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Verily this would be learning not for adults only, but even Methuselahs would not be able to compass it. Yet for centuries this has been accepted as the orthodox exposition of the Classic. Lo Chung-fan does not express himself too strongly when he says that such language is altogether incoherent. The author would only be ‘imposing on himself and others.’
9. The orthodox doctrine of China concerning the connexion between intelligence and virtue is most seriously erroneous, but I will not lay to the charge of the author of the Great Learning the wild representations of the commentator of our twelfth century, nor need I make here any remarks on what the doctrine really is. After the exhibition which I have given, my readers will probably conclude that the Work before us is far from developing, as Pauthier asserts, ‘a system of social perfectionating which has never been equalled.’
10. The Treatise has undoubtedly great merits, but they are not to be sought in the severity of its logical processes, or the large-minded prosecution of any course of thought. We shall find them in the announcement of certain seminal principles, which, if recognised in government and the regulation of conduct, would conduce greatly to the happiness and Virtue of mankind. I will conclude these observations by specifying four such principles.
First. The writer conceives nobly of the objectof government, that it,i_§__t0 make its subjects happy and good, This may not be a sufficient account of that object, but it is much to have it so clearly laid down to ‘all kings and governors,’ that they are to love the people, ruling not for their own gratification but for the good of those over whom they are exalted by Heaven. Very important also is the statement that rulers have no divine right but~ what springs from the discharge of their duty. ‘ The decree does not always rest on them. Goodness obtains it, and the want of goodness loses it‘.’
Second. The insisting on personal excellence in all who have authority in the family, the state, and the kingdom, is a great moral and social principle. The influence of such personal excellence may be overstated, but by the requirement of its cultivation the writer deserved well of his country.
Third. Still more important than the requirement of such excellence, is the principle that it must be rooted in the state of
the heart, and be the naturalpoutgrowth 0f interna_l__ sincerity. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.’ This is the teaching alike of Solomon and the author of the Great Learning.
Fourth. I mention last the striking exhibition which we have of the golden rule, though only in its negative form :—‘ What a man dislikes in his superiors, let him not display in the treatment of his inferiors ; what he dislikes in inferiors, let him not display in his service of his superiors; what he dislikes in those who are before him, let him not therewith precede those who are behind him; what he dislikes in those who are behind him, let him not therewith follow those who are before him; what he dislikes to receive on the right, let him not bestow en the left; what he dislikes to receive on the left, let him not bestow on the right. This is What is called the principle with which, as with a measuring square, to regulate one’s conduct1.'
The Work which contains those principles cannot be thought meanly of. They are ‘commonplace,’ as the writer in the Chinese Repository calls them, but they are at the same time eternal
THE DOCTRINE OF THE MEAN.
rrs PLACE IN THE Li cui, AND ITS PUBLICATION SEPARATELY.
I. The Doctrine of the Mean was one of the treatises which came to light in connexion with the labours of Lifi Hsiang, and its place as the thirty-first Book in the Li Chi was finally determined by M5. Yung and Chang Hsi'ian. In the translation of the Li Chi in ‘ The Sacred Books of the East’ it is the twenty-eighth Treatise.
2. But while it was thus made to form a part of the great collection of Treatises on Ceremonies, it maintained a separate footing of its own. In Lin Hsin’s Catalogue of the Classical Works, we find ‘Two p'z'en of Observations on the Chung Yungl.’ In the Records of the dynasty of Siii (A.D. 589—618), in the chapter on the History of Literature 2, there are mentioned three Works on the Chung Yung ;—the first called ‘The Record of the Chung Yung,' in two chila'n, attributed to Tai Yung, a scholar who flourished about the middle of the fifth century; the second, ‘A Paraphrase and Commentary on the Chung Yung,’ attributed to the emperor Wl'l (A.D. 502—549) of the Liang dynasty, in one chiian ; and the third, ‘A Private Record, Determining the Meaning of the Chung Yung,’ in five chilan, the author, or supposed author, of which is not mentioned 3.
