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twelfth century, nor can any evidence from ancient monuments _ be adduced in its support.
I have related how the ancient Classics were cut on slabs of stone by imperial order, A. D. 175, the text being that which the various literati had determined, and which had been adopted by Chang Hsiian. The same work was performed about seventy years later, under the so-called dynasty of Wei, between the years 240 and 248, and the two sets of slabs were set up together. The only difference between them was, that whereas the Classics had been cut in the first instance only in one form, the characters in the slabs of Wei were in three different forms. Amid the changes of dynasties, the slabs both of Han and Wei had perished, or nearly so, before the rise of the Tang dynasty, A. D. 624; but under one of its emperors, in the year 836, a copy of the Classics was again cut on stone, though only in one form of the character. These slabs we can trace down through the Sung dynasty, when they were known as the tablets of Shen 1. They were in exact conformity with the text of the Classics adopted by Chang Hsi'ian in his commentaries ; and they exist at the present day at the city of Hsi-an, Shen-hsi,still called by the same name.
The Sung dynasty did not accomplish a similar work itself, nor did either of the two which followed it think it necessary to engrave in stone in this way the ancient Classics. About the middle of the sixteenth century, however, the literary world in China was startled by a report that the slabs of Wei which contained the Great Learning had been discovered. But this was nothing more than the result of an impudent attempt at an imposition, for which it is difficult to a foreigner to assign any adequate cause. The treatise, as printed from these slabs, has some trifling additions, and many alterations in the order of the text, but differing from the arrangements proposed by Chi) Hsi, and by other scholars. There seems to be now no difference of opinion among Chinese critics that the whole affair was a forgery. The text of the Great Learning, as it appears in the Record of Rites with the commentary of Chang Hsiian, and was thrice engraved on stone, in three different dynasties, is, no doubt, that which was edited in the Han dynasty by Ma Yung.
3. I have said, that it is possible that the tablets containing the
text were not arranged with sufficient care by him; and indeed, any one who studies the treatise attentively, will probably come to the conclusion that the part of it forming the first six chapters of commentary in the present Work is but a fragment. It would not be a difficult task to propose an arrangement of the text different from any which I have yet seen; but such an undertaking would not be interesting out of China. My object here is simply to mention the Chinese scholars who have rendered themselves famous or notorious in their own country by what they have done in this way. The first was Ch'ang Hao, a native of Lo-yang in Ho-nan province, in the eleventh centuryl. His designation was Po-shun, but since his death he has been known chiefly by the style of Ming-tao 2, which we may render the Wise-in-doctrine. The eulogies heaped on him by Chfi Hsi and others are extravagant, and he is placed immediately after Mencius in the list of great scholars. Doubtless he was a. man of vast literary acquirements. The greatest change which he introduced into the Great Learning, was to read sin3 for ch'z'n‘, at the commencement, making the second object proposed in the treatise to be the renovation of the people, instead of loving them. This alteration and his various transpositions of the text are found in MAO Hsi-ho’s treatise on ‘The Attested Text of the Great Learning“)
Hardly less illustrious than Ch'ang HAO was his younger brother Ch'ang I, known by the style of Chang-shit“, and since his death by that of I-chwan 7. He followed Hao in the adoption of the reading ‘to renovate,’ instead of ‘to love.’ But he transposed the text differently, more akin to the arrangement afterwards made by Chfi Hsi, suggesting also that there were some superfluous sentences in the old text which might conveniently be erased. The Work, as proposed to be read by him, will be found in the volume of Mao just referred to.
We come to the name of Chfl Hsi who entered into the labours of the brothers Ch'ang, the younger of whom he styles his Master, in his introductory note to the Great Learning. His arrangement of the text is that now current in all the editions of the Four Books, and it had nearly displaced the ancient text
altogether. The sanction of Imperial approval was given to it during the Yuan and Ming dynasties. In the editions of the Five Ching published by them, only the names of the Doctrine of the Mean and the Great Learning were preserved. No text of these Books was given, and Hsi-ho tells us that in the reign of Chia-chingl, the most flourishing period of the Ming dynasty (an. 1522—1566), when Wang Witn-ch'ang2 published a copy of the Great Learning, taken from the Tang edition of the Thirteen Ching, all the ofiicers and scholars looked at one another in astonishment, and were inclined to suppose that the Work was a forgery. Besides adopting the reading of sin for ch'in from the Chang, and modifying their arrangements of the text, Chu Hsi made other innovations. He first divided the whole into one chapter of Classical text, which he assigned to Confucius, and ten chapters of Commentary, which he assigned to the disciple Tsang. Previous to him, the whole had been published, indeed, without any specification of chapters and paragraphs. He undertook, moreover, to supply one whole chapter, which he supposed, after his master Ch'ang, to be missing.
