] to change [the customs of] all under heaven; but how does he [himself] regard them as if they were wrong, and not honour them? Thus when E buried his parents in a sumptuous manner, he was doing them service in a way which [his doctrines] discountenanced.”

3. The disciple Seu informed Mr E of these remarks. E said, “[Even according to] the principles of the learned, the ancients, [though sages, dealt with the people] as if they were loving and cherishing their children. What does this expression mean? To me it sounds that we are to love all without difference of degree, the manifestation of it [simply] beginning with our parents.” Seu reported this reply to Mencius, who said, “Does Mr E really think that a man’s affection for the child of his elder brother is [merely] like his affection for the child of his neighbour? What is to be taken hold of in that [expression] is simply this:—[that the people’s offences are no more than] the guiltlessness of an infant, which, crawling, is about to fall into a well. Moreover, Heaven gives birth to creatures in such a way that they have [only] one root, while Mr E makes them to have two roots;—this is the cause [of his error].

Edition: current; Page: [214]

4. “Indeed, in the most ancient times there were some who did not inter their parents, but [simply] took their dead bodies up and threw them into a ditch. Afterwards, when passing by them, [they saw] foxes and wild-cats devouring them, and flies and gnats gnawing at them. The perspiration started out upon their foreheads, and they looked away, because they could not bear the sight. It was not because of [what] other people [might say] that this perspiration flowed. The emotions of their hearts affected their faces and eyes, and so they went home, and returned with baskets and spades, and covered the [bodies]. If this covering them was indeed right, then filial sons and virtuous men must be guided by a certain principle in the burial of their parents.”

5. Seu informed Mr E of what Mencius had said. Mr E seemed lost in thought, and after a little said, “He has instructed me.”

Edition: current; Page: [215]

T‘ĂNG WĂN KUNG. PART II.

Chapter I. 1. Ch‘in Tae said [to Mencius], “In not [going to] see any of the princes, you seem to me to be standing out on a small point. If now you were once to wait upon them, the result might be so great that you would make one of them king, or, if smaller, you might yet make one of them leader of the [other] princes. And moreover, the History says, ‘By bending only to the extent of one cubit, you make eight cubits straight.’ It appears to me like a thing which might be done.”

2. Mencius said, “Formerly, duke King of Ts‘e, [once] when he was hunting, called the forester to him by a flag. [The forester] would not come, and [the duke] was going to kill him. [With reference to this incident], Confucius said, ‘The resolute officer does not forget [that his end may Edition: current; Page: [216] be] in a ditch or stream; the brave officer does not forget that he may lose his head.’ What was it [in the forester] that Confucius thus approved? He approved his not going [to the duke], when summoned by an article that was not appropriate to him. If one go [to see the princes] without waiting to be called, what can be thought of him?

3. “Moreover, [that sentence,] ‘By bending to the extent of one cubit you make eight cubits straight,’ is spoken with reference to the gain [that may be got]. If gain be the rule, then we may seek it, I suppose, by bending to the extent of eight cubits to make one cubit straight.

4. “Formerly, the minister Chaou Keen made Wăng Lëang act as charioteer to his favourite He, and in the course of a whole day they did not get a single bird. The favourite He reported this result, saying, ‘He is the poorest charioteer in the world.’ Some one informed Wang Lëang of this, who said, ‘I beg to try again.’ By dint of pressing, he got this accorded to him, and in one morning they got ten birds. The favourite He [again] reported the result, saying, ‘He is the best charioteer in the world.’ The minister Keen said, ‘I will make him be the driver of your carriage;’ but when he informed Wang Lëang of this, he refused, saying, ‘I [drove] for him, strictly observing the rules for driving, and in the whole day he did not get one bird. I [drove] for him so as deceitfully to intercept [the birds], and in one morning he got ten. The Book of Poetry says,

  • “No error in driving was committed,
  • And the arrows went forth like downright blows.”

I am not accustomed to drive for a mean man. I beg to decline the office.’

Edition: current; Page: [217]

5. “[Thus this] charioteer even was ashamed to bend improperly to the will of [such] an archer. Though by bending to it they would have caught birds and animals enow to form a hill, he would not do it. If I were to bend my principles and follow those [princes], of what course would my conduct be? Moreover you are wrong. Never has a man who has bent himself been able to make others straight.”

II. 1. King Ch‘un said [to Mencius], “Are not Kung-sun Yen and Chang E really great men? Let them once be angry, and all the princes are afraid; let them live quietly, and the flames of trouble are extinguished throughout the kingdom.”

2. Mencius said, “How can they be regarded as great men? Have you not read the Ritual [usages];—‘At the capping of a young man, his father admonishes him. At the marrying away of a daughter, her mother admonishes her, accompanying her to the door, and cautioning her in these words, “You are going to your home. You must be respectful; you must be cautious. Do not disobey your husband.” ’ [Thus,] to look upon compliance as their correct course is the rule for concubines and wives.

3. “To dwell in the wide house of the world; to stand in the correct position of the world; and to walk in the great path of the world; when he obtains his desire [for office], Edition: current; Page: [218] to practise his principles for the good of the people; and when that desire is disappointed, to practise them alone; to be above the power of riches and honours to make dissipated, of poverty and mean condition to make swerve [from principle], and of power and force to make bend:—these characteristics constitute the great man.”

III. 1. Chow Sëaou asked [Mencius], saying, “Did superior men of old time take office?” Mencius said, “They did.” The Record says, “When Confucius was three months without [being employed by] some ruler, he looked disappointed and unhappy. When he passed over the boundary [of a State], he was sure to carry with him his proper gift of introduction.” Kung-ming E said, “Among the ancients, when [an officer] was three months without [being employed by] some ruler, he was condoled with.”

2. [Seaou said,] “Did not this condoling, on being three months unemployed by a ruler, show a too great urgency?”

3. “The loss of his place,” was the reply, “is to an officer like the loss of his State to a prince. It is said in the Book of Rites, ‘The prince ploughs [himself], and is afterwards assisted [by others], in order to supply the milletvessels [for sacrifice]. His wife keeps silk-worms and unwinds their cocoons, to make the robes [used in sacrificing]. If the victims be not perfect, the millet in the vessels not Edition: current; Page: [219] pure, and the robes not complete, he does not presume to sacrifice. And the scholar, who, [out of office], has no [holy] field, also does not sacrifice. The victims for slaughter, the vessels, and the robes, not being all complete, he does not presume to sacrifice, and then he does not presume to feel at ease and happy.’ Is there not in all this sufficient ground for condolence?”

4. [Sëaou again asked], “What was the meaning of [Confucius’] always carrying his proper gift of introduction with him, when he passed over the boundary [of a State]?”

5. “An officer’s being in office,” was the reply, “is like the ploughing of a husbandman. Does a husbandman part with his plough because he goes from one State to another?”

6. [Sëaou] pursued, “The kingdom of Tsin is one, as well as others, of official employments, but I have not heard of any being thus earnest about being in office in it. If there should be this urgency about being in office, why does a superior man make any difficulty about taking it?” [Mencius] replied, “When a son is born, what is desired for him is that he may have a wife; and when a daughter is born, what is desired for her is that she may have a husband. This is the feeling of the parents, and is possessed by all men. [If the young people], without waiting for the orders of the parents and the arrangements of the go-betweens, Edition: current; Page: [220] shall bore holes to steal a sight of each other, or get over the wall to be with each other, then their parents and all other people will despise them. The ancients did indeed always desire to be in office, but they also hated being so by any but the proper way. To go [to see the princes] by any but the proper way is of a class with [young people’s] boring holes.”

IV. 1. P‘ăng Kăng asked [Mencius], saying, “Is it not an extravagant procedure to go from one prince to another and live upon them, followed by several tens of carriages and attended by several hundred men?” Mencius replied, “If there be not a proper ground [for taking it], a single bamboo-cup of rice should not be received from a man; if there be such a ground for it, Shun’s receiving from Yaou all under heaven is not to be considered excessive? Do you think it was excessive?”

2. [Kăng] said, “No. [But] for a scholar performing no service to receive his support notwithstanding is improper.”

3. [Mencius] answered, “If you do not have an intercommunication of the productions of labour and an interchange of [men’s] services, so that [one from his] overplus may supply the deficiency of another, then husbandmen will have a superfluity of grain, and women a superfluity of cloth. If you have such an interchange, then cabinet-makers, builders, wheel-wrights, and carriage-builders may all get their food from you. Here is a man, who, at home, is filial, and, abroad, respectful to his elders; and who watches Edition: current; Page: [221] over the principles of the ancient kings to be ready for [the use of] future learners:—and yet he will not be able to get his support from you. How is it that you give honour to the cabinet-makers, and the others I have mentioned, and slight him who practises benevolence and righteousness.”

4. [P‘ăng Kăng] said, “The aim of the cabinet-maker, and others of his class, is [by their trades] to seek for a living;—is it also the aim of the superior man, in his practice of the principles [you mention], to seek for a living?” “What have you to do with his aim?” was the reply. “He renders services to you. He deserves to be supported, and you support him. And [let me ask],—do you remunerate a man for his intention? or do you remunerate him for his service?” [To this Kăng] replied, “I remunerate him for his intention.”

5. [Mencius] said, “There is a man here who breaks your tiles, and draws [unsightly] ornaments on your walls, his purpose being thereby to seek for his living; but will you indeed remunerate him?” “No,” was the reply; and [Mencius then] concluded, “Then, it is not for his purpose that you remunerate a man, but for the work done.”

V. 1. Wan Chang said [to Mencius], “Sung is a small State; but [its ruler] is now setting about to practise the [true] royal government, and Ts‘e and Ts‘oo hate and attack him;—what is to be done in the case?”

2. Mencius said, “When T‘ang dwelt in Poh, he adjoined Edition: current; Page: [222] to [the State of] Koh, the earl of which was living in a dissolute state, and neglecting [his proper] sacrifices. T‘ang sent messengers to ask why he did not sacrifice, and when he said that he had no means of supplying the [necessary] victims, T‘ang caused sheep and oxen to be sent to him. The earl, however, ate them, and still continued not to sacrifice. T‘ang again sent messengers to ask him the same question as before, and when he said that he had no means of supplying the vessels of millet, T‘ang sent the people of Poh to go and till the ground for him, while the old and feeble carried their food to them. The earl led his people to intercept those who were thus charged with spirits, cooked rice, millet and paddy, and took their stores from them, killing those who refused to give them up. There was a boy with millet and flesh for the labourers, who was thus killed and robbed. What is said in the Book of History, ‘The earl of Koh behaved as an enemy to the provision-carriers,’ has reference to this.

3. “Because of his murder of this boy, [T‘ang] proceeded to punish him. All within the four seas said, ‘It is not because he desires the riches of the kingdom, but to avenge the common men and women.’

4. “When T‘ang began his work of executing justice, he commenced with Koh; and though he punished eleven [States], he had not an enemy under heaven. When he pursued his work in the east, the rude tribes in the west murmured. So did those in the north, when he pursued it in the south. Their cry was, ‘Why does he make us last?’ The people’s longing for him was like their longing for rain Edition: current; Page: [223] in a time of great drought. The frequenters of the markets stopped not; those engaged in weeding made no change [in their operations]. While he punished their rulers, he consoled the people. [His progress was] like the falling of opportune rain, and the people were delighted. It is said in the Book of History, ‘We have waited for our prince. When our prince comes, we shall escape the misery [under which we suffer].’

5. “There being some who would not become the subjects [of Chow, king Woo] proceeded to punish them on the east. He gave tranquillity to [their people, both] men and women, who [welcomed him] with baskets full of their dark and yellow silks, [saying,] ‘From henceforth [we shall serve] our king of Chow, and be made happy by him.’ So they gave in their adherence as subjects to the great State of Chow. The men of station [of Shang] took baskets full of dark and yellow silks, to meet the men of station [of Chow], and the lower classes of the one met those of the other with bamboo-cups of cooked rice and vessels of congee. [Woo] saved the people from the midst of fire and water, seizing only their oppressors, [and destroying them].

6. “It is said in ‘The Great Declaration:’—‘My military prowess is displayed, and I enter his territories, and will seize the oppressor. My execution and punishment of him shall be displayed, more glorious than the work of T‘ang.’

