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long the government would have ranked them with the barbarous hordes of antiquity, and given them the benefit of the maxim about ‘indulgent treatment,’ according to its own understanding of it. But when their governments interfered, and claimed to treat with that of China on terms of equality, and that their subjects should be spoken to and of as being of the same clay with the Chinese themselves, an outrage was committed on tradition and prejudice, which it was necessary to resent with vehemence.
I do not charge the contemptuous arrogance of the Chinese government and people upon Confucius; what I deplore, is that he left no principles on record to check the development of such a spirit. His simple views of society and government were in a measure sufficient for the people while they dwelt apart from the rest of mankind. His practical lessons were better than if they had been left, which but for him they probably would have been, to fall a prey to the influences of Taoism and Buddhism, but they could only subsist while they were left alone. Of the earth earthy, China. was sure to go to pieces when it came into collision with a Christianly-civilized power. Its sage had left it no preservative or restorative elements against such a case.
It is a rude awakening from its complacency of centuries which China has now received. Its ancient landmarks are swept away. Opinions will differ as to the justice or injustice of the grounds on which it has been assailed, and I do not feel called to judge or to pronounce here concerning them. In the progress of events, it could hardly be but that the collision should come ; and when it did come it could not be but that China should be broken and scattered. Disorganization will go on to destroy it more and more, and yet there is hope for the people, with their veneration for the relations of society, with their devotion to learning, and with their habits of industry and sobriety ;—there is hope for them, if they will look away from all their ancient sages, and turn to Him, who sends them, along with the dissolution of their ancient state, the knowledge of Himself, the only living and true God, and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.
8. I have little more to add on the opinions of Confucius. Many of his sayings are pithy, and display much knowledge of character ; but as they are contained in the body of the Work, I will not occupy the space here with a selection of those which have struck myself as most worthy of notice. The fourth Book of the Analects, which is on the subject Of zan, or perfect virtue, has several utterances which are remarkable.
Thornton observes :—‘ It may excite surprise, and probably incredulity, to state that the golden rule of our Saviour, ‘ Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you,’ which Mr. Locke designates as ‘ the most unshaken rule of morality, and foundation of all social virtue,’ had been inculcated by Confucius, almost in the same words, four centuries before‘.’ I have taken notice of this fact in reviewing both ‘The Great Learning’ and ‘ The Doctrine of the Mean.’ I would be far from grudging a tribute of admiration to Confucius for it. The maxim occurs also twice in the Analects. In Book XV. xxiii, Tsze-kung asks if there be one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life, and is answered, ‘ Is not reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to yourself do not do to others.’ The same disciple appears in Book V. xi, telling Confucius that he was practising the lesson. He says, ‘What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men; ’ but the master tells him, ‘Ts'ze, you have not attained to that.’ It would appear from this reply, that he was aware Of the difficulty of obeying the precept ; and it is not found, in its condensed expression at least, in the older classics. The merit Of it is Confucius’s own.
When a comparison, however, is drawn between it and the rule laid down by Christ, it is proper to call attention to the positive form of the latter,——-‘ All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.’ The lesson of the gospel commands men to do what they feel to be right and good. It requires them to commence a course of such conduct, without regard to the conduct of others to themselves. The lesson of Confucius only forbids men to do What they feel to be wrong and hurtful. So far as the point of priority is concerned, moreover, Christ adds, ‘This is the law and the prophets.’ The maxim was to be found substantially in the earlier revelations of God. Still it must be allowed that Confucius was well aware of the importance of taking the initiative in discharging all the relations of society. See his words as quoted from ‘The Doctrine of the Mean’ on pages 48, 49 above.
But the worth of the two maxims depends on the intention of the enunciators in regard to their application. Confucius, it seems to me, did not think of the reciprocity coming into action beyond the circle of his five relations of society. Possibly, he might have
‘ History of China, vol. i. p. 209.
required its observance in dealings even with the rude tribes, which were the only specimens of mankind besides his own countrymen of which he knew anything, for on one occasion, when asked about perfect virtue, he replied, ‘ 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 the rude uncultivated tribes, these qualities may not be neglected‘.’ Still, Confucius delivered his rule to his countrymen only, and only for their guidance in their relations of which I have had so much occasion to speak. The rule of Christ is for man as man, having to do with other men, all with himself on the same platform, as the children and subjects of the one God and Father in heaven.
How far short Confucius came of the standard of Christian benevolence, may be seen from his remarks when asked what was to be thought of the principle that injury should be recompensed with kindness. He replied, ‘With what then will you recompense kindness? Recompense injury with justice, and recompense kindness with kindnessz.’ The same deliverance is given in one of the Books of the Li Chi, where he adds that ‘ he who recompenses injury with kindness is a man who is careful of his persona.’ Chang Hsiian, the commentator 0f the second century, says that such a course would be ‘incorrect in point of propriety 4.’ This ‘propriety’ was a great stumbling-block in the way of Confucius. His morality was the result of the balancings of his intellect, fettered by the decisions of men of old, and not the gushings of a loving heart, responsive to the promptings of Heaven, and in sympathy with erring and feeble humanity.
