תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

exalt virtue, to correct cherished evil, and to discover delusions."

The Master said, “Truly a good question !

“If doing what is to be done be made the first business, and success a secondary consideration ; is not this the way to exalt virtue? To assail one's own wickedness and not assail that of others; is not this the way to correct cherished evil ?* For a morning's anger, to disregard one's own life, and involve that of his parents ; is not this a case of delusion?

Fan Ch'e asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, “It is, in retirement, to be sedately grave; in the management of business, to be reverently attentive ; in intercourse with others, to be strictly sincere. Though a man go among rude, uncultivated tribes, these qualities may not be neglected."

“Superior men, and yet not always virtuous, there have been, alas ! But there never has been a mean man, and at the same time, virtuous."

Tsze-loo asked what constituted a COMPLETE man. The Master said, “Suppose a man with the knowledge of Tsang Woo-Chung, the freedom from covetousness of Kung-Ch'o, the bravery of Chwang of Peen, and the varied talents of Yen K’ew; add to these the accomplishments of the rules of propriety and music: such an one might be reckoned a COMPLETE man.”

He then added, “ But what is the necessity for a complete man of the present day to have all these things? The man who, in the view of gain, thinks of righteousness; who, in the view of danger, is prepared to give up his life ; and who does not forget an old agreement, however far back it extends : such a man may be reckoned a complete man."*

* First cast out the beam out of thine own eye.

“ The determined scholar and the man of virtue will not seek to live at the expense of injuring their virtue. They will even sacrifice their lives to preserve their virtue complete.”

Tsze-Kung asked about the practice of virtue. The Master said, “The mechanic, who wishes to do his work well, must first sharpen his tools. When you are living in any State, take service with the most worthy among its great officers, and make friends of the most virtuous among

its scholars." The Master said, “ Virtue is more to man than either water or fire. I have seen men die from treading on water and fire, but I have never seen a man die from treading the course of virtue.”

“Let every man consider virtue as what devolves on himself. He may not yield the performance of it even to his teacher.”

Tsze-chang asked Confucius about perfect virtue. Confucius said, “To be able to practice five things everywhere under heaven constitutes perfect virtue.” He begged to ask what they were, and was told, “Grav. ity, generosity of soul, sincerity, earnestness, and kind

If you are grave, you will not be treated with disrespect. If you are generous, you will win all. If you are sincere, people will repose trust in you. If you are earnest, you will accomplish much. If you are kind, this will enable you to employ the services of others.”

ness.

* The complete man remembers his promises, and pays his debts, if possible.

“Fine words and an insinuating appearance are seldom associated with virtue.”

“The doings of the supreme Heaven have neither sound nor smell—that is perfect virtue.” *

The Master said, “By nature, men are nearly alike; by practice, they get to be wide apart."

“There are only the wise of the highest class and the stupid of the lowest class who cannot be changed.”

“Without recognizing the ordinances of Heaven,t it is impossible to be a superior man."

“Without an acquaintance with the rules of propriety, it is impossible for the character to be established."

“ Wi:hout knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men.” 1

“The superior man bends his attention to what is radical. That being established, all practical courses naturally grow up. Filial piety and fraternal submission ! are they not the root of all benevolent actions ?”

Tsae Go asked, saying, “A benevolent man, though it be told him, “There is a man in the well,' will go in after him, I suppose.” Confucius said, “Why should he do so? A superior man may be made to go to the well, but he cannot be made to go down into it. He may be imposed upon, but he cannot be befooled.” ş

* The acts of Heaven are perfectly pure—free from all human imperfections.

† The will of Heaven regarding right and wrong, of which man has the standard in his own moral nature.

| Words are the voice of the heart. To know a man we must attend well to what and how he thinks.

§ The benevolent exercise their benevolence with prudence,

Fan Ch'e asked about benevolence. The Master said, "It is to love all men." He asked about knowledge. The Master said, “It is to know all men.”

Some one said, “What do you say concerning the principle that injury should be recompensed with kindness?”

The Master said, “With what, then, will you recompense kindness?

“Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindness."*

NO EXAMPLES OF PERFECT VIRTUE.

[ocr errors]

The Master said, “A sage it is not mine to see ; could I see a man of real talent and virtue, that would satisfy me."

“A good man it is not mine to see; could I see a man possessed of constancy, that would satisfy me.

“Is any one able for one day to apply his strength to virtue? I have not seen the case in which his strength would be sufficient.

“Should there possibly be any such case, I have not

seen it."

THE RULE OF LIFE IN ONE WORD.

The Master said, “I have not seen a firm and unbending man." Some one replied, “There is Shin Ch'ang." “Ch'ang," said the Master, “is under the in:

* There is another Book which says, “Do good to them which hate you.”

fluence of his passions; how can he be pronounced firm and unbending?

Tsze-Kung said, “What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men.” The Master said, “ Tsze, you have not attained to that."

Tsze-Kung asked, saying, “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?” The Master said, “Is not RECIPROCITY such a word? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others."*

THE SUPERIOR MAN-THE BEAU IDEAL OF VIRTUE.

Tsze-Kung asked what constituted the superior man. The Master said, “He acts before he speaks, and afterwards speaks according to his actions."

The Master said, “The superior man is catholic, and no partisan. The mean man is a partisan, and not catholic."

“The mind of the superior man is conversant with righteousness; the mind of the mean man is conversant with gain."

“ The superior man wishes to be slow in his words, and earnest in his conduct.”

The Master said of Tsze-ch'an that he had four of the characteristics of a superior man : in his conduct of himself, he was humble; in serving his superiors, he was respectful ; in nourishing the people, he was kind ; in ordering the people, he was just.”

* The rule given in the Sermon on the Mount is more comprehensive; it reads, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”

« הקודםהמשך »