7. “[Sung] is not practising royal government, as you say among other things about it. If it were practising royal government, all within the four seas would be lifting up their heads, and looking for [its king], wishing to have him for their ruler. Great as Ts‘e and Ts‘oo are, what would there be to fear from them?”

VI. 1. Mencius said to Tae Puh-shing, “Do you indeed, Edition: current; Page: [224] Sir, wish your king to be virtuous? Well, I will plainly tell you [how he may be made so]. Suppose that there is here a great officer of Ts‘oo, who wishes his son to learn the speech of Ts‘e, will he employ a man of Ts‘e as his tutor, or a man of Ts‘oo?” “He will employ a man of Ts‘e to teach him,” was the reply, and [Mencius] went on, “If [but] one man of Ts‘e be teaching him, and there be a multitude of men of Ts‘oo shouting out about him, although [his father] beat him every day, wishing him to learn the speech of Ts‘e, it will be impossible for him to do so. [But] in the same way, if he were to be taken and placed for several years in the Chwang [street], or the Yoh [quarter], although [his father] should beat him every day, wishing him to speak the language of Ts‘oo, it would be impossible for him to do so.

2. “You say that Sëeh Keu-chow is a scholar of virtue, and you have got him placed in attendance on the king. If all that are in attendance on the king, old and young, high and low, were Sëeh Keu-chows, whom would the king have to do evil with? [But] if those that are in attendance on the king, old and young, high and low, are all not Sëeh Keu-chows, whom will the king have to do good with? What can one Sëeh Keu-chow do alone for the king of Sung?”

VII. 1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow asked [Mencius], saying, “What is the point of righteousness in your not going to see the Edition: current; Page: [225] princes?” Mencius said, “Anciently, if one had not been a minister [in the State], he did not go to see [the ruler].

2. “Twan Kan-muh leaped over a wall to avoid [the prince]; Seeh Lëw shut the door and would not admit him. These two, however, [carried their scrupulosity] to excess. When a prince is urgent, it is not improper to see him.

3. “Yang Ho wished to get Confucius to go to see him, but disliked [that he should be charged himself with] any want of propriety. [As it was the rule, therefore, that] when a great officer sends a gift to a scholar, if the latter be not at home to receive it, he must go and make his acknowledgments at the gate of the other, Yang Ho watched when Confucius was out and sent him a steamed pig. Confucius, in his turn, watched when Ho was out, and went to pay his acknowledgments to him. At that time Yang Ho had taken the initiative;—how could [Confucius] avoid going to see him?

4. “The philosopher Tsăng said, ‘Those who shrug up their shoulders and laugh in a flattering way toil harder than the summer [labourer in the] fields.’ Tsze-loo said, ‘There are those who will talk with people with whom they have no agreement. If you look at their countenances, they are full of blushes, and are not such as I [care to] know.’ By looking at the matter in the light of these remarks, [the spirit] which the superior man nourishes may be known.”

Edition: current; Page: [226]

VIII. 1. “Tae Ying-che said [to Mencius], “I am not able at present and immediately to do with a tithe [only], and abolish [at the same time] the duties charged at the passes and in the markets. With your leave I will lighten all [the present extraordinary exactions] until next year, and then make an end of them. What do you think of such a course?”

2. Mencius said, “Here is a man who every day appropriates the fowls of his neighbours that stray to his premises. Some one says to him, ‘Such is not the way of a good man,’ and he replies, ‘With your leave I will diminish my appropriations, and will take only one fowl a month, until next year, when I will make an end of the practice altogether.’

3. “If you know that the thing is unrighteous, then put an end to it with all despatch;—why wait till next year?”

IX. 1. The disciple Kung-too said [to Mencius], “Master, people beyond [our school] all say that you are fond of disputing. I venture to ask why you are so.” Mencius replied, “How should I be fond of disputing? But I am compelled to do it.

2. “A long period has elapsed since this world [of men] received its being, and there have been [along its history] now a period of good order, and now a period of confusion.

Edition: current; Page: [227]

3. “In the time of Yaou, the waters, flowing out of their channels, inundated all through the States, snakes and dragons occupied the country, and the people had no place where they could settle themselves. In the low grounds they made [as it were] nests for themselves, and in the high grounds they made caves. It is said in the Book of History, ‘The vast waters filled me with dread.’ What are called ‘the vast waters’ were those of the [above] great inundation.

4. “[Shun] employed Yu to reduce the waters to order. He dug open the ground [which impeded their flow], and led them to the sea. He drove away the snakes and dragons, and forced them into the grassy marshes. [On this] the waters pursued their course in their channels,—[the waters of] the Këang, the Hwae, the Ho, and the Han. The [natural] difficulties and obstructions being thus removed, and the birds and beasts which had injured the people having disappeared, men found the plains [available for them], and occupied them.

5. “After the death of Yaou and Shun, the principles of [those] sages fell into decay. Oppressive rulers arose one after another, who pulled down the houses [of the people] to make ponds and lakes, so that the people could nowhere rest in quiet, and threw fields out of cultivation to form gardens and parks, so that the people could not get clothes and food. [Afterwards], corrupt speakings and oppressive deeds also became rife; gardens and parks, ponds and lakes, thickets and marshes were numerous; and birds and beasts made their appearance. By the time of Chow, all under heaven was again in a state of great confusion.

Edition: current; Page: [228]

6. “The duke of Chow assisted king Woo, and destroyed Chow. He attacked Yen, and in three years put its ruler to death. He drove Fei-lëen to a corner by the sea, and slew him. The States which he extinguished amounted to fifty. He drove far away the tigers, leopards, rhinoceroses, and elephants. All under heaven were greatly pleased. It is said in the Book of History, ‘How great and splendid were the plans of king Wăn! How greatly were they carried out by the energy of king Woo. They are for the help and guidance of us their descendants,—all in principle correct, and deficient in nothing.’

7. “[Again] the world fell into decay, and principles faded away. Perverse speakings and oppressive deeds again became rife. There were instances of ministers who murdered their rulers, and of sons who murdered their fathers.

8. “Confucius was afraid and made the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw. What the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw contains are matters proper to the son of Heaven. On this account Confucius said, ‘It is the Ch‘un Ts‘ew which will make men know me, and it is the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw which will make men condemn me.’

9. “[Once more] sage kings do not arise, and the princes of the States give the reins to their lusts. Unemployed scholars indulge in unreasonable discussions. The words of Yang Choo and Mih Teih fill the kingdom. [If you Edition: current; Page: [229] listen to] people’s discourses throughout it, [you will find that] if they are not the adherents of Yang, they are those of Mih. Yang’s principle is—‘Each one for himself;’ which leaves no [place for duty to] the ruler. Mih’s principle is—‘To love all equally;’ which leaves no place for [the peculiar affection due to] a father. But to acknowledge neither ruler nor father is to be in the state of a beast. Kung-ming E said, ‘In their stalls there are fat beasts, and in their stables there are fat horses, but their people have the look of hunger, and in the fields there are those who have died of famine. This is leading on beasts to devour men.’ If the principles of Yang and Mih are not stopped, and the principles of Confucius are not set forth, then those perverse speakings will delude the people, and stop up [the path of] benevolence and righteousness. When benevolence and righteousness are stopped up, beasts will be led on to devour men, and men will devour one another.

10. “I am alarmed by these things, and address myself to the defence of the principles of the former sages. I oppose Yang and Mih, and drive away their licentious expressions, so that such perverse speakers may not be able to show themselves. When [their errors] spring up in men’s minds, they are hurtful to the conduct of affairs. When they are thus seen in their affairs, they are hurtful to their government. When a sage shall again arise, he will certainly not change [these] my words.

11. “Formerly, Yu repressed the vast waters [of the inundation], and all under the sky was reduced to order. The duke of Chow’s achievements extended to the wild tribes of the east and north, and he drove away all ferocious animals, so that the people enjoyed repose. Confucius completed the Spring and Autumn, and rebellious ministers and villainous sons were struck with terror.

12. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘He smote the tribes of the west and the north;
  • He punished King and Shoo;
  • And no one dared to resist us.’
Edition: current; Page: [230]

These father-deniers and king-deniers would have been smitten by the duke of Chow.

13. “I also wish to rectify men’s hearts, and to put an end to [those] perverse speakings, to oppose their one-sided actions, and banish away their licentious expressions;—and thus carry on the [work of the] three sages. Do I do so because I am fond of disputing? I am constrained to do it.

14. “Whoever can by argument oppose Yang and Mih is a disciple of the sages.”

X. 1. K‘wang Chang said [to Mencius], “Is not Mr Ch‘in Chung a man of true self-denying purity? He was living in Woo-ling, and for three days was without food, till he could neither hear nor see. Over a well there grew a plum tree, a fruit of which had been, more than half of it, eaten by worms. He crawled to it, and tried to eat [some of this fruit], when, after swallowing three mouthfuls, he recovered his sight and hearing.”

2. Mencius replied, “Among the scholars of Ts‘e I must regard Chung as the thumb [among the fingers]. But still, how can he be regarded as having that self-denying purity? To carry out the principles which he holds, one must become an earth-worm, for so only can it be done.

Edition: current; Page: [231]

3. “Now an earth-worm eats the dry mould above, and drinks the yellow spring below. Was the house in which Mr Chung lives built by a Pih-e? or was it built by a robber like Chih? Was the grain which he eats planted by a Pih-e? or was it planted by a robber like Chih? These are things which cannot be known.”

4. “But,” said [Chang], “what does that matter? He himself weaves sandals of hemp, and his wife twists hempen threads, which they exchange [for other things].”

5. [Mencius] rejoined, “Mr Chung belongs to an ancient and noble family of Ts‘e. His elder brother Tae received from Kah a revenue of 10,000 chung, but he considered his brother’s emolument to be unrighteous, and would not dwell in the place. Avoiding his brother, and leaving his mother, he went and dwelt in Woo-ling. One day afterwards, he returned [to their house], when it happened that some one sent his brother a present of a live goose. He, knitting his brows, said, ‘What are you going to use that cackling thing for?’ By-and-by, his mother killed the goose, and gave him some of it to eat. [Just then] his brother came into the house and said, ‘It’s the flesh of that cackling thing,’ on which he went out, and vomited it.

6. “Thus what his mother gave him he would not eat, but what his wife gives him he eats. He will not dwell in his brother’s house, but he dwells in Woo-ling. How can he in such circumstances complete the style of life which he professes? With such principles as Mr Chung holds, [a man must be] an earth-worm, and then he can carry them out.”

Edition: current; Page: [232]

BOOK IV.

LE LOW. PART I.

Chapter I. 1. Mencius said, “The power of vision of Le Low, and the skill of hand of Kung-shoo, without the compass and square, could not form squares and circles. The acute ear of the [music]-master Kwang, without the pitch-tubes, could not determine correctly the five notes. The principles of Yaou and Shun, without a benevolent government, could not secure the tranquil order of the kingdom.

With this Book commences what is commonly called the second or lower Part of the Works of Mencius; but that division is not recognized in the critical editions. It is called Le Low from its commencing with those two characters, and contains twenty-eight chapters which are most of them shorter than those of the preceding Books.

Edition: current; Page: [233]

2. “There are now [princes] who have benevolent hearts and a reputation for benevolence, while yet the people do not receive any benefits from them, nor will they leave any example to future ages;—all because they do not put into practice the ways of the ancient kings.

3. “Hence we have the saying, ‘Goodness alone is not sufficient for the exercise of government; laws alone cannot carry themselves into practice.’

4. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Erring in nothing, forgetful of nothing,
  • Observing and following the old statutes.’

Never has any one fallen into error who followed the laws of the ancient kings.

5. “When the sages had used all the power of their eyes, they called in to their aid the compass, the square, the level, and the line; and the ability to make things square, round, level, and straight was inexhaustible. When they had used all the power of their ears, they called in the aid of the pitch-tubes; and the ability to determine correctly the five notes was inexhaustible. When they had used all the thoughts of their hearts, they called in to their aid a government that could not bear [to witness the suffering of] men; and their benevolence overspread all under heaven.

6. “Hence we have the saying, ‘To raise a thing high we must begin from [the top of] a mound or a hill; to dig Edition: current; Page: [234] to a [great] depth, we must commence in [the low ground of] a stream or a marsh.’ Can he be pronounced wise who, in the exercise of government, does not start from the ways of the ancient kings.

