תמונות בעמוד
PDF

secret,’ by which he means to tell us that the path of duty is to be pursued everywhere and at all times, while yet the secret spring and rule of it is near at hand, in the Heaven-conferred nature, the individual consciousness, with which no stranger can intermeddle. Chfl Hsi, as will be seen in the notes, gives a different interpretation of the utterance. But the view which I have adopted is maintained convincingly by Mao Hsi-ho in the second part of his ‘ Observations on the Chung Yung.’ With this chapter commences the third part of the Work, which embraces also the eight chapters which follow. ‘ It is designed,’ says Chfi Hsi, ‘to illustrate what is said in the first chapter that “the path may not be left.” ' But more than that one sentence finds its illustration here. Tsze-sze had reference in it also to what he had said—‘ The superior man does not wait till he sees things to be cautious, nor till he hears things to be apprehensive. There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. Therefore, the superior man is watchful over himself when he is alone.’

It is in this portion of the Chung Yung that we find a. good deal of moral instruction which is really valuable. Most of it consists of sayings of Confucius, but the sentiments of Tsze-sze himself in his own language are interspersed with them. The sage of China has no higher utterances than those which are given in the thirteenth chapter.—‘ The path is not far from man. When men try to pursue a course which is far from the common indications of consciousness, this course cannot be considered the path. In the Book of Poetry it is said—

“In hewing an axe-handle, in hewing an axe-handle,
The pattern is not far off.”

We grasp one axe-handle to hew the other, and yet if we look askance from the one to the other, we may consider them as apart. Therefore, the superior man governs men according to their nature, with what is proper to them; and as soon as they change what is wrong, he stops. When one cultivates to the utmost the moral principles of his nature, and exercises them on the principle of reciprocity, he is not far from the path. What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others.’

‘ In the way of the superior man there are four things, to none of which have I as yet attained—To serve my father as I would require my son to serve me: to this I have not attained; to serve my elder brother as I would require my younger brother to serve me: to this I have not attained; to serve my ruler as I would require my minister to serve me: to this I have not attained; to set the example in behaving to a friend as I would require him to behave to me: to this I have not attained. Earnest in practising the ordinary virtues, and careful in speaking about them; if in his practice he has anything defective, the superior man dares not but .exert himself; and if in his words he has any excess, he dares not allow himself such license. Thus his words have respect to his actions, and his actions have respect to his words ;—is it not just an entire sincerity which marks the superior man ?’

We have here the golden rule in its negative form expressly propounded :—‘ What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others.’ But in the paragraph which follows we have the rule virtually in its positive form. Confucius recognises the duty of taking the initiative,—of behaving himself to others in the first instance as he would that they should behave to him. There is a. certain narrowness, indeed, in that the sphere of its operations seems to be confined to the relations of society, which are spoken of more at large in the twentieth chapter, but let us not grudge the tribute of our warm approbation to the sentiments.

This chapter is followed by two from Tsze-sze, to the effect that the superior man does what is proper in every change of his situation, always finding his rule in himself; and that in his practice there is an orderly advance from step to step,—from what is near to what is remote. Then follow five chapters from Confucius :—the first, on the operation and influence of spiritual beings, to show ‘the manifestness of what is minute, and the ilrepressibleness of sincerity;' the second, on the filial piety of Shun, and how it was rewarded by Heaven with the throne, with enduring fame, and with long life; the third and fourth, on the kings Win and Wii, and the duke of Chan, celebrating them for their filial piety and other associate virtues; and the fifth, on the subject of government. These chapters are interesting enough in themselves, but when I go back from them, and examine whether I have from them any better understanding of the paragraphs in the first chapter which they are said to illustrate, I do not find that I have. Three of them, the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth, would be more in place in the Classic of Filial Piety than here in the Chung Yung. The meaning of the

VOL. I. E

sixteenth is shadowy and undefined. After all the study which I have directed to it, there are some points in reference to which I have still doubts and difficulties.

The twentieth chapter, which concludes the third portion of the Work, contains a full exposition of Confucius’s views on government, though professedly descriptive only of that of the kings Win and Wfi. Along with lessons proper for a ruler there are many also of universal application, but the mingling of them perplexes the mind. It tells us of ‘the five duties of universal application,’— those between sovereign and minister, husband and wife, father and son, elder and younger brother, and friends; of ‘the three virtues by which those duties are carried into effect,’ namely, knowledge, benevolence, and energy; and of ‘the one thing, by which those virtues are practised,’ which is singleness or sincerity 1. It sets forth in detail the ‘ nine standard rules for the administration of government,’ which are ‘ the cultivation by the ruler of his own character ; the honouring men of virtue and talents; affection to his relatives; respect towards the great ministers; kind and considerate treatment of the whole body of officers; cherishing the mass of the people as children; encouraging all classes of artizans; indulgent treatment of men from a distance; and the kindly cherishing of the princes of the States 2.’ There are these and other equally interesting topics in this chapter; but, as they are in the Work, they distract the mind, instead of making the author's great object more clear to it, and I will not say more upon them here.

