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served the departed as they would have served them had they been continued
among “By the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth they served God, and by the ceremonies of the ancestral temple they sacrificed to their ancestors. He who understands the ceremonies of the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, and ine meaning of the several sacrifices to ancestors, would find the government of a kingdom as easy as to look into his palm.”
The Master said, “How abundantly do spiritual beings display the powers that belong to them!
“We look for them, but we do not see them ; we listen to, but do not hear them ; yet they enter into all things, and there is nothing without them.
They cause all the people in the empire to fast and purify themselves, and array themselves in their richest dresses, in order to attend at their sacrifices. Then, like overflowing water, they seem to be over the heads, and on the right and left of their worshipers.”
It is said in the Book of Poetry, “ The approaches of the spirits you cannot surmise, and can you treat them with indifference?"*
* How faithfully has this instruction been repeated and obeyed down through a period of at least twenty-five centuries ! We wit. ness the same at every funeral, at each anniversary of the death of a parent, at the morning and evening worship in the ancestral hall, and at the spring festival--the special season for worship of ancestors.
It is characteristic of the most entire sincerity to be able to foreknow. When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be happy omens ; and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens. Such events are seen in the milfoilf and tortoise, and affect the movements of the four limbs. When calamity or happiness is about to come, the good shall certainly be foreknown by him, and the evil also. Therefore the individual possessed of the most complete sincerity is like a spirit.
* The Chinese are all their lifetime subject to bondage because of their dread of spirits, and a large part of their religious ceremonies and offering of sacrifices is for the purpose of propitiating spirits, of which there are, as they suppose, many classes.
† A sort of labiate plant like verbena, anciently used in divination.
THE FIVE DUTIES AND THREE VIRTUES.
The duties of universal obligation are five, and the virtues wherewith they are practiced are three. The duties are those between sovereign and minister, between father and son, between husband and wife, between elder brother and younger, and those belonging to the intercourse of friends. Those five are the duties of universal obligation. Knowledge, magnanimity, and energy, these three, are the virtues universally binding. And the means by which they carry the duties into practice is singleness.
“ Some are born with a knowledge of those duties, some know them by study, and some acquire the knowledge after a painful feeling of their ignorance. But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to the same thing. Some practice them with a natural ease, some from a desire for their advantages, and some by strenuous effort. But the achievement being made, comes to same thing."
It is said in the Book of Poetry, "Happy union with wife and children, is like the music of lutes and harps. When there is concord among brethren, the harmony is delightful and enduring. Thus may you regulate your family, and enjoy the pleasure of your wife and children.”
The Master said, “In such a state of things, parents have entire complaisance."
“Benevolence is the characteristic element of humanity, and the great exercise of it is in loving relatives. Righteousness is the accordance of actions with what is right, and the great exercise of it is in honoring the worthy. The decreasing measure of the love due to relatives, and the steps in the honor due to the worthy, are produced by the principle of propriety."
To no one but the emperor does it belong to order ceremonies, to fix the measures, and to determine the characters.
Now, over the empire, carriages have all wheels of the same size; all writing is with the same characters; and for conduct, there are the same rules.
The Master said, “ Let a man who is ignorant be fond of using his own judgment; let a man without rank be fond of assuming a directing power to himself; let a man who is living in the present age go back to the ways of antiquity: on the persons of all who act thus calami. ties will be sure to come.”
LIFE OF MENCIUS.
The last of the “Four Books” is nearly as large as the other three united, and consists entirely of the writings of Mencius, Măng tsz' or Măng futsz', as he is called by the Chinese. Mencius flourished about eighty years after the death of his master, and although in estimating his character, it must not be forgotten that he had the advantages of his example, still in most respects he displayed an originality of thought, inflexibility of purpose, and extensive views, superior to Confucius, and must be regarded as one of the greatest men Asiatic nations have ever produced. An account of his life and writings has been drawn by Rémusat, in his usual clear manner, which will furnish all the data requisite.
Mencius was born about 400 B.C., in the city of Tsau, now in the province of Shantung. His father died a short time after his son's birth, and left the guardianship