תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

discipline, otherwise than by a reference to itselt; but I have a perfect right to refer to its language, and give to it any fair construction, as being their meaning; and this language admits of no other construction than that it is intended to confine our business meetings to those who are clean-handed, who have never committed an offence against the discipline, to the extent of having a charge of one brought to the meeting. It matters not as to what disposition may be made of the charge, if it is carried to the meeting, the offender is not to attend any of our meetings of discipline.

By this clause of discipline, all you who have had your cases before a meeting, as offenders, would be excluded from this meeting, and you are not rightly here in attendance. And this is all that our discipline says upon this subject, with one single exception. It afterwards, in another clause, gives to an appellant the right to attend the meeting, while his committee is being appointed. Daniel H. Sutton then has the right to be here, and your having decided that he is so circumstanced, that he can rightly appear by a representative, gives to his representative the right to be here ; and if Daniel H. Sutton has the right to be here, and also to select a representative, if he cannot attend in person ; it cannot be otherwise than a right with him, to select as his representative, a person circumstanced with reference to the scciety precisely as he is himself. If his own position does not exclude him, a similar position cannot exclude his representative, circumstanced in this respect precisely as is Daniel H. Sutton. We have each been disowned, and being dissatisfied with the judgment of the meeting, in our re spective cases, have each appealed to a superior meeting.

It is therefore my right thus to appear and address you on his behalf. I regret that you should have felt it to be disturbing to you, and trust that you will find that I have not harmed you by what I have done. I have said what I have with the kindest of feeling, and with a desire to avert what, if persisted in, will, I fear, prove to be a dilemma of constantly increasing difficulty.

Believing that I had said enough to demonstrate the propriety of the meeting recalling thy case, I retired, that the deliberations might be unembarrassed by my company. In passing toward the door I paused to obtain my hat from my son, and the hand which I extended for it was grasped and sympathetically pressed by a minister from another Yearly Meeting, who had taken the seat which was at first occupied by myself. He was one who had heretofore himself suffered largely in feeling and reputation, through the action of some officials of the Society. Another Friend, near the door, in a suppressed voice told me, while passing him, he was glad that I had been able to relieve my mind. These were the only indicated results of my efforts on thy behalf, and I afterwards learned that soon after I withdrew, the meeting proceeded with its usual routine of business, and that thy case was not subsequently resumed by it. It will therefore be a case of suspended animation for the ensuing twelve months.

This action of the meeting is a denial of thy right to select some one of thy own choosing to represent THEE-THYSELF-not THEM, except that it may be done from among them. selves, and, therefore, from among their own instruments—a caution which would seem certain to ensure their own safety, however much it may embarrass thee in thy pursuit of justice.

I would suggest thy selecting, as such representative, the Friend who has already acted in the before-unheard-of duplicate characters of overseer and also of committee-man in thy case, him from whose judgment thou art in fact appealing, as being likely to be most satisfactory to the meeting, and speedily effective in attaining the consummation at which it appears to be aiming; this being, not an unprejudiced examination of the case, aided by the representative of thy choice, but the confirmation of the judgment of their subordinate meetings.

In conclusion, I wish thee much joy as the attendant of what I should be glad to believe will prove to be a season of but patient waiting with thee, and remain thy Friend,

J. J. M.

THE CHINESE CLASSICS,

Wieb a translation, critical and exegetical notes, Prolegomena, and copious indexes,

By James LEGGE, D.D., in 7 vols. Vol. i containing Confucian Analects, the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the

Mean. Hong Kong : at the Autbor's. London : Trubner & Co., 60 Paternoster Row, 1861. Dedicated to the Hon. Joseph Jardine.

THE

THE Chinese Classics consist of “ The Five King” and “The Four

Shoo,”—sometimes described by Chinese writers as “ the warp and the woof;" for the term King denotes primarily the warp threads of a web, and when applied to a book, gives it a regulative authority, in correspondence with this idea.

“ The Five-King" are, 1. The Yih, or Book of Changes. 2. The Shoo, or Book of History. 3. The She, or Book of Poetry. 4. The Le Ke, or Record of Rites. 5. The Ch'un Ts'ew, or Spring and Autumn.—A chronicle extending

from 721 to 480 B. C. It is common to ascribe all these books to Confucius ; even Loomis in his recent abridgement carelessly falls into this error. Only the fifth can, , with any probability, be attributed to him. Much of the “ Record of Ritęs" was written by a later pen ; and of the other three, only the Yih, shows an addition from his hand. In one word, these were the books which Confucius found in existence, and according to which he regulated his own life. Indeed, he pored so steadfastly over the “Book of Changes,” that the leathern thongs which bound his own copy together, are said to have been thrice worn out.