6. Doubtless it was the mention of ‘ singleness,’ or ‘sincerity,’ in the twentieth chapter, which made Tsze-sze introduce it into this Treatise, for from those terms he is able to go on to develope what he intended in saying that ‘if the states of Equilibrium and Harmony exist in perfection, a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.’ It is here, that now we are astonished at the audacity of the writer's assertions, and now lost in vain endeavours to ascertain his meaning. I have quoted the words of Confucius that it is ‘singleness ’ by which the three virtues of knowledge, benevolence, and energy are able to carry into practice the duties of universal obligation. He says also that it is this same ‘singleness’ by which ‘the nine standard rules of government’ can be effectively carried outs. This ‘singleness’ is merely a name for ‘the states of Equilibrium

[ocr errors]

and Harmony existing in perfection.’ It denotes a character absolutely and relatively good, wanting nothing in itself, and correct in all its outgoings. ‘Sincerity’ is another term for the same thing, and in speaking about it, Confucius makes a distinction between sincerity absolute and sincerity acquired. The former is born with some, and practised by them without any effort; the latter is attained by study, and practised by strong endeavour 1. The former is ‘ the way of Heaven ;’ the latter is ‘ the way of men 2.’ ‘He who possesses sincerity,’—absolutely, that is,—‘ is he who without effort hits what is right, and apprehends without the exercise of thought; he is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to sincerity, is he who chooses what is good and firmly holds it fast. And to this attainment there are requisite the extensive study of what is good, accurate inquiry about it, careful reflection on it, the clear discrimination of it, and the earnest practice of it 3,’ In these passages Confucius unhesitatingly enunciates his belief that there are some men who are absolutely perfect, who come into the world as we might conceive the first man was, when he was created by God ‘in His own image,’ full of knowledge and righteousness, and who grow up as we know that Christ did, ‘increasing in wisdom and in stature.’ He disclaimed being considered to be such an one himself‘, but the sages of China were such. And moreover, others Who are not so naturally may make themselves to become so. Some will have to put forth more effort and to contend with greater struggles, but the end will be the possession of the knowledge and the achievement of the practice.

I need not say that these sentiments are contrary to the views of human nature which are presented in the Bible. The testimony of Revelation is that ‘there is not a just man upon earth that doeth good and sinneth not.’ ‘If we say that we have no sin,’ and in writing this term, I am thinking here not of sin against God, but, if we can conceive of it apart from that, of failures in regard to what ought to be in our regulation of ourselves, and in our behaviour to others ;—-‘ if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.’ This language is appropriate in the lips of the learned as well as in those of the ignorant, to the highest sage as to the lowest child of the soil. Neither the scriptures of God nor the experience of man know of individuals

‘ Par. 9. ' Par. 18. - ' Pars. 18, 19. ' Ana. VII. xix.

absolutely perfect. The other sentiment that men can make themselves perfect is equally wide of the truth. Intelligence and goodness by no means stand to each other in the relation of cause and effect. The sayings of Ovid, ‘Video meliora probogue, deteriora. seguor,’ ‘Nitz'mu'r in vetitum sempe'r, cupimusque negata,’ are a more correct expression of the facts of human consciousness and conduct than the high-flown praises of Confucius.

7. But Tsze-sze adopts the dicta of his grandfather without questioning them, and gives them forth in his own style at the commencement of the fourth part of his Treatise. ‘ When we have intelligence resulting from sincerity, this condition is to be ascribed to nature; when we have sincerity resulting from intelligence, this condition is to be ascribed to instruction. But given the sincerity, and there shall be the intelligence; given the intelligence, and there shall be the sincerity 1.’

Tsze-sze does more than adopt the dicta of Confucius. He applies them in a way which the Sage never did, and which he would probably have shrunk from doing. The sincere, or perfect man of Confucius, is he who satisfies completely all the requirements of duty in the various relations of society, and in the exercise of government ; but the sincere man of Tsze-sze is a potency in the universe. ‘Able to give its full development to his own nature, he can do the same to the nature of other men. Able to give its full development to the nature of other men, he can give their full development to the natures of animals and things. Able to give their full development to the natures of creatures and things, he can assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth. Able to assist the transforming and nourishing powers of Heaven and Earth, he may with Heaven and Earth form a ternion 2.’ Such are the results of sincerity natural. The case below this—of sincerity acquired, is as follows,—‘ The individual cultivates its shoots. From these he can attain to the possession of sincerity. This sincerity becomes apparent. From being apparent, it becomes manifest. From being manifest, it becomes brilliant. Brilliant, it affects others. Afl'ecting others, they are changed by it. Changed by it, they are transformed. It is only he who is possessed of the most complete sincerity that can exist under heaven, who can transforms.’ It may safely be affirmed, that when he thus expressed himself, Tsze-sze understood neither what he said nor

[ocr errors]
« הקודםהמשך »