This subject leads me on to the last of the opinions of Confucius which I shall make the subject of remark in this place. A commentator observes, with reference to the inquiry about recompensing injury with kindness, that the questioner was asking only about trivial matters, which might be dealt with in the way he mentioned, while great offences, such as those against a sovereign or a father, could not be dealt with by such an inversion of the principles of justice“. In the second Book of the Li Chi there is the following passage :—‘ With the slayer of his father, a man may not live under the same heaven; against the slayer of his brother, a man must never have to go home to fetch a weapon; with the slayer of
his friend, a man may not live in the same State 1.’ The lea: taliom's is here laid down in its fullest extent. The Chau Li tells us of a provision made against the evil consequences of the principle, by the appointment of a minister called ‘ The Reconcilerz.’ The provision is very inferior to the cities of refuge which were set apart by Moses for the manslayer to flee to from the fury of the avenger. Such as it was, however, it existed, and it is remarkable that Confucius, when consulted on the subject, took no notice of it, but affirmed the duty of blood-revenge in the strongest and most unrestricted terms. His disciple Tsze-hsia asked him, ‘ What course is to be pursued in the case of the murder of a father or mother?’ He replied, ‘ The son must sleep upon a matting of grass, with his shield for his pillow ; he must decline to take office; he must not live under the same heaven with the slayer. When he meets him in the marketplace or the court, he must have his weapon ready to strike him.’ ‘And what is the course on the murder of a brother?’ ‘ The surviving brother must not take office in the same State with the slayer; yet if he go on his prince’s service to the State where the slayer is, though he meet him, he must not fight with him.’ ‘ And what is the course on the murder of an uncle or a cousin ?’ ‘ In this case the nephew or cousin is not the principal. If the principal on whom the revenge devolves can take it, he has only to stand behind with his weapon in his hand, and support him a.’
Sir John Davis has rightly called attention to this as one of the objectionable principles of Confucius‘. The bad effects of it are evident even in the present day. Revenge is sweet to the Chinese. I have spoken of their readiness to submit to government, and wish to live in peace, yet they do not like to resign even to government the ‘inquisition for blood.’ Where the ruling authority is feeble, as it is at present, individuals and clans take the law into their own hands, and whole districts are kept in a state of constant feud and warfare.
But I must now leave the sage. I hope I have not done him injustice; the more I have studied his character and opinions, the more highly have I come to regard him. He was a very great man, and his influence has been on the whole a great benefit to the Chinese, while his teachings suggest important lessons to ourselves who profess to belong to the school of Christ.
HIS IMMEDIATE DISCIPLES.
Sze-ma Ch'ien makes Confucius say :—‘ The disciples who received my instructions, and could themselves comprehend them, were seventy-seven individuals. They were all scholars of extraordinary abilityl. The common saying is, that the disciples of the sage were three thousand, while among them there were seventy-two worthies. I propose to give here a list of all those whose names have come down to us, as being his followers. Of the greater number it will be seen that we know nothing more than their names and surnames. My principal authorities will be the ‘Historical Becords,’ the ‘Narratives of the School,’ ‘The Sacrificial Canon for the Sage’s Temple, with Plates,’ and the chapter on ‘ The Disciples of Confucius' prefixed to the ‘Four Books, Text and Commentary, with Proofs and Illustrations.’ In giving a few notices of the better-known individuals, I will endeavour to avoid what may be gathered from the Analects.
I. Yen Hui, by designation Tsze-yiian [E], i ¥ He was a native of Li), the favourite of his master, whose junior he was by thirty years, and whose disciple he became when he was quite a youth. ‘After I got Hui,’ Confucius remarked, ‘the disciples came closer to me.’ We are told that once, when he found himself on the Nang hill with Hui, Tsze-lfi, and Tsze-kung, Confucius asked them to tell him their different aims, and he would choose between them. Tsze-lu began, and when he had done, the master said, ‘It marks your hravery.’ Tsze-kung followed, on whose words the judgment was, ‘They show your discriminating eloquence.’ At last came Yen Yuan, who said, ‘I should like to find an intelligent king and sage ruler whom I might assist. I would diffuse among the people instructions on the five great points, and lead them on by the rules of propriety and music, so that they should not care to fortify their cities by walls and moats, but would fuse their swords and spears into implements of agriculture. They should send forth their flocks without fear into the plains and forests. There should be no sunderings of families, no widows or widowers. For a thousand