7. “Therefore only the benevolent ought to be in high stations. When a man destitute of benevolence is in a high station, he thereby disseminates his wickedness among the multitudes [below him].

8. “When the ruler has not principles by which he examines [his administration], and his ministers have no laws by which they keep themselves [in the discharge of their duties], then in the court obedience is not paid to principle, and in the office obedience is not paid to rule. Superiors violate [the laws of] righteousness, and inferiors violate the penal laws. It is only by a fortunate chance that a State in such a case is preserved.

9. “Therefore it is said, ‘It is not the interior and exterior walls being incomplete, nor the supply of weapons offensive and defensive not being large, which constitutes the calamity of a State. It is not the non-extension of the cultivable area, nor the non-accumulation of stores and wealth, which is injurious to a State.’ When superiors do not observe the rules of propriety, and inferiors do not learn [anything better], then seditious people spring up, and [that State] will perish in no time.

10. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Heaven is now producing such movements;—
  • Do not be so indifferent.’

11. “ ‘Indifferent,’ that is, careless and dilatory.

12. “And so may [those officers] be deemed who serve their ruler without righteousness, who take office and retire from office without regard to propriety, and in their words disown the ways of the ancient kings.

Edition: current; Page: [235]

13. “Therefore it is said, ‘To urge one’s ruler to difficult achievements should be called showing respect for him; to set before him what is good and repress his perversities should be called showing reverence for him. [He who does not do these things, but says to himself], ‘My ruler is incompetent to this,’ should be said to play the thief with him.”

II. 1. Mencius said, “The compass and square produce perfect circles and squares. By the sages the human relations are perfectly exhibited.

2. “He who, as a ruler, would perfectly discharge the duties of a ruler, and he who, as a minister, would perfectly discharge the duties of a minister, have only to imitate,—the one Yaou, and the other Shun. He who does not serve his ruler as Shun served Yaou does not reverence his ruler, and he who does not rule the people as Yaou ruled them injures his people.

3. “Confucius said, ‘There are but two courses, that of benevolence and its opposite.’

4. “[A ruler] who carries the oppression of his people to the highest pitch will himself be slain, and his State will perish. If one stop short of the highest pitch, his life will be in danger, and his State will be weakened. He will be styled ‘The Dark’ or ‘The Cruel;’ and though he may have filial sons and affectionate grandsons, they will not be able in a hundred generations to change [the designation].

Edition: current; Page: [236]

5. “This is what is intended in the words of the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘The beacon of Yin is not far distant;—
  • It is in the age of the [last] sovereign of Hëa.’ ”

III. 1. Mencius said, “It was by benevolence that the three dynasties gained the kingdom, and by not being benevolent that they lost it.

2. “It is in the same way that the decaying and flourishing, the preservation and perishing, of States are determined.

3. “If the son of Heaven be not benevolent, he cannot preserve [all within] the four seas [from passing from him]. If a feudal prince be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his altars. If a noble or great officer be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his ancestral temple. If a scholar or common man be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his four limbs.

4. “Now they hate death and ruin, and yet delight in not being benevolent;—this is like hating to be drunk, and yet being strong [to drink] spirits.”

IV. 1. Mencius said, “If a man love others, and no [responsive] affection is shown to him, let him turn inwards Edition: current; Page: [237] and examine his own benevolence; if he [is trying to] rule others, and his government is unsuccessful, let him turn inwards and examine his own wisdom. If he treats others politely and they do not return his politeness, let him turn inwards and examine his own [feeling of] respect.

2. “If we do not by what we do realize [what we desire], we should turn inwards, and examine ourselves in every point. When a man is himself correct, all under heaven will turn to him [with recognition and submission].

3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Always strive to accord with the will [of Heaven];
  • So shall you be seeking for much happiness.’ ”

V. 1. Mencius said, “People have this common saying,—‘The kingdom, the State, the clan.’ The root of the kingdom is in the State; the root of the State is in the clan; the root of the clan is in the person.

VI. Mencius said, “The administration of government is not difficult; it lies in not offending against the great Houses. He whom the great Houses affect will be affected by the whole State; and he whom a whole State affects will be affected by all under heaven. When this is Edition: current; Page: [238] the case, [such an one’s] virtue and teachings will spread over [all within] the four seas like the rush of water.”

VII. 1. Mencius said, “When right government prevails throughout the kingdom, [princes of] little virtue are submissive to those of great, and [those of] little worth to [those of] great. When bad government prevails, the small are submissive to the large, and the weak to the strong. Both these cases are [the law of] Heaven. They who accord with Heaven are preserved; they who rebel against Heaven perish.

2. “Duke King of Ts‘e said, ‘Not to be able to command Edition: current; Page: [239] [others], and further to refuse to receive their commands, is to cut one’s-self off from all intercourse with them.’ His tears flowed forth, and he gave his daughter in marriage to [the prince of] Woo.

3. “Now the small States take for their models the large States, but are ashamed to receive their commands;—this is like scholars being ashamed to receive the commands of their master.

4. “For [a prince] who is ashamed of this, the best plan is to make king Wăn his model. Let one take king Wăn as his model and in five years, if his State be large, or in seven years, if it be small, he will be sure to give law to all under heaven.

5. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

    • ‘The descendants of [the sovereigns of] Shang
    • Were more in number than a hundred thousand;
    • But when God gave the command,
    • They became subject to Chow.
    • ‘They became subject to Chow.
    • The appointment of Heaven is not constant.
    • The officers of Yin, admirable and alert,
    • Assist at the libations in our capital.’

Confucius said, ‘As [against so] benevolent [a ruler, the multitudes] could not be deemed multitudes.’ If the ruler of a State love benevolence, he will have no opponent under heaven.

Edition: current; Page: [240]

6. “Now-a-days, they wish to have no opponent under heaven, but [they do] not [seek to attain this] by being benevolent;—this is like trying to hold a heated substance, without having dipped it in water. It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Who can hold anything hot?
  • Must he not dip it [first] in water?’ ”

VIII. 1. Mencius said, “How is it possible to speak with [princes] who are not benevolent? Their perils they count safety, their calamities they count profitable, and they delight in the things by which they are going to ruin. If it were possible to talk with them who [so] violate benevolence, how should we have such ruin of States and destruction of families?

2. “There was a boy singing,

  • ‘When the water of the Ts‘ang-lang is clear,
  • It does to wash the strings of my cap;
  • When the water of the Ts‘ang-lang is muddy,
  • It does to wash my feet.’

3. “Confucius said, ‘Hear what he says, my children:—when clear, to wash the cap strings; when muddy, to wash the feet.’ [This different application] is brought [by the water] on itself.

4. “A man must [first] despise himself, and then others will despise him. A family must [first] overthrow itself, and then others will overthrow it. A State must [first] smite itself, and then others will smite it.

5. “This is illustrated by the passage in the T‘ae-këah, ‘Calamities sent by Heaven may be avoided; but when we bring on the calamities ourselves, it is not possible to live.’ ”

Edition: current; Page: [241]

IX. 1. Mencius said, “Këeh and Chow’s losing the kingdom arose from their losing the people; and to lose the people means to lose their hearts. There is a way to get the kingdom;—get the people, and the kingdom is got. There is a way to get the people;—get their hearts, and the people are got. There is a way to get their hearts;—it is simply to collect for them what they desire, and not to lay on them what they dislike.

2. “The people turn to a benevolent [rule] as water flows downwards, and as wild beasts run to the wilds.

3. “Accordingly [as] the otter aids the deep waters, driving the fish to them, and [as] the hawk aids the thickets, driving the little birds to them, [so] did Këeh and Chow aid T‘ang and Woo, driving the people to them.

4. “If among the present rulers throughout the kingdom there were one who loved benevolence, all the [other] princes would aid him by driving the people to him. Although he wished not to exercise the royal sway, he could not avoid doing so.

5. “The case of [one of the] present [princes] wishing to attain to the royal sway is like the having to seek for mugwort three years old to cure a seven years’ illness. If it have not been kept in store, the whole life may pass without getting it. If [the princes] do not set their minds on a benevolent [government], all their days will be in sorrow and disgrace, till they are involved in death and ruin.

Edition: current; Page: [242]

6. “This is illustrated by what is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘How can you [by your method] bring a good state of affairs about?
  • You [and your] advisers will sink together in ruin.’ ”

X. 1. Mencius said, “With those who do violence to themselves it is impossible to speak. With those who throw themselves away it is impossible to do anything. To disown in his conversation propriety and righteousness is what we mean by saying of a man that he does violence to himself; that [he says], ‘I am not able to dwell in benevolence and pursue the path of righteousness’ is what we mean by saying of a man that he throws himself away.

2. “Benevolence is the tranquil habitation of man, and righteousness is his straight path.

3. “Alas for those who leave the tranquil dwelling empty and do not reside in it, and who neglect the straight path and do not pursue it!”

XI. Mencius said, “The path [of duty] is in what is near, and [men] seek for it in what is remote. The work [of duty] is in what is easy, and [men] seek for it in what is difficult. If each man would love his parents, and show the due respect to his elders, all-under-heaven good order would prevail.”

Edition: current; Page: [243]

XII. 1. When those occupying inferior situations do not obtain the confidence of their superior, they cannot succeed in governing the people. There is a way to obtain the confidence of the superior;—if one is not trusted by his friends, he will not obtain the confidence of his superior. There is a way to being trusted by one’s friends;—if one do not serve his parents so as to make them pleased, he will not be trusted by his friends. There is a way to make one’s parents pleased;—if one on turning his thoughts inwards finds a want of sincerity, he will not give pleasure to his parents. There is a way to the attainment of sincerity in one’s-self;—if a man do not understand what is good, he will not attain to sincerity in himself.

2. “Therefore sincerity is the way of Heaven; and to think [how] to be sincere is the way of man.”

3. “Never was there one possessed of complete sincerity who did not move [others]. Never was there one without sincerity who yet was able to move others.”

XIII. 1. Mencius said, “Pih-e, that he might avoid 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 west coast of the eastern sea. When he heard Edition: current; Page: [244] 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.’

2. “These two old men were the greatest old men in the kingdom. When they attached themselves to [king Wăn] it was [like] all the fathers in the kingdom taking his side. When the fathers of the kingdom joined him, to whom could the sons go?

3. “Were any of the princes to practise the government of king Wăn, within seven years he would be sure to be giving law to all under heaven.”

XIV. 1. Mencius said, “K‘ëw acted as chief officer to the Head of the Ke family, whose [evil] ways he was unable Edition: current; Page: [245] to change, while he exacted from the people double the grain which they had formerly paid. Confucius said, ‘He is no disciple of mine. Little children, beat the drum and assail him.’

2. “Looking at the subject from this case, [we perceive that] when a ruler who was not practising benevolent government, all [his ministers] who enriched him were disowned by Confucius;—how much more [would he have disowned] those who are vehement to fight [for their ruler]! Some contention about territory is the ground on which they fight, and they slaughter men till the fields are filled with them; or they fight for the possession of some fortified city, and slaughter men till the walls are covered with them. This is what is called ‘leading land on to devour human flesh.’ Death is not enough for such a crime.

3. “Therefore those who are skilful to fight should suffer the highest punishment. Next to them [should be punished] those who unite the princes in leagues; and next to them, those who take in grassy wastes, and impose the cultivation of the ground [upon the people].”

XV. 1. Mencius said, “Of all the parts of a man’s [body] there is none more excellent than the pupil of the eye. The pupil cannot [be used to] hide a man’s wickedness. If within the breast [all] be correct, the pupil is bright; if within the breast [all] be not correct, the pupil is dull.

2. “Listen to a man’s words, and look at the pupil of his eye;—how can a man conceal [his character]?”

Edition: current; Page: [246]

XVI. Mencius said, “The courteous do not insult others, and the economical do not plunder others. The ruler who treats men with insult and plunders them is only afraid that they will not prove submissive to him;—how can he be regarded as courteous or economical? How can courtesy and economy be made out of tones of the voice and a smiling manner?”

