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court robes be put over him, and drew his girdle across them."
He was nice in his diet,—" not disliking to have his rice dressed fine, nor to have his minced meat cut small." "Anything at all gone he would not touch." "He must have his meat cut properly, and to every kind its proper sauce; but he was not a great eater." "It was only in wine that he laid down no limit to himself, but he did not allow himself to be confused by it." "When the villagers were drinking together, on those who carried staves going out, he went out immediately after." There must always be ginger at the table, and "when eating, he did not converse." "Although his food might be coarse rice and poor soup, he would offer a little of it in sacrifice, with a grave respectful air."
"On occasion of a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind, he would change countenance. He would do the same, and rise up moreover, when he found himself a guest at a loaded board." "At the sight of a person in mourning he would also change countenance, and if he happened to be in his carriage, he would bend forward with a respectful salutation." "His general way in his carriage was not to turn his head round, nor talk hastily, nor point with his hands." He was charitable. "When any of his friends died, if there were no relations who could be depended on for the necessary offices, he would say, 'I will bury him.'"
The disciples were so careful to record these and other characteristics of their master, it is said, because every act, of movement or of rest, was closely associated with the great principles which it was his object to inculcate. The detail of so many small matters, however, does not impress a foreigner so favourably. There is a want of freedom about the philosopher. Somehow he is less a sage to me, after I have seen him at his table, in his undress, in his bed, and in his carriage.
HIS INFLUENCE AND OPINIONS.
1. Confucius died, we have seen, complaining that of all the princes of the empire there was not one who would adopt his principles and obey his lessons. Homage renHe had hardly passed from the stage of life S,^: when his merit began to be acknowledged, perort of China. When the Duke Gae heard of his death, he pronounced his eulogy in the words, "Heaven has not left to me the aged man. There is none now to assist me on the throne. Woe is me! Alas! 0 venerable Ne !" 1 TszeKung complained of the inconsistency of this lamentation from one who could not use the master when he was alive, but the duke was probably sincere in his grief. He caused a temple to be erected, and ordered that sacrifice should be offered to the sage, at the four seasons of the year.
The emperors of the tottering dynasty of Chow had not the intelligence, nor were they in a position, to do honour to the departed philosopher, but the facts detailed in the first chapter of these prolegomena, in connection with the attempt of the founder of the Ts'in dynasty to destroy the monuments of antiquity, show how the authority of Confucius had come by that time to prevail through the empire. The founder of the Han dynasty, in passing through Loo, B.C. 194, visited his tomb and offered an ox in sacrifice to him. Other emperors since then have often made pilgrimages to the spot. The most famous temple in the empire now rises over the place of the grave. K'ang-he, the second and greatest of the rulers of the present dynasty, in the twenty-third year of his reign, there set the example of kneeling thrice, and each time laying his forehead thrice in the dust, before the image of the sage.
In the year of our Lord 1, began the practice of conferring honorary designations on Confucius by imperial authority. The Emperor P'ing then styled him—" The Duke Ne, all
1 Le Ke, II, Pt. I. iii. 43. This eulogy is found at greater length in Tso-K'ew Ming, immediately after the notice of the sage's death.
complete and illustrious." This was changed, in A.d. 492, to—" The venerable Ne, the accomplished Sage." Other titles have supplanted this. Shun-che, the first of the Manchow dynasty, adopted, in his second year, A.d. 1645, the style,—"K'ung, the ancient Teacher, accomplished and illustrious, all-complete, the perfect Sage;" but twelve years later, a shorter title was introduced,—" K'ung, the ancient Teacher, the perfect Sage." Since that year no further alteration has been made.
At first the worship of Confucius was confined to the country of Loo, but in A.d. 57 it was enacted that sacrifices should be offered to him in the imperial college, and in all the colleges of the principal territorial divisions throughout the empire. In those sacrifices he was for some centuries associated with the duke of Chow, the legislator to whom Confucius made frequent reference; but in A.d. 609 separate temples were assigned to them, and in 628 our sage displaced the older worthy altogether. About the same time began the custom, which continues to the present day, of erecting temples to him,—separate structures, in connection with all the colleges, or examination-halls, of the country.
