תמונות בעמוד

stand to each other in the relation of cause and effect. The sayings of Ovid, “Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor, "Nitimur in vetitum semper, cupimusque negata,are a more correct expression of the facts of human consciousness and conduct than the high-flown phrases 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.”

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.” 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. Affecting 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 transform.” It may safely be affirmed, that when he thus expressed himself, Tsze-sze understood neither what he said nor whereof he affirmed. Maou Se-ho and some other modern writers explain away many of his predicates of sincerity, so that in their hands they become nothing but extravagant hyperboles, but the author himself would, I believe, have protested against such a mode of dealing with his words. True, his structures are castles in the air, but he had no idea himself that they were so.

In the 24th chapter there is a ridiculous descent from the sublimity of the two preceding. We are told that the possessor of entire sincerity is like a spirit, and can foreknow, but the foreknowledge is only a judging by the milfoil and tortoise and other auguries ! But the author recovers himself, and resumes his theme about sincerity as conducting to self-completion, and the completion of other men and things, describing it also as possessing all the qualities which can be predicated of Heaven and Earth. Gradually the subject is made to converge to the person of Confucius, who is the ideal of the sage, as the sage is the ideal of humanity at large. An old account of the object of Tsze-sze in the Chung Yung is that “ he wrote it to celebrate the virtue of his grandfather.” He certainly contrives to do this in the course of it. The 30th, 31st, and 32nd chapters contain his eulogium, and never has any other mortal been exalted in such terms. “He may be compared to Heaven and Earth in their supporting and containing, their overshadowing and curtaining all things; he may be compared to the four seasons in their alternating progress, and to the sun and moon in their successive shining." Quick in apprehension, clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence, and all-embracing knowledge, he was fitted to exercise rule; magnanimous, generous, benign, and mild, he was fitted to exercise forbearance; impulsive, energetic, firm, and enduring, he was fitted to maintain a firm hold; self-adjusted, grave, never swerving from the Mean, and correct, he was fitted to command reverence; accomplished, distinctive, concentrative, and searching, he was fitted to exercise discrimination." “All-embracing and vast, he was like heaven; deep and active as a fountain, he was like the abyss. “Therefore his fame overspreads the Middle Kingdom, and extends to all barbarous tribes. Wherever ships and carriages reach; wherever the strength of man penetrates ; wherever the heavens overshadow and the earth sustains ; wherever the sun and moon shine; wherever frosts

[ocr errors]

and dews fall; all who have blood and breath unfeignedly honour and love him. Hence it is said, -He is the equal of Heaven !" “ Who can know him but he who is indeed quick in apprehension, clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence, and all-embracing knowledge, possessing all heavenly virtue ?

8. We have arrived at the concluding chapter of the Work, in which the author, according to Choo He, “having carried his descriptions to the highest point in the preceding chapters, turns back and examines the source of his subject; and then again from the work of the learner, free from all selfishness and watchful over himself when he is alone, he carries out his description, till by easy steps he brings it to the consummation of the whole empire tranquillized by simple and sincere reverentialness. He moreover eulogizes its mysteriousness, till he speaks of it at last as without sound or smell.” Between the first and last chapters there is a correspondency, and each of them may be considered as a summary of the whole treatise. The difference between them is, that in the first a commencement is made with the mention of Heaven as the conferrer of man's nature, while in this the progress of man in virtue is traced, step by step, till at last it is equal to that of High Heaven.

9. I have thus in the preceding paragraphs given a general and somewhat copious review of this Work. My object has been to seize, if I could, the train of thought, and to hold it up to the reader. Minor objections to it, arising from the confused use of terms and singular applications of passages from the older Classics, are noticed in the notes subjoined to the translation. I wished here that its scope should be seen, and the means be afforded of judging how far it is worthy of the high character attributed to it. « The relish of it," says the younger Ch'ing, “is inexhaustible. The whole of it is solid learning. When the skilful reader has explored it with delight till

he has apprehended it, he may carry it into practice all his life, and will find that it cannot be exhausted."

My own opinion of it is much less favourable. The names by which it has been called in translations of it have led to misconceptions of its character. Were it styled “The states of Equilibrium and Harmony," we should be prepared to expect something strange and probably extravagant. As

suredly we should expect nothing more strange or extravagant than what we have. It begins sufficiently well, but the author has hardly enunciated his preliminary apophthegms, when he conducts into an obscurity where we can hardly grope our way, and when we emerge from that, it is to be bewildered by his gorgeous but unsubstantial pictures of sagely perfection. He has eminently contributed to nourish the pride of his countrymen. He has exalted their sages above all that is called God or is worshipped, and taught the masses of the people that with them they have need of nothing from without. In the mean time it is antagonistic to Christianity. By and by, when Christianity has prevailed in China, men will refer to it as a striking proof how their fathers by their wisdom knew neither God nor themselves.





1. “And have you foreigners surnames as well ?" This question has often been put to me by Chinese. It marks

the ignorance which belongs to the people of His ancestry. all that is external to themselves, and the pride of antiquity which enters largely as an element into their character. If such a pride could in any case be justified, we might allow it to the family of the K‘ung, the descendants of Confucius. In the reign K'ang-he, twenty-one centuries and a half after the death of the sage, they amounted to eleven thousand males. But their ancestry is carried back through a period of equal extent, and genealogical tables are common, in which the descent of Confucius is traced down from Hwang-te, the inventor of the cycle, B.c. 2637.1

The more moderate writers, however, content themselves with exhibiting his ancestry back to the commencement of the Chow dynasty, B.c. 1121. Among the relatives of the tyrant Chow, the last emperor of the Yin dynasty, was an elder brother, by a concubine, named K'e, who is celebrated by Confucius, Ana. XVIII. i., under the title of the viscount of Wei. Foreseeing the impending ruin of their family, K'e withdrew from the court; and subsequently, he was invested by the Emperor Ch‘ing, the second of the house of

1 See Mémoires concernant les Chinois, Tome XII. p. 447, et seq. Father Amiot states, p. 501, that he had seen the representative of the family, who succeeded to the dignity of the “Duke, Continuator of the Sage's line," in the 9th year of K'ëen-lung, A.D. 1744. It is hardly necessary that I should say here, that the name Confucius is merely the Chinese characters, K‘ung Foo-tsze, The master, Kóung," latinized.

« הקודםהמשך »