XVII. 1. Shun-yu K‘wăn said, “Is it the rule that males and females shall not allow their hands to touch in giving or receiving anything?” Mencius replied, “It is the rule.” “If a man’s sister-in-law be drowning,” asked K‘wăn, “shall he rescue her by the hand?” [Mencius] said, “He who would not [so] rescue his drowning sister-in-law would be a wolf. For males and females not to allow their hands to touch in giving and receiving is the [general] rule; to rescue by the hand a drowning sister-in-law is a peculiar exigency.

2. [K‘wăn] said, “Now the whole kingdom is drowning; and how is it that you, Master, will not rescue it?”

3. [Mencius] replied, “A drowning kingdom must be rescued by right principles, as a drowning sister-in-law has to be rescued by the hand. Do you, Sir, wish me to rescue the kingdom with my hand?”

Edition: current; Page: [247]

XVIII. 1. Kung-sun Ch‘ow said, “Why is it that the superior man does not [himself] teach his son?”

2. Mencius replied, “The circumstances of the case forbid its being done. A teacher must inculcate what is correct. Doing this, and his lesson not being learned, he follows it up with being angry; and through thus being angry, he is offended, contrary to what should be, [with his pupil]. [At the same time, the pupil] says, ‘My master inculcates on me what is correct, and he himself does not proceed in a correct path.’ Thus father and son would be offended with each other, but when father and son come to be offended with each other, the case is evil.

3. “The ancients exchanged sons, and one taught the son of another.

4. “Between father and son there should be no reproving admonitions as to what is good. Such reproofs lead to alienation; and than alienation there is nothing more inauspicious.”

XIX. 1. Mencius said, “Of services which is the greatest? The service of parents is the greatest. Of charges which is the greatest? The charge of one’s self is the greatest. That those who do not fail to keep themselves are able to serve their parents is what I have heard. Edition: current; Page: [248] [But] I have never heard of any who, having failed to keep themselves, were able [notwithstanding] to serve their parents.

2. “Everything [done] is a service, but the service of parents is the root of all others. Everything [obligatory] is a charge, but the charge of one’s self is the root of all others.

3. “Tsăng-tsze, in nourishing Tsăng Seih, was always sure to have spirits and flesh provided. And when they were about to be removed, he would ask respectfully to whom [what was left] should be given. If [his father] asked whether there was anything left, he was sure to say, ‘There is.’ After the death of Tsăng Seih, when Tsăng Yuen came to nourish Tsăng-tsze, he was sure to have spirits and flesh provided; but when the things were about to be removed, he did not ask to whom [what was left] should be given, and if [his father] asked whether there was anything left, he would answer, ‘No;’—intending to bring them on again. This was what is called—‘nourishing the mouth and body.’ We may call Tsăng-tsze’s practice—‘nourishing the will.’

4. “To serve one’s father as Tsăng-tsze served his may [be pronounced filial piety].”

XX. Mencius said, “It is not enough to reprove [a Edition: current; Page: [249] ruler] on account of [his mal-employment of] men, nor to blame [errors of] government. It is only the great man who can correct what is wrong in the ruler’s mind. Let the ruler be benevolent, and all [his acts] will be benevolent. Let the ruler be righteous, and all [his acts] will be righteous. Let the ruler be correct, and everything will be correct. Once rectify the ruler, and the State will be firmly settled.”

XXI. Mencius said, “There are cases of praise which could not have been expected, and of reproach where the parties have been seeking to be perfect.”

XXII. Mencius said, “Men’s being ready with their words arises simply from their not having been reproved.”

XXIII. Mencius said, “The evil with men is that they like to be teachers of others.”

XXIV. 1. The disciple Yoh-ching went in the train of Tsze-gaou to Ts‘e.

Edition: current; Page: [250]

2. He came to see Mencius, who said to him, “Are you, Sir, also come to see me?” “Master, why do you use such words?” was the reply. “How many days have you been here?” asked [Mencius]. “I came [only] yesterday,” said [the other]. “Yesterday! Then is it not with reason that I thus speak?” “My lodging-house was not arranged,” urged [Yoh-ching]. “Have you heard,” said [Mencius] “that a scholar’s lodging-house must be arranged before he visits his master?”

3. [Yoh-ching] said, “I have done wrong.”

XXV. Mencius, addressing the disciple Yoh-ching, said, “Your coming here in the train of Tsze-gaou was only [because of] the food and the drink [that you would so get]. I could not have thought that you, Sir, having learned the ways of the ancients, would have acted with a view to eating and drinking.”

XXVI. 1. Mencius said, “There are three things which are unfilial, and to have no posterity is the greatest of them.

Edition: current; Page: [251]

2. “Shun married without informing his parents because of this,—lest he should have no posterity. Superior men consider that his doing so was the same as if he had informed them.”

XXVII. 1. Mencius said, “The richest fruit of benevolence is this,—the service of one’s parents. The richest fruit of righteousness is this,—the service of one’s elder brother.

2. “The richest fruit of wisdom is this,—the knowing those two things and not departing from them. The richest fruit of propriety is this,—the ordering and adorning those two things. The richest fruit of music is this,—the joying in those two things. When joyed in, they grow. Growing, how can they be repressed? When they come to this state that they cannot be repressed, then unconsciously the feet begin to dance and the hands to move.”

XXVIII. 1. Mencius said, “[Suppose the case of] all under heaven turning with great delight to an individual to Edition: current; Page: [252] submit to him. To regard all under heaven [thus] turning to him with delight but as a bundle of grass;—only Shun was capable of this. [He considered that] if [one] could not get [the hearts of] his parents he could not be considered a man, and if he could not get to an entire accord with his parents, he could not be considered a son.

2. “By Shun’s completely fulfilling the duty of serving parents, Koo-sow was brought to feel delight [in what was good]. When Koo-sow was brought to feel delight [in what was good], all under heaven were transformed. When Koo-sow was brought to feel delight [in what was good], all fathers and sons under heaven were established [in their respective duties]. This may well be called great filial piety.”

Edition: current; Page: [253]

LE LOW. PART II.

Chapter I. 1. Mencius said, “Shun was born in Choo-fung, removed to Foo-hea, and died in Ming-t‘ëaou;—a man [from the country] of the wild tribes on the east.

2. “King Wăn was born in K‘e-chow and died in Pieh-ying;—a man [from the country] of the wild tribes on the west.

3. “Those regions were distant from each other more than a thousand le, and the age of the one [sage] was posterior to that of the other more than a thousand years. But when they got their wish and carried out [their principles] throughout the middle States, it was like uniting the two halves of a seal.

Edition: current; Page: [254]

4. “[When we examine] the sages—the earlier and the later—their principles are found to be the same.”

II. 1. When Tsze-ch‘an was chief minister of the State of Ch‘ing, he would convey people across the Tsin and the Wei in his carriage.

2. Mencius said, “It was kind, [but showed that] he did not understand the practice of government.

3. “In the eleventh month of the year the foot-bridges should be completed, and the carriage-bridges in the twelth month, and the people will [then] not have the trouble of wading.

4. “Let a governor conduct his rule on the principles of equal justice, and he may cause people to be removed out of his path when he goes abroad; but how can he convey everybody across the rivers?

5. “Thus if a governor will [try] to please everybody, he will find the days not sufficient [for his work].”

III. 1. Mencius addressed himself to king Seuen of Ts‘e, saying, “When a ruler regards his ministers as his hands Edition: current; Page: [255] and feet, they regard him as their belly and heart; when he regards them as his dogs and horses, they regard him as they do any ordinary man; when he regards them as the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy.”

2. The king said, “According to the rules of propriety, [a minister] should wear mourning [when he hears of the death of] a ruler whose service he had left;—how must [the ruler] have regarded him that [the minister] shall thus wear mourning for him?”

3. Mencius said, “The admonitions [of a minister] having been followed and his advice listened to, so that blessings have descended on the people, if for some cause he leaves [the State], the ruler sends an escort to conduct him beyond the boundaries, and also sends before him [a recommendatory notice of him] to the State to which he is proceeding. When he has been gone three years and does not return, [only] then does he take back his fields and residence. This treatment is what we call ‘a thrice-repeated display of consideration.’ When a ruler acts thus, mourning will be worn [on hearing of his death].

4. “Now-a-days the remonstrances of a minister are not followed, and his advice is not listened to, so that no blessings descend on the people. When for any cause he leaves the State, the ruler tries to seize and hold him as a prisoner. He also pushes him to extremity in the State to which he has gone, and on the day of his departure he takes back his fields and residence. This treatment shows [the ruler] to be what we call ‘a robber and an enemy;’—how can mourning be worn for ‘a robber and an enemy’?”

Edition: current; Page: [256]

IV. Mencius said, “When inferior officers are put to death without any crime, it is [time] for the great officers to leave [the State]. When the people are slaughtered without any cause, it is [time] for the inferior officers to remove.”

V. Mencius said, “If the ruler be benevolent, all will be benevolent; if the ruler be righteous, all will be righteous.”

VI. Mencius said, “Acts of propriety which are not [really] proper, and acts of righteousness which are not [really] righteous, the great man does not do.”

VII. Mencius said, “Those who keep the Mean train up those who do not, and those who have ability train up those who have not, and therefore men rejoice in having fathers and elder brothers of virtue and talent. If those who keep the Mean spurn those who do not, and those who have ability spurn those who have not, then the space between them—those who have the virtue and talents and those who are inferior to them—will not amount to an inch.”

VIII. Mencius said, “When men have what they will not do, they are prepared to act in what they do do [with effect].”

Edition: current; Page: [257]

IX. Mencius said, “What future misery are they sure to have to endure who talk of what is not good in others!”

X. Mencius said, “Chung-ne did not do extraordinary things.”

XI. Mencius said, “The great man does not think before hand of his words that they shall be sincere, nor of his actions that they shall be resolute;—he simply [speaks and does] what is right.”

XII. Mencius said, “The great man is he who does not lose his child’s heart.”

XIII. Mencius said, “The nourishment of the living is not fit to be accounted the great thing. It is only in performing their obsequies when dead that we have what can be considered the great thing.”

Edition: current; Page: [258]

XIV. Mencius said, “The superior man makes profound advances [in what he is learning], and by the proper course, wishing to get hold of it as in himself. Having got hold of it in himself, he abides in it quietly and firmly. Abiding in it quietly and firmly, he reposes a deep reliance on it. Reposing a deep reliance on it, he lays hold of it on the right and left, meeting with it as a fountain [from which things flow]. It is on this account that the superior man wishes to get hold of [what he is learning] in himself.”

XV. Mencius said, “In learning extensively and setting forth minutely [what is learned], [the object of the superior man] is to go back and set forth in brief what is essential.”

XVI. Mencius said, “Never has he who would by his excellence subdue men been able to subdue them. Let [a ruler seek] by his excellence to nourish men, and he will be able to subdue all under heaven. It is impossible that one should attain to the true royal sway to whom the hearts of all under heaven are not subject.”

Edition: current; Page: [259]

XVII. Mencius said, “Words which are not true are [all] inauspicious, but those which are most truly obnoxious to the charge of being inauspicious are those which throw into the shade men of talents and virtue.”

XVIII. 1. The disciple Seu said, “Chung-ne often praised water, saying, ‘O water! O water!’ What did he find in water [to praise]?”

2. Mencius replied, “How the water from a spring gushes out! It rests not day nor night. It fills up every hole, and then advances, flowing on to the four seas. Such is water having a spring! It was this which he found in it [to praise].

3. “But suppose that [the water] has no spring. In the seventh and eighth months the rain collects, and the channels in the fields are all filled, but their being dried up again may be expected in a short time. Thus it is that a superior man is ashamed of a reputation beyond the fact [of his merits].”

XIX. 1. Mencius said, “That whereby man differs from Edition: current; Page: [260] the animals is but small. The mass of men cast it away, while superior men preserve it.

2. “Shun clearly understood the multitude of things, and closely observed the relations of humanity. He walked along the path of benevolence and righteousness, and did not pursue [as by any effort] benevolence and righteousness.”

XX. 1. Mencius said, “Yu hated the pleasant wine, and loved good words.

2. “T‘ang held fast the Mean, and employed men of talents and virtue wherever they came from.

3. “King Wan looked on the people as [he would do with affectionate interest] on a man who was wounded; he looked towards the right path as [earnestly as] if he did not see it.

4. “King Woo did not disregard the near, nor forget the distant.

