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appointed officers for divining by the tortoise and by the milfoil,
21 they are to be charged on occasion to perform their duties.
this, they will find
These officers having
the appearances of rain, clearing up, cloudiness, 22 want of connection and crossing; 23 pentance.
and the symbols, solidity, and re
In all the indications are seven;—five given by the tortoise, and two by the milfoil, by which the errors 24 traced out.
'' affairs may be been appointed, when the opera
tions with the tortoise and milfoil are proceeded with, three men are to obtain and interpret the indications and symbols, and the consenting words of two of them are to be followed.
tions. In the ‘Counsels of Yu, p. 18, that sage proposes to Shun to submit the question of who should be his successor on the throne to divination, and the emperor replies that he had already done so. There is no reason to doubt, therefore, the genuineness of the great Plan, as a relic of the Hea times, from the nature of this part of it. As soon as the curtain lifts from China, and we get a glimpse of its greatest men about four thousand years ago, we find them trying to build up a science of the will of Heaven and issues of events, from various indications given by the shell of a tortoise and the stalks of the milfoil! Gaubil observes that according to the text the tortoise and milfoil were consulted only in doubtful cases. But we may be sure that if such was the practice of the sages, superstitious observances entered largely as a depraving and disturbing element into the life of the people. They do so at the present day. The old methods of divination have fallen into disuse, and I cannot say how far other methods are sanctioned by the government, but the diviners and soothsayers, of many kinds, form a considerable and influential class of society. Pp. 20–24 contain some hints as to the manner in which divination was practised. The same subject is treated in the Chow Le, Bk. XXIV; but it is hardly possible to get the two accounts into one's mind so as to understand and be able distinctly to describe the subject. 20. Two kinds of divination and the ap£ of officers to superintend them. The two inds of divination were—first, that by means of
and the plant will yield, when a hundred years old, a hundred stalks from one root, and is also a spiritual and intelligent thing. The two divinations were in reality a questioning of spiritual beings, the plant and the tortoise being employed, because of their mysterious intelligence, to indicate their intimations. The way of divination by the tortoise was by the application of fire to scorch the tortoise-shell till the indications appeared on it; and that by the stalks of the plant was to manipulate in the prescribed ways forty-nine of them, eighteen different times, till the diagrams were formed'
| it “a sort of labiate plant, like verbena, thereby
leading us to think of the ‘holy herb of Dioscorides, the verbena officinalis. The correctness, however, of both these accounts may be doubted. There is a figure of the plant in the
the wood;’ and the Hi M. or ‘the observers
and interpreters of the prognostics. They were all, observe the critics, required to be men far removed from the disturbing influence of passion and prejudice. Only such could be associated with the methods of communication between higher intelligences and men. Pp. 21—23. The various indications, 21. The appearances here described were those made on the shell of the tortoise. The way in which they were obtained seems to have been this.—The outer shell of the tortoise was taken off, leaving the inner portion on which were the marks of the lines of the muscles of the creature, &c. A part of this was selected for operation, and smeared with ink. The fire was then applied beneath, and the ink, when it was examined, according as it had been variously dried by the heat, gave the appearances men
or=# Ts'ae adopts the former meaning, and interprets—‘By this means the errors of human affairs may be traced out, that is, may be indicated before they occur, and so be avoided. The ‘Daily Explanation, expanding this view, – H.H = ay- Ay£######### * - - III hir’i H#######| || W: + E. # ź # Choo He adopted the former meaning, and interpreted— every changing form of indication and symbol being traced out and determined. See the quotation from him in the 4# Ét: still, when the operations, thus many times varied, had been concluded, the object would be to obtain the guidance of their results in the conduct of affairs. Woo Ch'ing and many others prefer to say that they do not understand the phrase at all.