Since the time of Chu Hsi, many scholars have exercised their wit on the Great Learning. The work of Mao Hsi-ho contains four arrangements of the text, proposed respectively by the scholars Wang Lfl-chaia, Chi P'ang-shan4, Kao Ching-yi“, and K0 Ch'i-chans. The curious student may examine them there.
Under the present dynasty, the tendency has been to depreciate the labours of Chfl Hsi. The integrity of the text of Chang Hsiian is zealously maintained, and the simpler method of interpretation employed by him is advocated in preference to the more refined and ingenious schemes of the Sung scholars. I have referred several times in the notes to a Work published a few years ago, under the title of ‘The Old Text of the sacred Ohing, with Commentary and Discussions, by Le Chung-fan 0f Nan-hail] I knew the man many years ago. He was a fine scholar, and had taken the second degree, or that of Chu-zAn. He applied to me in 184 3 for Christian baptism, and, offended by my hesitancy, went and enrolled himself among the disciples of another missionary. He soon, however,
withdrew into seclusion, and spent the last years of his life in literary studies. His family have published the Work on the Great Learning, and one or two others. He most vehemently impugns nearly every judgment of Chfl Hsi; but in his own exhibitions of the meaning he blends many ideas of the Supreme Being and of the condition of human nature, which he had learned from the Christian Scriptures.
OF THE AUTHORSHIP, AND DISTINCTION OF THE TEXT INTO CLASSICAL
I. The authorship of the Great Learning is a very doubtful point, and one on which it does not appear possible to come to a decided conclusion. Chii Hsi, as I have stated in the last section, determined that so much of it was Ching, or Classic, being the very words of Confucius, and that all the rest was Chwan, or Commentary, being the views of Tsang Shan upon the sage’s words, recorded by his disciples. Thu, he does not expressly attribute the composition of the Treatise to Tsang, as he is generally supposed to do. What he says, however, as it is destitute of external support, is contrary also to the internal evidence. The fourth chapter of commentary commences with ‘The Master said.’ Surely, if there were anything more, directly from Confucius, there would be an intimation of it in the same way. Or, if we may allow that short sayings of Confucius might be interwoven with the Work, as in the fifteenth paragraph of the tenth chapter, without referring them expressly to him, it is too much to ask us to receive the long chapter at the beginning as being from him. With regard to the Work having come from the disciples of Tsang Shan, recording their master’s views, the paragraph in chapter sixth, commencing with ‘The disciple Tsang said,’ seems to be conclusive against such an hypothesis. So much we may be sure is Tsang’s, and no more. Both of Chfi Hsi’s judgments must be set aside. We cannot admit either the distinction of the contents into Classical text and Commentary, or that the Work was the production of Tsang’s disciples.
2. Who then was the author? An ancient tradition attributes it to K'ung Chi, the grandson of Confucius. In a notice published, at the time of their preparation, about the stone slabs of Wei, the following statement by Chia K‘wei, a noted scholar of the first century, is found :— ‘ When K'ung Chi was living, and in straits, in Sung, being afraid lest the lessons of the former sages should become obscure, and the principles of the ancient sovereigns and kings fall to the ground, he therefore made the Great Learning as the warp of them, and the Doctrine of the Mean as the woof 1.’ This would seem, therefore, to have been the opinion of that early time, and I may say the only difficulty in admitting it is that no mention is made of it by Chang Hsiian. There certainly is that agreement between the two treatises, which makes their common authorship not at all unlikely.
3. Though we cannot positively assign the authorship of the Great Learning, there can be no hesitation in receiving it as a genuine monument of the Confucian school. There are not many words in it from the sage himself, but it is a faithful reflection of his teachings, written by some of his followers, not far removed from him by lapse of time. It must synchronize pretty nearly with the Analects, and may be safely referred to the fifth century before our era. I
ITS SCOPE AND VALUE.
1. The worth of the Great Learning has been celebrated in most extravagant terms by Chinese writers, and there have been foreigners who have not yielded to them in their estimation of it. Pauthier, in the ‘Argument Philosophique,’ prefixed to his translation of the Work, says :—‘It is evident that the aim of the Chinese philosopher is to exhibit the duties of political government as those of the perfecting of self, and of the practice of virtue by all\ men. He felt that he had a higher mission than that with whichthe greater part of ancient and modern philosophers have contented themselves; and his immense love for the happiness of humanity, which dominated over all his other sentiments, has made of his