« The Four Shoo,” is an abbreviation for “The Books of the Four Phi. losophers." We have,

1. The Lun Yu, or Confucian Analects. 2. The Ta Heo, or Great Learning.–The work of Tsăng Sin, a disciple

of Confucius, or of K‘ung Keih. 3. The Chung Yung, or Doctrine of the Mean.-Written by his grand

son, K‘ung Keih. 4. The works of Mencius.

It will be evident that this is an imperfect classification, for the .“ Great Learning," and the “ Doctrine of the Mean," are both included in the “ Record of Rices,” or the 4th of the “ Five King," and prove conclusively that Confucius had nothing to do with its authorship. At different times, between his day and the present, the Chinese Canon has varied. In the earliest time, we had the Six, and then the Nine King, and a little before the birth of Confucius (that is, in 650 B.c.) we find Thirteen!

In the Memoirs of the Han Dynasty, published at the very commencement of the Christian era, we find these lines :

“ After the death of Confucius there was an end of his exquisite words ; and when his seventy disciples had passed away, violence began to be done to their meaning."

In the time of the Emperor Heaov-woo, (139-86 B. c.) portions of books being missing, and “music and ceremony suffering greatly," he caused a prolonged search to be made for dispersed and missing slips and tablets, and caused “Repositories" to be built, and provided copyists to transcribe them. This seems to have been the first Chinese library. A special board was appointed 135 B. C., to edit and take charge of the Five Sacred King. It took many generations to perfect this work, which was carried out by the first and second dynasties of the Han family, and was the result of the popular indignation, felt against Chi-hoang-ti, the first Hero-King of the house of Tósin, who united the Empire, built the Chinese wall to protect the people from the Tartars, and burnt all the sacred books, out of pure digust at learning, about 212 B. C. The enthusiasm felt for the revival of literature was extraordinary. Even the Emperors joined in discussion of the text, and in 178 of our era, the Emperor Heaov.ling, had the restored text of the Five King cut into stone, in three different kinds of characters. Since then, the text has suffered no greater change than our English Bible, since the time or King James.

The “ slips and tablets” referred to, were precisely the same bamboo records which are used in the schools of Calcutta to-day, and it must be confessed, that they offered some temptation to an incendiary. The prime minister, Le Sze, was not content with burning the books. He put to death all persons who discussed or debated the contents of She and Shoo; whoever did not obey the order within thirty days, was branded and sent to labor on the great wall for four years. The scholars were brave and faithful; four hundred and sixty who violated the prohibition, were buried alive in pits; the Emperor's son interfered in their behalf, and was banished to military employment on the great wall. Three years after this edict, the tyrant died. It was impossible that his best efforts should have made the destruction complete in so short a time ; and it was only eleven years before a more popular dynasty began the great work of recersion.

In connection with the Life of Confucius, it is proper to consider three of the Nine Chinese Classics. The “ Confucian Analects,” which may be described as the recollections of others concerning Confucius, « The Great Learning,” and the “ Doctrine of the Mean."

One hundred and fifty-three years before Christ, the King of Loo wished to enlarge his palace, and for that purpose, undertook to pull down a part of an old house belonging to the Kung family, in which Confucius had once lived. He found in the walls, where they had been hidden from the tyrant of Tosin, copies of the Shoo-King, of the Ch'un Ts'ew, or Spring and Autumn, of

the Analects, and a minor King, called the “ Classic of Filial Piety.” But these were written in an ancient wedge-shaped character, fallen of of use, and no longer intelligible to scholars, who termed it scornfully, “the tadpole.” The King of Loo restored these autographs to the head of the Kung family, and in obedience to an imperial order, the Duke of Kung devoted himself to the study of the old characters, and finally published a work in explanation of them.

Dr. Legge believes the copy of the Analects, so found, to be in the autograph of the original compiler,—but who was he? We are obliged to settle the question, on just such grounds, as decide against the authenticity of the first two chapters of Matthew.