5. “The duke of Chow desired to unite in himself [the virtues of those] kings, [the founders of the] three [dynasties], that he might display in his practice [those] four things [which they did]. If [in his practice] there was anything which did not agree with them, he looked up and thought of it, from day-time into the night; and when he was fortunate enough to master [the difficulty], he sat waiting for the morning.”

Edition: current; Page: [261]

XXI. 1. Mencius said, “The traces of true royal rule were extinguished, and [the royal] odes ceased to be produced. When those odes ceased to be produced, then the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw was made.

2. “The Shing of Tsin, the T‘aou-wuh of Ts‘oo, and the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw of Loo were [books] of the same character.

3. “The subjects [of the Ch‘un Ts‘ëw] are Hwan of Ts‘e and Wăn of Tsin, and its style is the historical. Confucius said, ‘Its righteous decisions I ventured to make.’ ”

XXII. 1. Mencius said, “The influence of a sovereign sage terminates in the fifth generation. The influence of one who is merely a sage does the same.

2. “I could not be a disciple of Confucius himself, but I have endeavoured to cultivate my virtue by means of others [who were].

XXIII. Mencius said, “When it appears proper to take [a thing], and [afterwards] not proper, to take it is contrary to moderation. When it appears proper to give [a thing], and [afterwards] not proper, to give it is contrary to kindness. When it appears proper to sacrifice one’s life, and Edition: current; Page: [262] [afterwards] not proper, to sacrifice it is contrary to bravery.”

XXIV. 1. P‘ang Mung learned archery of E. When he had completely acquired all the method of E, thinking that under heaven only E was superior to himself, he slew him. Mencius said, “In this case E also was to blame. Kung-ming E [indeed] said, ‘It would appear that E was not to be blamed,’ but he [only] meant that the blame attaching to him was slight;—how can he be held to have been without any blame?

2. “The people of Ch‘ing sent Tsze-choh Yu-tsze to make an incursion into Wei, which sent Yu Kung-sze to pursue him. Tsze-choh Yu-tsze said, ‘To-day I feel unwell, and cannot hold my bow;—I am a dead man.’ [At the same time] he asked his driver who was his pursuer; and being told that it was Yu Kung-sze, he said, ‘I shall live.’ The driver said, ‘Yu Kung-sze is the best archer of Wei, what do you mean by saying that you shall live?’ ‘Yu Kung-sze,’ replied he, ‘learned archery from Yin Kung-t‘o, who again learned it from me. Yin Kung-t‘o is an upright man, and the friends of his selection must be upright [also].’ When Yu Kung-sze came up, he said, ‘Master, why are you not holding your bow?’ [Yu-tsze] answered, ‘To-day I am feeling unwell, and am unable to hold my bow.’ [Kung-sze] said, ‘I learned archery from Yin Kung-t‘o, who again learned it from you. I cannot bear to injure you with your own science. The business of today, Edition: current; Page: [263] however, is my ruler’s business, which I dare not neglect.’ He then took an arrow and knocked off the steel against his carriage-wheel. [In this way] he discharged four of them, and turned back.”

XXV. 1. Mencius said, “If the lady Se had been wearing a filthy head-dress, people would all have stopped their noses in passing her.

2. “Though a man be wicked, yet, if he adjust his thoughts, fast, and bathe, he may sacrifice to God.”

XXVI. 1. Mencius said, “All who speak of the natures [of things], have in fact only their phenomena [to reason from], and the value of a phenomenon is in its being natural.

Edition: current; Page: [264]

2. “What I hate in your wise men is their chiselling out [their conclusions]. If those wise men would act as Yu did when he conveyed away the waters, there would be nothing to dislike in their wisdom. The way in which Yu conveyed away the waters was by doing that which gave him no trouble. If your wise men would also do that which gave them no trouble, their wisdom would also be great.

3. “There is heaven so high; there are the stars and zodiacal spaces so distant. If we have investigated their phenomena, we may, while sitting [in our places], ascertain the solstices for a thousand years [past].”

XXVII. 1. The officer Kung-hăng having in hand the funeral of his son, the master of the Right went to condole with him. When [this noble] entered the door, some motioned to him to come to them, and spoke with him, and others went to his place and spoke with him.

2. Mencius did not speak with him, on which the master of the Right was displeased, and said, “All the gentlemen have spoken with me. There is only Mencius who has not spoken with me, thereby slighting me.”

3. When Mencius heard of this remark, he said, “According to the prescribed rules, in the court we must not change Edition: current; Page: [265] our places to speak with one another, and must not pass out of our own rank to bow to one another. I was wishing to observe these rules;—is it not strange that Tsze-gaou should think I was thereby slighting him?”

XXVIII. 1. Mencius said, “That wherein the superior man is different from other men is what he preserves in his heart;—namely, benevolence and propriety.

2. “The benevolent man loves others; the man of propriety shows respect to others.

3. “He who loves others is always loved by them, and he who respects others is always respected by them.

4. “Here is a man who treats me in a perverse and unreasonable manner;—[as] a superior man, I will turn round upon myself, [and say,] ‘I must have been wanting in benevolence; I must have been devoid of propriety;—how [else] should this have happened to [me]?’

5. “Having thus examined myself, I am [specially] benevolent, and [specially] observant of propriety. If the perversity and unreasonableness of the other be still the same, [as] a superior man [I will say], ‘I must have been failing to do my utmost.’

6. “I again turn round upon myself, and proceed to do my utmost. If the perversity and unreasonableness of the other be still the same, [as] a superior man, I will say, ‘This is a man utterly lost indeed. Since he conducts him so, there is nothing to choose between him and a beast; why should I go to trouble myself about a beast?’

7. “Thus it is that the superior man has a life-long anxiety, but not one morning’s serious trouble. As to what is matter of anxiety to him, he has it [thus]:—‘Shun,’ [he says,] ‘was a man, and I also am a man. Shun gave an example to all under heaven, and [his conduct] was fit to be Edition: current; Page: [266] handed down to future ages, while I am nothing better than a villager.’ This indeed is proper matter of anxiety to him; but in what way is he anxious? Simply that he may be like Shun. As to what would be matter of serious trouble to a superior man, there is no such thing. He does nothing which is contrary to benevolence; he does nothing which is not according to propriety. Should there be one morning’s trouble, as a superior man he does not reckon it a trouble.”

XXIX. 1. Yu and Tseih, in an age of tranquillizing [government], thrice passed their doors without entering them. Confucius praised them.

2. Yen-tsze, in an age of disorder, dwelt in a mean narrow lane, having his single bamboo-dish of rice, and his single gourd-cup of water. Other men could not have endured the distress, but he did not allow his joy to be affected by it. Confucius [also] praised him.

3. Mencius said, “Yu, Tseih, and Yen Hwuy agreed in the principles of their conduct.

4. “Yu thought that if any one under heaven were drowned, it was as if he himself drowned him. Tseih thought that if any one under heaven suffered hunger, it was as if he himself famished him. It was on this account that they were so earnest.

5. “If Yu and Tseih, and Yen-tsze could have exchanged places, they would have done each what the other did.

6. “Here now in the same apartment with you are people fighting; and [you wish to] part them. Though you Edition: current; Page: [267] were to part them with your cap tied on over your hair unbound, your conduct would be allowable.

7. “If the fighting were [only] in your village or neighbourhood, and you were to go to part them with your cap [so] tied on over your hair unbound, you would be in error. Though you were to shut your door [in such a case], your conduct would be allowable.”

XXX. 1. The disciple Kung-too said, “Throughout the whole State, all pronounce K‘wang Chang unfilial, and yet you, Master, keep company with him, and moreover treat him with politeness. I venture to ask why you do so.”

2. Mencius replied, “There are five things which in the common parlance of the age are said to be unfilial. The first is laziness in the use of one’s four limbs, so as not to attend to the maintenance of his parents. The second is Edition: current; Page: [268] gambling and chess-playing, and being fond of spirits, so as not to attend to the maintenance of one’s parents. The third is being fond of goods and money, and being selfishly attached to one’s wife and children, so as not to attend to the maintenance of one’s parents. The fourth is following the desires of one’s ears and eyes, so as to bring one’s parents to disgrace. The fifth is being fond of bravery, fighting and quarrelling, so as to endanger his parents. Is Chang-tsze guilty of any one of these things?

3. “Between Chang-tsze and his father there arose disagreement, he, the son, reproving his father to urge him to what was good.

4. “To urge one another by reproofs to what is good is the way of friends. But such urging between father and son is the greatest injury to the kindly feeling [that should prevail between them].

5. “Did not Chang-tsze wish to have all that belongs to [the relationships] of husband and wife, child and mother? But because he had offended his father and was not permitted to approach him, he sent away his wife and drave forth his son, and would not for all [the rest of] his life receive any cherishing attentions from them. He settled it in his mind that, if he did not act in this way, his would be the greatest of crimes. Such and nothing more is the case of Chang-tsze.”

XXXI. 1. When Tsăng-tsze dwelt in Woo-shing, there came [a band of] plunderers from Yueh. Some one said [to him], “The plunderers are come; why not leave this?” [On this Tsăng-tsze left the city], saying [to the man in charge of his house], “Do not let any one lodge in my house, lest he break and injure the plants and shrubs about it.” But Edition: current; Page: [269] when the plunderers were withdrawing [he sent word], saying, “Repair the walls and roof of my house; I will return to it;” and when the plunderers had retired, he returned. His disciples said, “Since our Master was treated with so much attention and respect, for him to be the first, on the arrival of the plunderers, to go away, so as to be observed by the people, and then, on their retiring, to return, seems to us to be improper.” Shin-yew Hăng said [to them], “You do not understand this matter. Formerly, when [the house of us], the Shin-yëw, was exposed to the outbreak of the grass-carriers, there were seventy disciples in our Master’s following, and none of them took any part in the matter.”

2. When Tsze-sze was living in Wei, there came plunderers from Ts‘e. Some one said to him, “The plunderers are coming; why not leave this?” [But] Tsze-sze said, “If I go away, whom will the ruler have with him to guard [the city]?”

3. Mencius said, “Tsăng-tsze and Tsze-sze agreed in the principle of their conduct. Tsăng-tsze was a teacher;—in the position of a father or elder brother. Tsze-sze was a minister;—in a meaner position. If they could have exchanged places, each would have done what the other did.”

XXXII. The officer Ch‘oo said [to Mencius], “The king sent a person to spy out whether you, Sir, were really different from other men.” Mencius replied, “How should Edition: current; Page: [270] I be different from other men? Yaou and Shun were just the same as other men.”

XXXIII. 1. “A man of Ts‘e had a wife and a concubine, and lived together with them in his house. When their good-man went out, he was sure to get himself well filled with spirits and flesh and then return, and on his wife’s asking him with whom he had been eating and drinking, they were sure to be all men of wealth and rank. The wife informed the concubine, saying, ‘When the good-man goes out, he is sure to come back having partaken plentifully of spirits and flesh, and when I ask him with whom he has been eating and drinking, they are all men of wealth and rank. And yet no men of distinction ever come [here]. I will spy out where our good-man goes.’ [Accordingly] she got up early in the morning, and privately followed the good-man to where he was going. All through the city there was nobody who stood and talked with him. At last he came to those who were sacrificing among the tombs outside the outer wall on the east, and begged what they had left. Not being satisfied, he looked round him and went to another party;—and this was the way in which he got himself satiated. His wife went home, and informed the concubine, saying, ‘It was to the good-man that we looked up in hopeful contemplation, and with whom our lot is cast for life;—and these are his ways.’ [On this] she and the concubine reviled their good-man, and wept together in the middle courtyard. [In the mean time] the good-man, knowing nothing of all this, came in with a jaunty air, carrying himself proudly to them.

Edition: current; Page: [271]

2. “According to the view which a superior man takes of things, as to the ways by which men seek for riches, honours, gain, and advancement, there are few of their wives and concubines who might not be ashamed and weep together because of them.”

Edition: current; Page: [272]

BOOK V.*

WAN CHANG. PART I.

Chapter I. 1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “[When] Shun went into the fields, he cried out and wept towards the pitying heavens. Why did he cry out and weep?” Mencius replied, “He was dissatisfied and full of earnest desire.”