It thus appears, that the Chung Yung had been published and commented on separately, long before the time of the Sung dynasty. The scholars of that, however, devoted special attention to it, the way being led by the famous Chan Lien-ch'i‘. He was followed by the two brothers Ch'ang, but neither of them published upon it. At last came Chfl Hsi, who produced his Work called
‘ The Chung Yung, in Chapters and Sentences‘,’ which was made the text book of the Classic at the literary examinations, by the fourth emperor of the Yuan dynasty (A. D. 1312-1320), and from that time the name merely of the Treatise was retained in editions of the Li Chi. Neither text nor ancient commentary was given.
Under the present dynasty it is not so. In the superb edition of ‘ The Three L’i Ching,’ edited by numerous committees of scholars towards the middle of the Ch‘ien-lung reign, the Chung Yung is published in two parts, the ancient commentaries from ‘The Thirteen Ching' being given side by side with those of Chfl Hsi.
ITS AUTHOR; AND SOME ACCOUNT OF HIM.
I. The composition of the Chung Yung is attributed to K'ung Chi, the grandson of Confucius 2. Chinese inquirers and critics are agreed on this point, and apparently on sufficient grounds. There is indeed no internal evidence in the Work to lead us to such a conclusion. Among the many quotations of Confucius’s words and references to him, we might have expected to find some indication that the sage was the grandfather of the author, but nothing of the kind is given. The external evidence, however, or that from the testimony of authorities, is very strong. In Sze-ma Ch'ien's Historical Records, published about B. C. 100, it is expressly said that ‘Tsze-sze made the Chung Yung.’ And we have a still stronger proof, a century earlier, from Tsze-sze’s own descendant, K'ung Ffi, whose words are, ‘ Tsze-sze compiled the Chung Yung in forty-nine p'z'ens.’ We may, therefore, accept the received account without hesitation.
2. As Chi, spoken of chiefly by his designation of Tsze-sze, thus occupies a distinguished place in the classical literature of China, it
hid several books in the wall of his house, on the issuing of the imperial edict for their burning. He was a writer himself, and his Works are referred to under the title of
XL ¥ $3 I have not seen them, but the statement given above is found in the
may not be out of place to bring together here a few notices of him gathered from reliable sources.
He was the son of Li, whose death took place B.C. 483, four years before that of the sage, his father. I have not found it recorded in what year he was born. Sze-ma Ch'ien says he died at the age of 62. But this is evidently wrong, for we learn from Mencius that he was high in favour with the duke Mu of L111, whose accession to that principality dates in B. C. 409, seventy years after the death of Confucius. In the ‘ Plates and Notices of the Worthies, sacrificed to in the Sages Temples? it is supposed that the sixty-two in the Historical Records should be eighty-twoa. It is maintained by others that Tsze-sze’s life was protracted beyond 100 years‘. This variety of opinions simply shows that the point cannot be positively determined. To me it seems that the conjecture in the Sacrificial Canon must be pretty near the truth“.
During the years of his boyhood, then, Tsze-sze must have been with his grandfather, and received his instructions. It is related, that one day, when he was alone with the sage, and heard him sighing, he went up to him, and, bowing twice, inquired the reason of his grief. ‘ Is it,’ said be, ‘because you think that your descendants, through not cultivating themselves, will be unworthy of you? Or is it that, in your admiration of the ways of YAo and Shun, you are vexed that you fall short of them’i’ ‘ Child,’ replied Confucius, ‘how is it that you know my thoughts?’ ‘I have often,’ said Tsze-sze, ‘heard from you the lesson, that when the father has gathered and prepared the firewood, if the son cannot carry the bundle, he is to be pronounced degenerate and unworthy. The remark comes frequently into my thoughts, and fills me with great apprehensions.’ The sage was delighted. He
preface to the Chung Yang, —Q E % a 5 Li himself was born in
Confucius's twenty-first year, and if Tsze-sze had been born in Li's twenty-first year, he must have been 103 at the time of duke Mfi’s accession. But the tradition is, that Tsze-sze was a pupil of Tsiing Shan who was born 3.0. 504. We must place his birth therefore considerably later, and suppose him to have been quite young when his father died. I was talking ones about the question with a Chinese friend, who observed :—‘Li was fifty when he died, and his wife married again into a family of Wei. We can hardly think, therefore, that she was anything like that age. Li could not have married so soon as his father did. Perhaps he was about forty when Chi was born.‘