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philosophy a system of social perfectionating, which, we venture to say, has never been equalled.’

Very different is the judgment passed upon the treatise by a writer in the Chinese Repository: ‘ The T4 Hsio is a short politico-moral discourse. Td Hsio, or “ Superior Learning,” is at the same time both the name and the subject of the discourse; it is the summum bonum of the Chinese. In opening this Book, compiled by a disciple of Confucius, and containing his doctrines, we might expect to find a Work like Cicero’s De Oflici-is ,' but we find a very different production, consisting of a few commonplace rules for the maintenance of a good government‘.’

My readers will perhaps think, after reading the present section, that the truth lies between these two representations.

2. I believe that the Book should be styled T‘di Hsio 2, and not T d Hsio, and that it was so named as setting forth the higher and more extensive principles of moral science, which come into use and manifestation in the conduct of government. When Chfi Hsi endeavours to make the title mean—‘ The principles of Learning, which were taught in the higher schools of antiquity,’ and tells us how at the age of fifteen, all the sons of the sovereign, with the legitimate sons of the nobles, and high ofiicers, down to the more promising scions of the common people, all entered these seminaries, and were taught the difficult lessons here inculcated, we pity the ancient youth of China. Such ‘strong meat’ is not adapted for the nourishment of youthful minds. But the evidence adduced for the existence of such educational institutions in ancient times is unsatisfactory, and from the older interpretation of the title we advance more easily to contemplate the object and method of the Work.

3. The object is stated definitely enough in the opening paragraph: ‘ What the Great Learning teaches, is—to illustrate illustrious virtue; to love the people; and to rest in the highest excellence.’ The political aim of the writer is here at once evident. He has before him on one side, the people, the masses of the empire, and over against them are those whose work and duty, delegated by Heaven, is to govern them, culminating, as a class, in ‘ the son of Heavens,’ ‘ the One man‘,’ the sovereign. From the fourth and

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fifth paragraphs, we see that if the lessons of the treatise be learned and carried into practice, the result will be that ‘illustrious virtue will be illustrated throughout the nation,’ which will be brought, through all its length and breadth, to a. condition of happy tranquillity. This object is certainly both grand and good; and if a reasonable and likely method to secure it were proposed in the Work, language would hardly supply terms adequate to express its value.

4. But the above account of the object of the Great Learning leads us to the conclusion that the student of it should be a sovereign. What interest can an ordinary man have in it? It is high up in the clouds, far beyond his reach. This is a serious objection to it, and quite unfits it for a place in schools, such as Chfi Hsi contends it once had. Intelligent Chinese, whose minds were somewhat quickened by Christianity, have spoken to me of this defect, and complained of the difficulty they felt in making the book a practical directory for their conduct. ‘ It is so vague and vast,’ was the observation of one man. The writer, however, has made some provision for the general application of his instructions. He tells us that, from the sovereign down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person to be the root, that is, the first thing to be attended to‘. As in his method, moreover, he 1 reaches from the cultivation of the person to the tranquillization of the kingdom, through the intermediate steps of the regulation of the ‘ family, and the government of the State 2, there is room for setting forth principles that parents and rulers generally may find adapted for their guidance.

5. The method which is laid down for the attainment of the great object proposed, consists of seven steps :—the investigation of things ; the completion of knowledge; the sincerity of the thoughts ; the rectifying of the heart ; the cultivation of the person; the regulation of the family; and the government of the State. These form the steps of a climax, the end of which is the kingdom tranquillized. Pauthier calls the paragraphs where they occur instances of the sorites, or abridged syllogism. But they belong to rhetoric, and not to logic.

6. In offering some observations on these steps, and the writer's treatment of them, it will be well to separate them into those preceding the cultivation of the person, and those following it ; and to

1 C]. Text, par. 6. a Cl. Text, pars. 4. 5.

deal with the latter first—Let us suppose that the cultivation of the person is fully attained, every discordant mental element having been subdued and removed. It is assumed that the regulation of the family will necessarily flow from this. Two short paragraphs 'are all that are given to the illustration of the point, and they are vague generalities on the subject of men’s being led astray by their feelings and affections.

{ The family being regulated, there will result from it the govern

! ment of the State. F irst, the virtues taught in the family have their correspondencies in the wider sphere. F ilial piety will appear as loyalty. Fraternal submission will be seen in respect and obedience to elders and superiors. Kindness is capable of universal application. Second, ‘From the loving example of one family, a whole State becomes loving, and from its courtesies the whole State becomes courteous‘.’ Seven paragraphs suffice to illustrate these statements, and short as they are, the writer goes back to the topic of self-cultivation, returning from the family to the individual.