2. Wan Chang pursued, “When his parents love him, [a son] rejoices and forgets them not; and when they hate him, though they punish him, he does not allow himself to be dissatisfied. Was Shun then dissatisfied [with his parents]?” [Mencius said], “Ch‘ang Seih asked Kung-ming Kaou, saying, ‘As to Shun’s going into the fields, I have received your instructions; but I do not understand about his weeping and crying out to the pitying heavens, and to his parents.’ Kung-ming Kaou answered Edition: current; Page: [273] him, ‘You do not understand that matter.’ Now Kung-ming Kaou thought that the heart of a filial son [like Shun] could not be so free from sorrow [as Seih seemed to imagine he might have been]. [Shun would be saying,] ‘I exert my strength to cultivate the fields, but I am thereby only discharging my duty as a son. What is there [wrong] in me that my parents do not love me?’

3. “The emperor caused his own [children],—nine sons and two daughters, the various officers, oxen and sheep, storehouses and granaries, [all] to be prepared for the service of Shun amid the channeled fields. Most of the officers in the empire repaired to him. The emperor designed that he should superintend the empire along with himself, and then to transfer it to him. But because his parents were not in accord with him, he felt like a poor man who has nowhere to turn to.

4. “To be an object of complacency to the officers of the empire is what men desire; but it was not sufficient to remove the sorrow of [Shun]. The possession of beauty is what men desire,—but though [Shun] had for his wives the two daughters of the emperor, it was not sufficient to remove his sorrow. Riches are what men desire, but though the empire was the rich property [of Shun], it was not enough to remove his sorrow. Honours are what men desire, but though [Shun] had the dignity of being the son of Heaven, it was not sufficient to remove his sorrow. The reason why his being the object of men’s complacency, the possession of beauty, riches, and honours, could not Edition: current; Page: [274] remove his sorrow was because it could be removed only by his being in [entire] accord with his parents.

5. “The desire of a child is towards his father and mother. When he becomes conscious of [the attractions of] beauty, his desire is towards young and beautiful women. When he [comes to] have a wife and children, his desire is towards them. When he obtains office, his desire is towards his ruler; and if he cannot get the regard of his ruler, he burns within. [But] the man of great filial piety, all his life, has his desire towards his parents. In the great Shun I see the case of one whose desire was towards them when he was fifty years old.”

II. 1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “It is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘How do we proceed in taking a wife?
  • Announcement must [first] be made to our parents.’

If [the rule] be indeed as thus expressed, no one ought to have illustrated it so well as Shun;—how was it that Shun’s marriage took place without his informing [his parents]?” Mencius replied, “If he had informed them, he would not have been able to marry. That male and female dwell together is the greatest of human relations. If [Shun] had informed his parents, he must have made void this greatest of human relations, and incurred thereby their resentment. It was on this account that he did not inform them.”

2. Wan Chang said, “As to Shun’s marrying without making announcement [to his parents], I have heard your Edition: current; Page: [275] instructions. [But] how was it that the emperor gave him his daughters as wives without informing [his parents]?” [Mencius] said, “The emperor also knew that, if he informed his parents, he could not have given him his daughters as wives.”

3. Wan Chang said, “His parents set Shun to repair a granary, and then removed the ladder [by which he had ascended], [after which] Koo-sow set fire to it. They sent him to dig a well, [from which he managed to] get out; but they, [not knowing this,] proceeded to cover it up. [His brother] Sëang said, ‘Of this scheme to cover up the city-forming gentleman the merit is all mine. Let my parents have his oxen and sheep; let them have his granaries and storehouses. His shield and spear shall be mine; his lute shall be mine; his carved bow shall be mine; and I will make his two wives attend for me to my bed.’ Sëang then went away and entered Shun’s house, and there was Shun upon a couch with his lute. Sëang said, ‘[I am come] simply because I was thinking anxiously about you,’ [and at the same time] he looked ashamed. Shun said to him, ‘There are all my officers; do you take the management of them for me.’ I do not know whether Shun was ignorant of Sëang’s wishing to kill him.” [Mencius] replied, “How could he be ignorant of it? But when Sëang was sorrowful, he was also sorrowful, and when Seang was joyful, he was also joyful.”

4. [Wan Chang] continued, “Then was Shun one who rejoiced hypocritically?” “No,” was the reply. “Formerly some one sent a present of a live fish to Tsze-ch‘an of Ch‘ing. Tsze-ch‘an ordered his pond-keeper to feed it Edition: current; Page: [276] in the pond; but the man cooked it, and reported the execution of his commission, saying, ‘When I first let it go, it looked embarrassed. In a little it seemed to be somewhat at ease, and then it swam away as if delighted.’ ‘It had got into its element!’ said Tsze-ch‘an. ‘It had got into its element!’ The pond-keeper went out and said, ‘Who calls Tsze-ch‘an wise? When I had cooked and eaten the fish, he said, “It has got into its element! It has got into its element!” ’ Thus a superior man may be imposed on by what seems to be as it ought to be, but it is difficult to entrap him by what is contrary to right principle. Sëang came in the way in which the love of his elder brother would have made him come, and therefore Shun truly believed him, and rejoiced at it. What hypocrisy was there?”

III. 1. Wan Chang said, “Sëang made it his daily business to kill Shun;—why was it that, when [the latter] was raised to be the son of Heaven, he [only] banished him?” Mencius replied, “He invested him with a State, and some have said that it was banishing him.”

2. Wan Chang said, “Shun banished the superintendent of Works to Yëw-chow, sent away Hwan-tow to mount Ts‘ung, slew the [prince of] San-mëaou in San-wei, and imprisoned K‘wăn on mount Yu. When those four criminals [were thus dealt with], all under heaven submitted to him;—it was a cutting off of men who were destitute of benevolence. But Sëang was [of all men] the most destitute of benevolence, and [Shun] invested him with the State of Pe;—of what crime had the people of Pe been Edition: current; Page: [277] guilty? Does a benevolent man really act thus? In the case of other men, he cut them off; in the case of his brother, he invested him with a State.” [Mencius] replied, “A benevolent man does not lay up anger, nor cherish resentment, against his brother, but only regards him with affection and love. Regarding him with affection, he wishes him to enjoy honour; loving him, he wishes him to be rich. The investing him with Pe was to enrich and ennoble him. If while [Shun] himself was emperor, his brother had been a common man, could he have been said to regard him with affection and love?”

3. [Wan Chang said,] “I venture to ask what is meant by some saying that it was a banishing [of Seang].” [Mencius] replied, “Sëang could do nothing [of himself] in his State. The emperor appointed an officer to manage its government, and to pay over its revenues to him; and therefore it was said that it was a banishing of him? How [indeed] could he be allowed the means of oppressing the people there? Nevertheless, [Shun] wished to be continually seeing him, and therefore he came unceasingly to court, as is signified in that expression, ‘He did not wait for the rendering of tribute, or affairs of government, to receive [the prince of] Pe.’ ”

IV. 1. Hëen-k‘ëw Mung asked Mencius, saying, “There is the old saying,—‘An officer of complete virtue cannot be employed as a minister by his ruler, nor treated as a son by his father.’ Shun stood with his face to the Edition: current; Page: [278] south, and Yaou, at the head of all the feudal princes, appeared in his court with his face to the north. Koosow also appeared at Shun’s court with his face to the north; and when Shun saw him, his countenance assumed a look of distress. Confucius said, ‘At this time the empire was in a perilous condition indeed! How unsettled was its state!’ I do not know whether what is thus said really took place.” Mencius said, “No. These are not the words of a superior man, but the sayings of an uncultivated person of the east of Ts‘e. When Yaou was old, Shun took the management of affairs for him. It is said in the Canon of Yaou, ‘After twenty-eight years, Fang-heun demised, and the people mourned for him as for a parent three years. All within the four seas, the eight instruments of music were stopped and hushed.’ Confucius said, ‘There are not two suns in the sky, nor two sovereigns over the people. [If] Shun had already been [in the position of] the son of Heaven, and had moreover led on all the feudal princes of the empire to observe the three years’ mourning for Yaou, there must in that case have been two sons of Heaven.’ ”

2. Hëen-k‘ëw Mung said, “On the point of Shun’s not employing Yaou as a minister, I have received your instructions. But it is said in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Under the wide heaven,
  • All is the king’s land;
  • Within the sea-boundaries of the land,
  • All are the king’s servants.’

When Shun became emperor, I venture to ask how it Edition: current; Page: [279] was that Koo-sow was not one of his servants.” [Mencius] replied, “That ode is not to be understood in that way;—[it speaks of] being laboriously engaged in the king’s business, and not being able to nourish one’s parents, [as if the subject of it] said, ‘This is all the king’s business, but I alone am supposed to have ability, and made to toil in it.’ Therefore those who explain the odes must not insist on one term so as to do violence to a sentence, nor on a sentence so as to do violence to the general scope. They must try with their thoughts to meet that scope, and then they will apprehend it. If we simply take single sentences, there is that in the ode called the ‘Yun Han,’

  • ‘Of the remnant of Chow, among the black-haired people,
  • There will not be half a man left.’

If it had really been as thus expressed, then not an individual of the people of Chow would have been left.

3. “Of all that a filial son can attain to, there is nothing greater than his honouring his parents. Of what can be attained to in honouring one’s parents, there is nothing greater than the nourishing them with the empire. To be the father of the son of Heaven is the height of honour. To be nourished with the empire is the height of nourishment. In this was verified the sentiment in the Book of Poetry,

  • ‘Ever thinking how to be filial,
  • His filial mind was the model [which he supplied].’

4. “In the Book of History it is said, ‘With respectful service he appeared before Koo-sow, looking grave and awe-struck, till Koo-sow also was transformed by his example.’ This is the true case of [the scholar of complete virtue] not being treated as a son by his father.”

V. 1. Wan Chang said, “[It is said that] Yaou gave Edition: current; Page: [280] the empire to Shun; was it so?” Mencius replied, “No; the emperor cannot give the empire to another.”

2. “Yes; but Shun possessed the empire. Who gave it to him?” “Heaven gave it to him,” was the reply.

3. “ ‘Heaven gave it to him;’ did [Heaven] confer the appointment on him with specific injunctions?”

4. [Mencius] said, “No; Heaven does not speak. It simply showed its will by his [personal] conduct, and by [his conduct of] affairs.”

5. “ ‘It showed its will by his [personal] conduct, and by [his conduct of] affairs,’ ” returned the other;—“how was this?” [Mencius] said, “The emperor can present a man to Heaven, but he cannot make Heaven give that man the empire. A feudal prince can present a man to the emperor [to take his place], but he cannot make the emperor give the princedom to that man. A great officer can present a man to his prince, but he cannot cause the prince to make that man a great officer [in his own room]. Anciently Yaou presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him; he displayed him to the people, and the people accepted him. Therefore I say, ‘Heaven does not speak. It simply indicated its will by his [personal] conduct, and by [his conduct of] affairs.’ ”

6. [Chang] said, “I presume to ask how it was that [Yaou] presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted him, and displayed him to the people, and the people accepted him.” The reply was, “He caused him to preside over the sacrifices, and all the Spirits were well pleased with them; thus it was that Heaven accepted Edition: current; Page: [281] him. He caused him to preside over the conduct of affairs, and affairs were well administred, so that all the people reposed under him;—thus it was that the people accepted him. Heaven gave [the empire] to him, and the people gave it to him. Therefore I said, ‘The emperor cannot give the empire to another.’

7. “Shun assisted Yaou [in the government] for twenty and eight years;—this was more than man could have done, and was from Heaven. When the three years’ mourning consequent on the death of Yaou were accomplished, Shun withdrew from the son of Yaou to the south of the southern Ho. The princes of the empire, however, repairing to court, went not to the son of Yaou, but to Shun. Litigants went not to the son of Yaou, but to Shun. Singers sang not the son of Yaou, but Shun. Therefore I said that it was Heaven [that gave him the empire]. It was after this that he went to the Middle State, and occupied the seat of the son of Heaven. If he had [before these things] taken up his residence in the palace of Yaou, and applied pressure to his son, it would have been an act of usurpation, and not the gift of Heaven.

