Le Low (From The works of Mencius) & The Hsiao Ching

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Confucianism

Death was the doom of scholars who should be known to meet together and speak of these works, and all who should be discovered having copies of them in their possession, when thirty days had elapsed after the publication of the edict, were to be branded, and sent to labour for four years on the Great Wall, which was then building. This is not the place to explain the reasons that led to Edition: current; Page: [ 7 ] this insane attempt to extinguish, with the exception of one work, the ancient literary monuments of China. The edict was ruthlessly enforced, and hundreds of scholars who refused obedience to the imperial command were buried alive.

The tyrant, however, died in bc , within four years from the issuing of his edict. The dynasty which he had sought to establish passed away in bc That of Han dates from the year bc , and in the edict against the ancient books was formally repealed. They had been under the ban for less than a quarter of a century. There would probably have been no difficulty in recovering copies of them, but for the sack of the capital in bc by the most formidable opponent of the founder of the House of Han. Then the fires blazed, we are told, for three months among the palaces and public buildings, and proved as destructive to the copies that might have been preserved about the court as the edict of Kh in had been to those among the people.

Returning for them, after the rule of Han was established, he found that many were perished or gone. He recovered only twenty-nine of the documents, containing, according to the division of them that has long been followed, thirty-five books in all. About one of them there is some difficulty, on the discussion of which I need not enter.

The text was engraved on the stone tablets of the emperor Ling ad Very many scholars of the Han times laboured on this text, taught it to their disciples, and published their views on it. How long they had lain there we do not know. It is commonly said that they had been hidden by some one of the Khung family to save them from the fires of Kh in. When An-kwo had made out the tablets, he presented them to the emperor in bc 97, with a transcript of them in the current characters of the time, keeping a second transcript of them for himself; and he received an order to make a commentary on the whole.

He did so, but when he was about to lay the result of his labours before the court, troubles had arisen which prevented for several years the paying attention to literary matters. When the empire was again settled by the first emperor of the eastern Han, he communicated his text to other scholars. I return to the commentary of An-kwo, which, of course, contained his text. Its transmission from hand to hand down to the close of the western Han dynasty is clearly traced. From this time the text and commentary of An-kwo had their place assigned them in the Imperial College.

They are mentioned in the Catalogue of the Imperial Library of Sui. They adopted the commentary of An-kwo, and enriched it with profuse annotations. In ad their work was ordered to be printed, and happily remains to the present day. The titles of more than works, on the whole of it or on portions, from the dynasty of Thang to the present day, could easily be adduced. Under the Sung dynasty, indeed, there began the sceptical criticism, which, setting comparatively little store on external evidence, decides on the genuineness of documents principally from their style.

The results of such criticism always vary according to the knowledge and the subjective character of the mind of its author. Even if it were so, the work would remain, produced nearly years ago. Whether its author were the true Khung or a false Khung, its value cannot be over-estimated. But I do not believe that it was a forgery.

When did it perish? There is no evidence that it ever did so. But even they are not easy. They only appear to be so, when we come to one of them, after toiling through some of the more contorted portions common to both texts. And, moreover, the style of the different books differs according to their subjects. His most valuable aid had ceased. We can conceive that, when he had managed to read the greater portion of a paragraph, and yet there were some stubborn characters that defied him, he completed it according to his understanding of the sense with characters of his own.

This is a fact worthy of the most attentive consideration.


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I do not think there is an important statement in his chapters that is not thus vouched for. The characteristics of his books which have exposed them to suspicion are not sufficient to overthrow their claims to be regarded as genuine transcripts of the tablets discovered in the wall of the house of the Khung family. And it may be said at once, in reference to the greater number of them, that there is no reasonable ground to call their credibility in question.

Allowance must be made, indeed, for the colouring with which the founders of one dynasty set forth the misdeeds of the closing reigns of that which they were superseding, and for the way in which the failures of a favourite hero may be glossed over. The more recent the documents are, the more, of course, are they to be relied on.

But it was not to be expected that many of those should not perish in the lapse of time, and others suffer mutilations and corruptions. And this, we find, was the case. All this seems to bear on the surface of it the stamp of verisimilitude. They are to be received without hesitation. The Books of Shang. Nor are those of the previous dynasty of Shang open to suspicion. We ascend by means of them to Thang the Successful, its founder, with a confident step.

The beginning of his rule is placed chronologically in bc The other three documents bring us down only to the reign of K ung Khang bc , and I see no grounds for doubting their genuineness. Gaubil thought he had determined by calculation that such an eclipse really took place in the fifth year of K ung Khang, bc Doubts, however, have been cast, as will be seen in the next chapter, on the accuracy of his calculation, and therefore I do not avail myself of it here as a confirmation of the truth of the document.

They are therefore, on their own showing, the compilations of a later age. They are legendary. That worthy declares himself unequal to the office. This brings Shun upon the stage. His father, a blind man, was obstinately unprincipled; his mother, or stepmother, was insincere; his brother was arrogant; and yet Shun had been able by his filial piety to live harmoniously with them, and to bring them to a considerable measure of self-government and good conduct. He had himself heard something of Shun. He resolved to give him a preliminary trial. And a strange trial it was.

He gave him his own two daughters in marriage, and declared that he would test his fitness for the throne by seeing his behaviour with his two wives. Shun must have stood the test. Their compiler had ancient documents on which to base his representations. To my mind three things render this admission necessary.

It is more probable that the compiler received these and other peculiar designations from old documents than that he invented them himself. When the Books of Thang and Yu received their present form, we cannot tell. It thus appears out of its chronological order, and must share in the general uncertainty which attaches to the documents of the first two parts of our classic. The waters were overtopping the hills, and threatening the heavens in their surging fury.