The sage is not alone in those'temples. In a hall behind the principal one occupied by himself are the tablets—in some cases, the images—of several of his ancestors, and other worthies; while associated with himself are his principal disciples, and many who in subsequent times have signalized themselves as expounders and exemplifiers of his doctrines. On the first day of every month, offerings of fruits and vegetables are set forth, and on the fifteenth there is a solemn burning of incense. But twice a year, in the middle months of spring and autumn, when the first "ting" day of the month comes round, the worship of Confucius is performed with peculiar solemnity. At the imperial college the emperor himself is required to attend in state, and is in fact the principal performer. After all the preliminary arrangements have been made, and the emperor has twice knelt and six times bowed his head to the earth, the presence of Confucius' spirit is invoked in the words, "Great art thou, O perfect sage! Thy virtue is full; thy doctrine is complete. Among mortal men there has not been thine equal. All kings honour thee. Thy statutes and laws have come gloriously down. Thou art the pattern in this imperial school. Reverently have the sacrificial vessels been set out. Full of awe, we sound our drums and bells."
The spirit is supposed now to be present, and the service proceeds through various offerings, when the first of which has been set forth, an officer reads the following, which is
the prayer on the occasion :—" On this month of this... I
year, I, A.B., the emperor, offer a sacrifice to the philosopher K'ung, the ancient Teacher, the perfect Sage, and say,—0 Teacher, in virtue equal to Heaven and Earth, whose doctrines embrace the past time and the present, thou didst digest and transmit the six classics, and didst hand down lessons for all generations! Now in this second month of spring (or autumn), in reverent observance of the old statutes, with victims, silks, spirits, and fruits, I carefully offer sacrifice to thee. With thee are associated the philosopher Yen, continuator of thee; the philosopher Tsang, exhibitor of thy fundamental principles ; the philosopher Tsze-sze, transmitter of thee; and the philosopher MSng, second to thee. May'st thou enjoy the offerings!"
I need not go on to enlarge on the homage which the emperors of China render to Confucius. It could not be more complete. It is worship and not mere homage. He was unreasonably neglected when alive. He is now unreasonably venerated when dead. The estimation with which the rulers of China regard their sage leads them to sin against God, and this is a misfortune to the empire.
2. The rulers of China are not singular in this matter, but in entire sympathy with the mass of their people. It is the distinction of this empire that education „ ,
.,..r„ ,. General ap.
has been highly prized in it from the earnest preciatjon of times. It was so before the era of Confucius, and Confucluswe may be sure that the system met with his approbation. One of his remarkable sayings was,—" To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to throw them away."1 When he pronounced this judgment, he was not thinking of military training, but of education in the duties of life and citizenship. A people so taught, he thought, would be morally fitted to fight for their government. Mencius,
when lecturing to the duke of T'ang on the proper way of governing a kingdom, told him that he must provide the means of education for all, the poor as well as the rich, "Establish," said he, "ts'eang, sen, heS, and heaou,—all those educational institutions,—for the instruction of the people."1
At the present day education is widely diffused throughout China. In no other country is the schoolmaster more abroad, and in all schools it is Confucius who is taught. The plan of competitive examinations, and the selection for civil offices only from those who have been successful candidates,—good so far as the competition is concerned, but injurious from the restricted range of subjects with which an acquaintance is required,—have obtained for more than twelve centuries. The classical works are the text books. It is from them almost exclusively that the themes proposed to determine the knowledge and ability of the students are chosen. The whole of the magistracy of China is thus versed in all that is recorded of the sago, and in the ancient literature which he preserved. His thoughts are familiar to every man in authority, and his character is more or less reproduced in him.
The official civilians of China, numerous as they are, are but a fraction of its students, and the students, or those who make literature a profession, are again but a fraction of those who attend school for a shorter or longer period. Yet so far as the studies have gone, they have been occupied with the Confucian writings. In many school-rooms there is a tablet or inscription on the wall, sacred to the sage, and every pupil is required, on coming to school on the morning of the first and fifteenth of every month, to bow before it, the first thing, as an act of worship.3 Thus, all in China who receive the slightest tincture of learning do so at the fountain of Confucius. They learn of him and do homage to him at once. I have repeatedly quoted the statement that during his life-time he had three thousand disciples. Hundreds of millions are his disciples now. It
1 Mencius, IIL Pt. I. iii. 10.
2 During the present dynasty, the tablet of the god of literature has to a considerable extent displaced that of Confucius in schools Yet the worship of him does not clash with that of the other. He is "the father " of composition only.