The State being governed, the whole empire will become peaceful and happy. There is even less of connexion, however, in the treatment of this theme, between the premise and the conclusion, than in the two previous chapters. Nothing is said about the relation between the whole kingdom, and its component States, or any one of them. It is said at once, ‘What is meant by “The making the whole kingdom peaceful and happy depends on the government of the State,” is this :—When the sovereign behaves to his aged, as the aged should be behaved to, the people become filial ; when the sovereign behaves to his elders, as elders should be behaved to, the people learn brotherly submission ; when the sovereign treats compassionately the young and helpless, the people do the same 2.’ This is nothing but a repetition of the preceding chapter, instead of that chapter’s being made a step from which to go on to the splendid consummation of the good government of the whole kingdom.

The words which I have quoted are followed by a very striking enunciation of the golden rule in its negative form, and under the name of the measuring square, and all the lessons of the chapter are connected more or less closely with that. The application of this principle by a ruler, whose heart is in the first place in loving sympathy with the people, will guide him in all the exactions which

‘ See Comm. ix. 3. 1 See Comm. x. 1.

he lays upon them, and in his selection of ministers, in such a way that he will secure the affections of his subjects, and his throne will be established, for ‘ by gaining the people, the kingdom is gained, and, by losing the people, the kingdom is lostl.’ There are in this part of the treatise many valuable sentiments, and counsels for all in authority over others. The objection to it is, that, as the last step of the climax, it does not rise upon all the others with the accumulated force of their conclusions, but introduces us to new principles of action, and a new line of argument. Cut off the commencement of the first paragraph which connects it with the preceding chapters, and it would form a brief but admirable treatise by itself on the art of government.

This brief review of the writer's treatment of the concluding steps of his method will satisfy the reader that the execution is not equal to the design; and, moreover, underneath all the reasoning, and more especially. apparent in the eighth and ninth chapters of commentary (according to the ordinary arrangement of the work), therewlieithg assumptippn that example is all but omnipotent. We find this principle pervading all the Confucian philosophy. And doubtless it is a truth, most important in education and government, that the influence of example is very great. I believe, and will insist upon it hereafter in these prolegomena, that we have come to overlook this element in our conduct of administration. It will be well if the study of the Chinese Classics should call attention to it. Yet in them the subject is pushed to an extreme, and represented in an extravagant manner. Proceeding from the view of human nature that it is entirely good, and led astray only by influences from without, the sage of China and his followers attribute to personal example and to instruction a power which we do not find that they actually possess.

7. The steps which precede the cultivation of the person are more briefly dealt with than those which we have just considered. ‘The cultivation of the person results from the rectifying of the] heart or mind 2.’ True, but in the Great Learning very inadequately set forth.

‘The rectifying of the mind is realised when the thoughts are made sincerea.’ And the thoughts are sincere, when no self~ deception is allowed, and we move without effort to what is right and wrong, ‘as we love what is beautiful, and as we dislike a bad

1 Comm. x. 5- ’ Comm. vii. r. - 3 Comm. Ch. vi.

smell‘.’ How are we to attain to this state? Here the Chinese moralist fails us. According to 01m Hsi’s arrangement of the Treatise, there is only one sentence from which we can frame a _ reply to the above question. ‘ Therefore,’ it is said, ‘ the superior man must be watchful over himself when he is alone 2.’ Following Chfi’s sixth chapter of commentary, and forming, we may say, part of it, we have in the old arrangement of the Great Learning all the passages which he has distributed so as to form the previous five chapters. But even from the examination of them, we do not obtain the information which we desire on this momentous inquiry.

8. Indeed, the more I study the Work, the more satisfied I become, that from the conclusion of what is now called the chapter of classical text to the sixth chapter of commentary, we have only a few fragments, which it is of no use trying to arrange, so as fairly to exhibit the plan of the author. According to his method, the chapter on the connexion between making the thoughts sincere and so rectifying the mental nature, should be preceded by one on the completion of knowledge as the means of making the thoughts sincere, and that again by one on the completion of knowledge by the investigation of things, or whatever else the phrase k0 20:2 may mean. I am less concerned for the loss and injury which this part of the Work has suffered, because the subject of the connexion between intelligence and virtue is very fully exhibited in the Doctrine of the Mean, and will come under our notice in the review of that Treatise. The manner in which Chfl Hsi has endeavoured to supply the blank about the perfecting of knowledge by the investigation of things is too extravagant. ‘The Learning for Adults,’ he says, ‘ at the outset of its lessons, instructs the learner, in regard to all things in the world, to proceed from what knowledge he has of their principles, and pursue his investigation of them, till he reaches the extreme point. After exerting himself for a long time, he will suddenly find himself possessed of a wide and far-reaching penetration. Then, the qualities of all things, whether external or internal, the subtle or the coarse, will be apprehended, and the mind, in its entire substance and its relations to things, will be perfectly intelligent. This is called the investigation of things. This is called the perfection of knowledge 3.' And knowledge must be thus perfected before we can achieve the sincerity of our thoughts, and the rectifying of our hearts!

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