8. “This view [of Shun’s obtaining the empire] is in accordance with what is said in The Great Declaration,—‘Heaven sees as my people see, Heaven hears as my people hear.’ ”

VI. 1. Wan Chang said, “People say, ‘When [the disposal of the empire] came to Yu, his virtue was inferior Edition: current; Page: [282] [to that of Yaou and Shun], and he did not transmit it to the worhiest, but to his son;’—was it so?” Mencius replied, “No; it was not so. When Heaven gave [the empire] to the worthiest, it was given to the worthiest; when Heaven gave it to the son [of the preceding emperor], it was given to that son. Formerly Shun presented Yu to Heaven for [a period of] seventeen years; and when the three years’ mourning, consequent on the death of Shun, were accomplished, Yu withdrew from the son of Yu to Yang-shing. The people of the empire followed him as, after the death of Yaou, they had not followed his son, but followed Shun. Yu presented Yih to Heaven for [a period of] seven years; and when the three years’ mourning consequent on the death of Yu were accomplished, Yih withdrew from the son of Yu to the north of Mount Ke. [The princes] repairing to court, and litigants, went not to Yih, but to K‘e, saying, ‘He is the son of our ruler.’ Singers did not sing Yih, but they sang K‘e, saying, ‘He is the son of our ruler.’

2. “That Tan-choo was not equal [to his father], and Shun’s son also not equal [to his]; that Shun assisted Yaou, and Yu assisted Shun, for a period of many years, conferring benefits on the people for a long time; that K‘e was virtuous and able, and could reverently enter into and continue the ways of Yu; that Yih assisted Yu for a period of few years, conferring benefits on the people not for a long time; that the length of time that Shun, Yu, and Yih [assisted in the government] was so different; Edition: current; Page: [283] and that the sons [of the emperors] were [one] a man of talents and virtue, and [the other two] inferior [to their fathers]:—all these things were from Heaven, and what could not be produced by man. That which is done without any one’s [seeming] to do it is from Heaven. That which comes to pass without any one’s [seeming] to bring it about is from Heaven.

3. “In the case of a private man’s obtaining the empire, there must be in him virtue equal to that of Shun and Yu, and moreover there must be the presenting him to Heaven by the [preceding] emperor. It was on this [latter] account that Chung-ne did not obtain the kingdom.

4. “When the throne descends by natural succession, he who is displaced by Heaven must be like Këeh or Chow. It was on this account that Yih, E Yin, and the duke of Chow did not obtain the kingdom.

5. “E Yin assisted T‘ang so that he became sovereign of the kingdom. After the demise of T‘ang, T‘ae-ting having died without being appointed [in his place], Waeping [reigned] two years, and Chung-jin four. T‘ae-Keah [then] was turning upside down the canons and example of T‘ang, and E Yin placed him in T‘ung for three years. [There] he repented of his errors, was contrite, and reformed himself. In T‘ung he came to dwell in benevolence and moved towards righteousness, during those three years listening to the lessons given to him by E Yin, [after which] that minister again returned [with him] to Poh.

6. “The duke of Chow’s not getting the kingdom was like that of Yih’s not getting [the throne of] Hëa, or E Yin’s [that of] Yin.

Edition: current; Page: [284]

7. “Confucius said, ‘T‘ang and Yu resigned [the throne to the worthiest]; the founders of the Hëa, Yin, and Chow [dynasties] transmitted it to their sons. The principle of righteousness was the same in [all the cases].”

VII. 1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “People say that E Yin sought [an introduction to] T‘ang by his [knowledge of] cookery;—was it so?”

2. Mencius replied, “No, it was not so. E Yin was farming in the lands of the State of Sin, delighting in the principles of Yaou and Shun. In any matter contrary to the righteousness which they prescribed, or to the course which they enjoined, though he had been salaried with the empire, he would not have regarded it; though there had been yoked for him a thousand teams, he would not have looked at them. In any matter contrary to the righteousness which they prescribed, or to the course which they enjoined, he would not have given nor taken [even] a single straw.

3. “T‘ang sent persons with presents of silk to ask him to enter his service. With an air of indifference and self-satisfaction, he said, ‘What can I do with these silks with which T‘ang invites me? Is it not best for me to abide in these channeled fields, and therein delight myself with the principles of Yaou and Shun?’

Edition: current; Page: [285]

4. “T‘ang thrice sent persons thus to invite him. After this, with the change of purpose displayed in his countenance, he spoke in a different style, saying, ‘Instead of abiding in the channeled fields, and therein delighting myself with the principles of Yaou and Shun, had I not better make this ruler one after the style of Yaou and Shun? had I not better make this people like the people of Yaou and Shun? had I not better in my own person see these things for myself?

5. “ ‘Heaven’s plan in the production of this people is this:—that they who are first informed, should instruct those who are later in being informed, and those who first apprehend [principles] should instruct those who are slower to do so. I am the one of Heaven’s people who have first apprehended; I will take these principles and instruct this people in them. If I do not instruct them, who will do so?’

6. “He thought that among all the people of the kingdom, even the private men and women, if there were any that did not enjoy such benefits as Yaou and Shun conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch. He took upon himself the heavy charge of all under Heaven in this way, and therefore he went to T‘ang, and pressed upon him the duty of attacking Hëa, and saving the people.

7. “I have not heard of one who bent himself and at the same time made others straight;—how much less could one disgrace himself, and thereby rectify the whole kingdom? The actions of the sages have been different. Some have kept far away [from office], and others have drawn near to it; some have left [their offices], and others have not done so; that in which these different courses all meet, is simply the keeping of their persons pure.

8. “I have heard that E Yin sought [an introduction to] T‘ang by the principles of Yaou and Shun; I have not heard that he did so by his [knowledge of] cookery.’

Edition: current; Page: [286]

9. “In the ‘Instructions of E,’ it is said, ‘Heaven, destroying [Këeh], commenced attacking him in the palace of Muh; we commenced in Poh.’ ”

VIII. 1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “Some say that Confucius in Wei lived with an ulcer-[doctor], and in Ts‘e with Tseih Hwan, the chief of the eunuchs; was it so?” Mencius said, “No, it was not so. Those are the inventions of men fond of [strange] things.

2. “In Wei he lived in the house of Yen Ch‘ow-yëw. The wife of the officer Mei and the wife of Tsze-loo were sisters. Mei-tsze spoke to Tsze-loo, saying, ‘If Confucius will lodge with me, he may get to be a high noble of Wei.’ Tsze-loo reported this to Confucius, who said, ‘That is as ordered [by Heaven].’ Confucius advanced according to propriety, and retired according to righteousness. In regard to his obtaining [office and honour] or not obtaining them, he said ‘That is as ordered.’ But if he had lodged with an ulcer-[doctor] and with Tseih Hwan, the chief of the eunuchs, that would neither have been according to righteousness, nor any ordering [of Heaven].

Edition: current; Page: [287]

3. “When Confucius, being dissatisfied in Loo and Wei, [had left those States], he met with the attempt of Hwan, the master of the Horse, in Sung, to intercept and kill him, so that he had to pass through Sung in the dress of a private man. At that time, [though] he was in circumstances of distress, he lodged in the house of Ching-tsze, the minister of works, who was [then] a minister of Chow, the marquis of Ch‘in.

4. “I have heard that ministers in the service of a court may be known from those to whom they are hosts, and that ministers coming from a distance may be known from those with whom they lodge. If Confucius had lodged with an ulcer-[doctor] and with Tseih Hwan, the chief of the eunuchs, how could he have been Confucius?”

IX. 1. Wan Change asked [Mencius], saying, “Some say that Pih-le He sold himself to a cattle-keeper of Ts‘in for five sheep-skins, and fed his cattle for him, to Edition: current; Page: [288] seek an introduction to duke Muh of Ts‘in; is this true?” Mencius said, “No, it was not so. This is the invention of some one fond of [strange] things.

2. “Pih-le He was a man of Yu.” The people of Ts‘in by the inducement of a peih of Ch‘uy-keih and a team of Këuh-ch‘an horses were asking liberty to march through Yu to attack Kwoh. Kung Che-k‘e remonstrated [with the duke of Yu, asking him not to grant their request], but Pih-le He did not remonstrate.

3. “When he knew that the duke of Yu was not to be remonstrated with, and went in consequence from that State to Ts‘in, he had reached the age of seventy. If by that time he did not know that it would be a disgraceful thing to seek for an introduction to duke Muh of Ts‘in by feeding cattle, could he be called wise? But not remonstrating where it was of no use to remonstrate, could he be said not to be wise? Knowing that the duke of Yu would be ruined, and leaving his State before that event, he could not be said to be not wise. As soon as he was advanced in Ts‘in, he knew that duke Muh was one with whom he could have a field for action, and became chief minister to him;—could he be said to be not wise? Acting as chief minister in Ts‘in, he made his ruler distinguished throughout the kingdom, and worthy to be handed down to future ages;—if he had not been a man of talents and virtue, could he have done this? As to selling himself in order to bring about the destruction of his ruler, even a villager who had a regard for himself, would not do such a thing;—and shall we say that a man of talents and virtue did it?”

Edition: current; Page: [289]

WAN CHANG. PART II.

Chapter I. 1. Mencius said, “Pih-e would not allow his eyes to look at a bad sight, nor his ears to listen to a bad sound. He would not serve a ruler, nor employ a people, of whom he did not approve. In a time of good government he took office, and in a time of disorder he retired. He could not bear to dwell [at a court] from which lawless government proceeded, nor among lawless people. To be in the same place with an [ordinary] villager was the same in his estimation as to stand in his court robes and court cap amid mire and charcoal. In the time of Chow, he dwelt by the shores of the northern sea, waiting for the purification of the kingdom. Therefore when men [now] hear the character of Pih-e, the corrupt become pure, and the weak acquire determination.

2. “E Yin said, ‘Whom may I not serve as my ruler? whom may I not employ as my people?’ In a time of good government he took office, and in a time of disorder he did the same. He said, ‘Heaven’s plan in the production of this people is this:—that they who are first informed should instruct those who are later in being informed, and they who first apprehend [principles] should instruct those who are slower to do so. I am the one of Heaven’s people who have first apprehended;—I will take these principles and instruct this people in them.’ He thought that among all the people of the kingdom, even the private men and women, if there were any that did not enjoy such benefits as Yaou and Shun conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch;—so Edition: current; Page: [290] did he take on himself the heavy charge of all under heaven.

3. “Hwuy of Lëw-hëa was not ashamed to serve an impure ruler, nor did he decline a small office. When advanced to employment, he did not keep his talents and virtue concealed, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When neglected and left out of office, he did not murmur, and when straitened by poverty, he did not grieve. When in the company of village people, he was quite at ease and could not bear to leave them. [He would say], ‘You are you, and I am I. Though you stand by my side with bare arms and breast, how can you defile me?’ Therefore when men [now] hear the character of Hwuy of Lëw-hea, the mean become generous, and the niggardly become liberal.

4. “When Confucius 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 uncooked rice]. When he was about to leave Loo, he said, ‘I will go by and by;’—it was right he should leave the country of his parents in this way. When it was proper to go away quickly he did so; when it was proper to delay, he did so; when it was proper to keep in retirement, he did so; when it was proper to go into office, he did so;—this was Confucius.”

5. Mencius said, “Pih-e among the sages was the pure one; E Yin was the one most inclined to take office; Hwuy of Lëw-hea was the accommodating one; and Confucius was the timeous one.

6. “In Confucius we have what is called a complete concert. A complete concert is when the bell proclaims [the commencement of the music], and the [ringing] stone closes it. The metal sound commences the blended harmony [of all the instruments], and the winding up with the stone Edition: current; Page: [291] terminates that blended harmony. The commencing that harmony is the work of wisdom, and the terminating it is the work of sageness.

7. “As a comparison for wisdom, we may liken it to skill, and as a comparison for sageness, we may liken it to strength,—as in the case of shooting at a mark a hundred paces distant. That you reach the mark is owing to your strength; but that you hit it is not owing to your strength.”

II. 1. Pih-kung E asked [Mencius], “What was the arrangement of dignities and emoluments made by the House of Chow?”

2. Mencius said, “The particulars of that arrangement cannot be learned, for the feudal princes, disliking them as injurious to themselves, have all made away with the records of them. Nevertheless I have learned the general outline of them.

