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themselves; and his immense love for the happiness of humanity which dominated over all his other sentiments, has made of hi 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 writer in the Chinese Repository :—“The Ta Hëõ is a short politicomoral discourse. Ta Höö, or “Superior Learning,' is at the same time both the name and the subject of the discourse; it is the sun mum 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 Officiis ; bnt we find a very different production, consisting of a few commonplace rules for the maintenance of a good government."1
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 Tae Hëõ, and not Ta Höö, 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 Choo He 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 15, all the sons of the emperor, with the legitimate sons of the nobles, and high officers, 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 contem. plate 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.
1 Chinese Repository, vol. iii. p. 08. 2*, not to See the vote on the title of the Work, r. 219.
is to govern them, culminating, as a class, in “ the son of Heaven, "3 " the one man,"t the emperor. From the 4th and 5th 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 empire,” 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 an emperor. 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 Choo He 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 Look 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 emperor 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.5 As in his method, moreover, he reaches from the cultivation of the person to the tranquillization of the Empire, through the intermediate steps of the regulation of the family, and the government of the State, 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;
regulation of the family; and the government of the State. These form the steps of a climax, the end of which is the empire tranquillized. Pauthier calls the paragraphs where they occur instances of the sorites, or abridged syllogisın. But they belong to rhetoric, and not to logic. 3 *F, C1. Text, par. 6, 2. 4 ---- Comm. ix. 3. 5 Ci. Text, par. 6. 6 Cl. Text, parr. 4, 5.
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 deal with the latter first.—Let us suppose that the cultivation of the
person is all 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 government of the State. First, the virtues taught in the family have their correspondencies in the wider sphere. Filial 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."7 Seven paragraphs suffice to illustrate these statements, and short as they are, the writer goes back to the topic of selfcultivation, returning from the family to the individual.
The State being governed, the whole empire will become peaceful and happy. There is even less of connection, however, in the treatment of this theme, between the premiss and the conclusion, than in the two previous chapters. Nothing is said about the relation between the whole empire, and its component States, or any one of thein. It is said at once, “What is meant by “The making the whole empire 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." 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 empire.
The words which I have quoted are followed by a very striking enunciation of the golden rule in its negative form, and under the
7 See Comm. ix. 3. 8 See Comm, x, I.