In the VIIIth book of the Analects, a dying man is visited by MangKing. Now Mang-King was the posthumous title of a man, who was alive fifty years after the death of Confucius. Again, parts of the XIXth chapter carry us down to a time when the first disciples had schools of their own. In the XIth book, the second paragraph of which is evidently a note thrown into the text, the names of “ the ten" are enun

umerated, in a manner hardly possible if they were alive. One of the ten was young at the time of The Master's death, and lived seventy five years after him. So we can hardly suppose that The Analects took its present form within a century of the death of Confucius. It was written originally by many hands, or it would not be so full of repeti. tions, and finally found an accomplished editor, for the Chinese delight in the elegance of its style. The history of the text is as tedious a matter as that of other holy books.

The stone slabs, set up 175 A D., were followed by another set, completed in 240 A. D., but in these the still older form of letters, called “the tadpole,” was used. In A. D. 836, a new set were cut, but only in one character, and this set, known as the tablets of Shen, may be traced 10 a very late date. They were in exact conformity to what is called the Ch‘ing Heun text.

It would be useless to enumerate the native Editors, but it must be said in passing, that all nacive scholars who have written since the introduction of Christianity, unconsciously blend unauthorized ideas of God and Destiny, with their expositions of the Confucian philosophy.

In regard to “ The Great Learning,” we put the estimate of Chinese scholars into our table, and ascribe it to Tsăng Sin, but the authorship is by no means certain. Ancient tradition ascribed it, as well as the “Doctrine of the Mean,” to K‘ung Keih, the grandson of Confucius.

The extravagant estimates of the Chinese cannot be endorsed by any foreign reader of this book. It may concern eternal verities, but they are set forth like commonplaces. Like every thing Confucian, it absolutely lacks all inspiration. It is a faithful reflection, nevertheless, of “ The Master's" best teachings. “To teach love for the people, and to rest in the highest excellence,” was its aim, but it was evidently written for the Emperor, and loses much practical value on that account. It will be found to ascribe to personal example, a power which that does not possess, and in the seven steps laid down for the attainment of its object, we do not see much evidence of exact perception. They are,

1. The investigation of things.
2. The completion of knowledge.
3. The sincerity of the thoughts.
4. The rectifying of the heart.
5. The cultivation of the person.
6. The regulation of the family.
7. The government of the state.

In the course of it, the golden rule (under the title of the measuring square) is applied, but in its negative form. The author conceives nobly of the object of Government. He insists on personal excellence. It must be the out-growth of sincerity, and measured by what he would ask for himself,—but the work is only a fragment,—and cannot be called exact or logical. Virtue is made to depend almost absolutely on intelligence and culture; according to Confucius, the “light" is the “life,” but how much more practical the Christian formula, “ the life is the light of men.”

We come now to the “Doctrine of the Mean,” the authorship of which is attributed, without dispute, to K‘ung Keih, the grandson of Confucius. He was the son of that unhappy Le, who never heard a word from his great father, that a stranger might not have shared. His father died early, and he one day delighted his grandfather, with whom he spent a great deal of time, by remarking, “ That it was a degenerate son who could not carry the fagot his father had gathered and prepared !” “How do you know all my thoughts ?” exclaimed Confucius, and, smiling, he added, “ Now I may rest without anxiety !” There seem to have been some ascetic traits in K‘ung Keih's character. When living in extreme poverty he accepted rice from a friend, but when another took courage and sent him wine, he refused it. He forgave his mother an improper marriage, and received meekly the ceremonial rebuke which forbade him to bewail her in the temple of Kung. He would not permit his own son to lament his divorced mother. Altogether the Kung family seem to have made rather uncomfortable husbands. One significant saying is reported of him. He could not live without "praise of men.” In the case of a man “who gets up at cock-crow to pursue virtue, and is constant to it till midnight,” he observes, “If such a one say that he does not wish men to know it, lest they might praise him, I must say of him that if he be not deceitful, he is stupid.”

The “ Doctrine of the Mean,” is a book which would be much better understood, if its title were translated, “ The Path, or Course of the Mean.” The grandson of Confucius, or his immediate descerdants, intrusted this work to Mencius, and the ideas developed in it, are eminently characteristic of that philosopher. The great reform wnich Mencius worked in China, is said to have be

« הקודםהמשך »