3. “The son of Heaven was one dignity; the duke one; the marquis one; the earl one; and the viscount and baron formed one, being of equal rank:—altogether making five Edition: current; Page: [292] degrees of dignity. The ruler was one dignity; the minister one; the great officer one; the officer of the first class one; the officer of the second class one; and the officer of the lowest class one:—altogether making six grades.

4. “To the son of Heaven there was allotted a territory of a thousand le square; a duke and a marquis had each a hundred le square; an earl, seventy le; a viscount and a Edition: current; Page: [293] baron, fifty le. The assignments altogether were of four amounts. Where the territory did not amount to fifty le, the holder could not himself have access to the son of Heaven. His land was attached to some one of the feudal princes, and was called a foo-yung.

5. “A high minister of the son of Heaven received an amount of territory equal to that of a marquis; a great officer, as much as an earl; and an officer of the first class, as much as a viscount or baron.

6. “In a great State, where the territory was a hundred le square, the ruler had ten times as much income as one of his high ministers; a high minister had four times as much as a great officer; a great officer twice as much as an officer of the first class; an officer of the first class, twice as much as one of the middle; and an officer of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest. Officers of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed in the public offices, had the same emolument,—as much, namely, as what they would have made by tilling the fields.

7. “In a State of the next order, where the territory was seventy le square, the ruler had ten times as much income as one of his high ministers; a high minister, thrice as much as a great officer; a great officer, twice as much as an officer of the first class; an officer of the first class, twice as much as one of the second; and one of the second twice as much Edition: current; Page: [294] as one of the lowest. Officers of the lowest class and such of the common people as were employed in the public offices, had the same emolument,—as much, namely, as they would have made by tilling the fields.

8. “In a small State, where the territory was fifty le square, the ruler had ten times as much income as one of his high ministers; a high minister twice as much as a great officer; a great officer twice as much as an officer of the first class; an officer of the first class twice as much as one of the second; one of the second class twice as much as one of the lowest. Officers of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed in the public offices, had the same emolument,—as much, namely, as they would have made by tilling the fields.

9. “As to those who tilled the fields, each head of a family received a hundred mow. When these were manured, the [best] husbandmen of the first class supported nine individuals, and those ranking next to them supported eight. The [best] husbandmen of the second class supported seven men, and those ranking next to them supported six; while the lowest class [only] supported five. The salaries of the common people who were employed in the public offices, were regulated according to these differences.”

III. 1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “I venture to ask about [the principles of] friendship.” Mencius replied, “Friendship does not permit of any presuming on the ground of one’s age, or station, or [the circumstances of] one’s relations. Friendship [with a man] is friendship with his virtue, and there cannot be any presuming [on such things].

2. “The minister Măng Hëen was [chief of] a family of a hundred chariots, and he had five friends,—Yoh-ching K‘ew, Edition: current; Page: [295] Muh Ching, and three [others whose names] I have forgotten. With these five men Hëen-tsze maintained a friendship, because they thought nothing about his family. If they had thought about his family, he would not have maintained his friendship with them.

3. “Not only has [the chief of] a family of a hundred chariots acted thus. The same has been exemplified even in the ruler of a small State. Duke Hwuy of Pe said, “I treat Tsze-sze as my master, and Yen Pan as my friend. As to Wang Shun and Ch‘ang Seih, they serve me.

4. “Not only has the ruler of a small State acted thus. The same thing has been exemplified by the ruler of a large State. There was duke P‘ing of Tsin with Hae T‘ang:—when [T‘ang] told him to come into his house, he came; when he told him to be seated, he sat; when he told him to eat, he ate. There might be only coarse rice, and soup of vegetables, but he always ate his fill, not daring to do otherwise. Here, however, [the duke] stopped, and went no farther. He did not call [T‘ang] to share with him his Heavenly place, nor to administer with him his Heavenly office, nor to partake with him his Heavenly emolument. His conduct was a scholar’s honouring of virtue and talent; not a king or a duke’s honouring of them.

5. “Shun went up and had an interview with the emperor, and the emperor lodged him as his son-in-law in the second palace. He also partook of Shun’s hospitality. He was host and guest alternately. This was the emperor maintaining friendship with a common man.

Edition: current; Page: [296]

6. “Respect shown by inferiors to superiors is called giving to the noble the observance due to rank. Respect shown by superiors to inferiors is called giving honour to virtue and talents. The principle of righteousness is the same in both cases.”

IV. 1. Wan Chang asked [Mencius], saying, “I venture to ask what [sentiment of the] mind is expressed in the gifts of courteous intercourse.” Mencius replied, “[The sentiment of] respect.”

2. “Why is it,” pursued the other, “that to decline a gift decidedly is accounted disrespectful?” The answer was, “When one of honourable rank presents a gift, to say [in the mind], ‘Was the way in which he got this righteous or not? I must know this before I receive it,’—this is counted disrespectful, and therefore gifts are not declined.”

3. [Wan Chang] went on, “Let me ask this:—If one do not in so many express words decline the gift, but having declined it in his heart, saying, ‘He took it from the people, and it is not righteous,’ if he then assign some other reason for not receiving it, is not this a proper course?” Mencius said, “When the donor offers it on the ground of reason, and his manner of doing so is according to propriety, in such a case Confucius would have received it.”

4. Wan Chang said, “Here now is one who stops [and robs] Edition: current; Page: [297] people outside the city gates;—he offers his gift on a ground of reason, and presents it in accordance with propriety;—would the reception of the gift so acquired by robbery be proper?” [Mencius] said, “It would not be proper. In the ‘Announcement to the Prince of K‘ang’ it is said, ‘Where men kill others, or violently assault them, to take their property, being reckless and fearless of death, they are abhorred by all the people;’—these are to be put to death without waiting to give them any lesson [or warning]. Yin received [this rule] from Hea, and Chow received it from Yin; it cannot be questioned, and to the present day is clearly acknowledged. How can [the gift of a robber] be received?”

5. [Wan Chang] continued, “The princes of the present day take from their people, as if they were [so many] robbers. But if they put a good face of propriety on their gifts, then the superior man receives them;—I venture to ask how you explain this?” [Mencius] replied, “Do you think that if a true king were to arise, he would collect all the princes of the present day, and put them to death? Or would he admonish them, and then, when they did not change [their ways], put them to death? To say that [every one] who takes what does not properly belong to him is a robber is pushing a point of resemblance to the utmost, and insisting on the most refined idea of righteousness. When Confucius took office in Loo, the people struggled together for the game taken in hunting, and he also did the same. If that struggling for the captured game was allowable, how much more may the gifts [of the princes] be received!”

6. [Chang] urged, “Then, when Confucius took office, was it not with the object that his principles should be carried into practice?” “It was with that object,” was the reply. [The other said,] “If the practice of his principles Edition: current; Page: [298] was his business, what had he to do with that struggling for the captured game?” [Mencius] answered, “Confucius first rectified the vessels of sacrifice according to the registers, and [enacted] that being so rectified they should not be supplied with food gathered from every quarter.” “But why did he not leave [the State]?” said [Chang]. [Mencius] replied, “He would first make a trial [of carrying his principles into practice]. When this trial was sufficient [to show] they could be practised, and they were still not practised [on a larger scale], he would then go away. Thus it was that he never completed a residence [in any State] of three years.

7. “Confucius took office when he saw that the practice [of his principles] was possible; when the reception accorded to him was proper; and when he was supported by the State. In his relations with the minister Ke Hwan, he took office because he saw that the practice [of his principles] was possible. With the duke Ling of Wei he took office, because the reception accorded to him was proper. With duke Hëaou of Wei he took office, because he was maintained by the State.”

V. 1. Mencius said, “Office should not be [sought] on account of poverty, but there are times [when it may be sought] on that account. A wife should not be taken for the sake of being attended to by her, but there are Edition: current; Page: [299] times [when marriage may be entered on] with that view.

2. “He who takes office because of his poverty must decline an honourable situation, and occupy a poor one; he must decline riches and prefer a poor [sufficiency].

3. “What [office] will be in harmony with this declining an honourable situation and occupying a low one, with this declining riches and preferring a poor sufficiency? [Such an one] as that of being a gate-warder, or beating the watchman’s stick.

4. “Confucius was once keeper of stores, and he [then] said, ‘My accounts must all be correct; that is all I have to think about.’ He was once in charge of the [ducal] lands, and he [then] said, ‘The oxen and sheep must be large, and fat, and superior. That is all I have to think about.’

5. “When one is in a low station, to speak of high matters is a crime. To stand in the court of his prince, and his principles not be carried into practice, is a disgrace.”

VI. 1. Wan Chang said, “What is the reason that an officer [unemployed] does not look to a prince for his Edition: current; Page: [300] maintenance?” Mencius answered, “He does not presume [to do so]. When one prince loses his State, and then throws himself on another for his maintenance, this is in accordance with propriety. But for [such an] officer to look to any of the princes for his maintenance is contrary to propriety.”

2. Wan Chang said, “If the prince sends him a present of grain, will he receive it?” “He will receive it,” was the answer. “What is the principle of right in his receiving it?” [Mencius] said, “Such is the relation between a ruler and his people that as a matter of course he should help them in their necessities.”

3. “What is the reason that [an officer unemployed] will [thus] accept relief, but will not accept a [stated] bounty?” asked [Chang], and [Mencius] said, “He does not presume [to do the latter].” “Allow me to ask,” urged the other, “why he does not presume to do so.” The reply was, “[Even] the warder of a gate and the beater of a watchman’s rattle have their regular duties for which they can take their support from their superiors; but he who without any regular office receives his superior’s bounty must be deemed wanting in humility.”

4. [Chang again] said, “When a ruler sends a present [to an officer unemployed], he accepts it;—I do not know whether this present may be constantly repeated.” [Mencius] answered, “There was the way of duke Muh towards Tsze-sze:—He sent frequent inquiries after his health, and made frequent presents of cooked meat. Tsze-sze was displeased, and at last, having motioned Edition: current; Page: [301] to the messenger to go outside the great door, he bowed his head to the ground with his face to the north, then put his hands twice to the ground, and declined the present, saying, ‘From this time forth I shall know that the ruler supports me as a dog or a horse.’ And from this time an inferior officer was not sent with the present. When [a ruler] professes to be pleased with a man of talents and virtue, and can neither raise him to office nor support him [in the proper way], can he be said to be [really] pleased with his talents and virtue?”

5. [Chang] said, “I venture to ask how the ruler of a State, when he wishes to support a superior man, must proceed that he may be said to do so [in the proper way].” [Mencius] answered, “The present will [at first] be offered as by the ruler’s commission, and [the superior man] will receive it, twice putting his hands to the ground, and then his head to the ground. After this, the store-keeper will continue to send grain, and the master of the kitchen to send meat, presenting it without any mention of the ruler’s commission. Tsze-sze considered that the meat from the [ruler’s] caldron, giving him the trouble of constantly doing obeisance, was not the way to support a superior man.

6. “There was the way of Yaou with Shun:—He caused his nine sons to serve him, and gave him his two daughters as wives; he caused the various officers, oxen and sheep, storehouses and granaries, [all] to be prepared to support Shun amid the channeled fields; and then he raised him to the most exalted station. Hence we have the expression—‘The honouring of virtue and talents proper to a king or a duke.’ ”

VII. 1. Wan Chang said, “I venture to ask what is Edition: current; Page: [302] the principle of right in not going to see the princes.” Mencius replied, “[A scholar unemployed], residing in the city, is called ‘a minister of the market-place and well;’ one residing in the country is called ‘a minister of the grass and plants.’ In both cases he is a common man, and it is a rule of propriety that common men who have not presented the introductory present, and so become ministers [of the court], should not presume to have interviews with any of the princes.”

2. Wan Chang said, “If a common man be called to perform any service, he goes and performs it. When a ruler wishes to see a scholar, and calls him, how is it that he does not go?” “To go and perform the service is right, to go and see the ruler would not be right.

3. “And” [added Mencius] “on what account is it that the prince wishes to see [the scholar]?” “Because of his extensive information,” was the reply, “or because of his talents and virtue.” “If because of his extensive information,” said [Mencius], “even the son of Heaven does not call [one thus fit to be] a teacher, and how much less may one of the princes do so! If because of his talents and virtue, I have not heard of any one’s wishing to see a person with these qualities, and calling him to his presence.

4. “During the frequent