27 28 29 30
“If you have doubts about any great matter, consult with your own heart; consult with your nobles and officers; consult with the masses of the people; consult the tortoise and milfoil. If you, the tortoise, the milfoil, the nobles and officers, and the common people all consent to a course, this is what is called a great concord, and the result will be the welfare of your person, and good fortune to your descendants. If you, the tortoise, and the milfoil all agree, while the nobles and common people oppose, the result will be fortunate. If the nobles and officers, the tortoise, and the milfoil all agree, while you oppose and the common people oppose, the result will be fortunate. If the common people, the tortoise and the milfoil all agree, while you and the nobles and officers oppose,
the Pwan-kāng complains that the opinions of
the milfoil, the nobles and officers, and the common people oppose, internal operations will be fortunate, and external operations will be unlucky. When the tortoise and milfoil are both opposed to the views of men, there will be good fortune in stillness, and active
operations will be unlucky.
opinions of men divided, but the spirits also give different intimations. The doubt therefore remained, and the difficulty was settled by a compromise! “Internal affairs, acc. to Gankwā, were cases of marriages, capping, and sacrifices, within the State; ‘external affairs’ were military expeditions undertaken beyond it. Choo He says:—“In this case, the tortoise opposing and the milfoil consenting, nothing, it would seem, should be undertaken. But the tortoise-shell was supposed to give surer indications than the plant, and as all the human opinions agreed, it was inferred that internal affairs might be proceeded with and would be fortunate!” It is needless to point out the inconsistency of this. 31. Where the divinations gave results contrary to all the hnman opinions. In this case the spirits carried it over men. 5 +,— using stillness, there will be good fortune. By ‘stillness' is meant refraining from the undertaking doubted of.
time never has anything turned out fortunate which the nobles and officers, with the common people, all disapproved of. Were the statements of the viscount of Ke to obtain currency and credence, the sovereigns of future ages would be found casting away their high ministers and officers, and slighting their people, attending only to the intimations of the tortoise-shell and the she. Perverted talk and strange principles would find their way to influence, and there would be no end to the troubles of the empire. These passages belong to the fondness for superstition which was characteristic of the Shang dynasty; accustomed to hear such things said, people believed them, and even a man of worth, like the viscount of Ke, could not keep himself from going with the current of the prevailing custom. These observations are unusually free and sound, as coming from a Chinese scholar. The man who expressed himself thus should have gone on to bolder
conclusions, affecting the reputation for sageness
of Yu and Shun, and even of Confucius himself. I am sorry to find a writer, so sensible in general as Hoo Wei, trying to beat down the remarks of Ch'ing with the authority of the
come all complete, and each is in its proper order, even the various
character # by ‘apparences, not having found
any word which would cover the whole extent of its meaning. In the present case, it signifies meteors, phenomena, appearances, but in such a sort that those have relation to some other things with which they are connected;—the meteor or phenomenon indicates some good or some evil. It is a kind of correspondence which is supposed, it appears, to exist between the ordinary events of the life of men, and the constitution of the air, according to the different seasons;—what is here said supposes I know not what physical speculation of those times. It is needless to bring to bear on the text the interpretations of the later Chinese, for they
are full of false ideas on the subject of physics. It may be also that the viscount of Ke wanted to play the physicist on points which he did not know.” Gaubil describes correctly the way in which the character % is here applied, but the translator should not render it from what it is applied to, but according to its proper signification. In the dict. it is defined by #. ‘to bear
witness,” “to attest, and by Hjj, ‘to illustrate;’ and then there is quoted from par. 4 of this
bably as good a term as can be found in our language. The giving the name to the various phenomena in the text, and making them indicators of the character of men's conduct, is of a piece with the divinations of the last division. It is another form of superstition. If there underlie the words of the viscount of Ke some feeling of the harmony between the natural and spiritual worlds, which occurs to most men at times, and which strongly affects minds under deep religious thought or on the wings of poetic rapture, his endeavour to give the subject a practical application is so shallow that it only strikes us as grotesque and absurd.
The Division falls into two parts. In the first parr. 32–34, we have a description of the verifying phenomena, and the interpretation of then.
P. 32. H}}= H H. ‘the sun coming forth,' or = Hjj, “brightness,” “sunshine.’ #—# H, ‘warmth diffused,’ or=}#. ‘heat.” The meaning of I' and }}| is sufficiently shown by their opposition, to |j and #, “rain and cold. E! H#,—I have translated this by ‘seasonablenss, and would extend its meaning to all the preceding verifications, so that there are only five and not six phenomena. The specification of ‘five immediately after ( +i. # % £), and the way in which the phenomena are mentioned in the next par, with the adjunct of H#, seem to require this interpretation. This was the view also of Gan-kwó, and is adopted by Choo He and most other