The people everywhere were groaning and murmuring. Was there a capable man to whom he could assign the correction of the calamity? From beyond the western bounds of the present China proper he is represented as tracking the great rivers, here burning the woods, hewing the rocks, and cutting through the mountains that obstructed their progress, and there deepening their channels until their waters flow peacefully into the eastern sea.

A great order was effected in the six magazines of material wealth ; the different parts of the country were subjected to an exact comparison, so that contribution of revenue could be carefully adjusted according to their resources. The fields were all classified according to the three characters of the soil, and the revenues of the Middle Kingdom were established. I urged them to exchange what they had for what they had not, and to dispose of their accumulated stores. In this way all the people got grain to eat, and the myriad regions began to come under good rule.

All this is incredible.

Language primers

The general conclusion to which Biot came about the document under our notice was that we are to find in it only the progress of a great colony. He established posts of colonists or planters in different parts of the territory.

‎2,000 Years of Chinese History! The Mandate of Heaven and Confucius: World History #7

He caused the wood around those posts to be cut down, Edition: current; Page: [ 18 ] and commenced the cultivation of the soil. The people or tribe extended itself westward, eastward, and southward, and still later northward, as it increased in numbers, and was able to subdue the earth. Their wisdom and benevolence appeared in him, combined with a practical devotion to the duties of his position, in which all sovereigns would have a model, to win them from indolence and self-indulgence, and stimulate them to a painstaking discharge of their responsibilities.

The chronology of a nation comes to be cultivated as a science only when a necessity is felt to arrange the events of its history in regular series on the course of time. It was under the Han dynasty that it was first attempted to construct a chronological scheme of the history of the nation. For this purpose its scholars employed the well-known cycle of sixty years, in the fifteenth year of the seventy-sixth revolution of which I am now writing.

But all scholars in China, whether they call in question this origin of the cycle or not, now agree in saying that the use of the cyclic characters to chronicle years was not the ancient method, and did not begin earlier than the time of the usurper Mang ad Years are specified according to their order in the reign of the sovereign to whom they are referred.

Such specification of years in it, however, is rare. Before the Han dynasty a list of sovereigns, and of the length of their several reigns, was the only method which the Chinese had of determining the duration of their national history. And it would still be a satisfactory method, if we had a list of sovereigns, and of the years that each reigned, that was complete and reliable. But we do not have this. This work is still current under the name of the Annals of the Bamboo Books.

The chronology derived from it is shorter than the received system by rather more than years. But there are only two passages in all those books which are helpful to us in this point. Vague as the language of Mencius is, I do not think that with the most painstaking research, apart from conclusions based on astronomical considerations, we can determine anything more precise and definite concerning the length of Chinese history than it conveys.

His place in historical time is well ascertained. The first of the thirty-six solar eclipses mentioned in it took place three years after, on the 14th February n. Here therefore is a point of time about which there can be no dispute. Up to this date Chinese chronologers agree. The period of the Shang dynasty. In the period of the Shang dynasty we cannot fix a single reign by means of astronomical facts. The received chronology assigns to it twenty-eight reigns, extending over years, so that its commencement was in bc The scheme Edition: current; Page: [ 23 ] derived from the bamboo books makes the sovereigns to be thirty, but the aggregate of their reigns is only The two schemes agree in the length of those reigns and of five others.

In , J. My friend, the Rev. Chalmers of Canton, not knowing anything of the examination made by Largeteau, undertook to verify the eclipse in , and found that while the year, the month, and the day, as given by Gaubil, were correct, the eclipse had taken place during the night, and could not have been seen by the Chinese astronomers. We ought to wait till the further perfecting of the lunar tables brings us new lights, by means of which we can form a surer judgment.

The period covered by the two therefore is years, which both the schemes of chronology accept. And so of the other stars and seasons. A Chinese astronomer at the present day would similarly express himself. Further, the most common, and what was the earliest division of the ecliptic in China, is that of the twenty-eight lunar mansions, forming what we may call the Chinese zodiac. These mansions are grouped together in four classes of seven each, assigned to the four quarters of the heavens 1. On the other hand, J. Appended to this Introduction is a chart of the stars as they were visible in China in bc , which the Rev.

I have argued, however, that the compiler of it had before him ancient documents, and one of them must have contained the facts about the culminating of the stars, which I have now endeavoured to set in a clear light. This chart is intended to represent approximately the aspect of the principal zodiacal stars as seen above the horizon of any place in central China, at any hour of any day, about the year bc Again, if it be required to find what constellation is culminating at the time of sunset at the Summer Solstice, the cardboard must be moved, as before, towards the right hand until the position of the Sun at the Summer Solstice, viz.

Thirdly, to find what constellation is culminating at sunset at the Winter Solstice, the cardboard horizon is to be moved, as before, until the Sun at F falls upon it, when the constellations Aries and Taurus with the Pleiades will be seen near to their culmination. This is a third correspondence with the indications of the astronomical sovereign. Lastly, at sunset of the Autumnal Equinox the movable horizon is to be shifted to the left until the point A falls upon it, where it will be seen in this position that the stars in Aquarius are culminating at the time.

It is scarcely possible that all these indications of the positions of the stars at these several times of the year could be simultaneously correct at any other epoch than somewhere about bc or a very small number of centuries before or after. The reader may easily make for himself many other interesting applications of the chart. A general notion of the effects of precession on the positions of the stars may be seen at once by observing the three positions of the Pleiades, at the three epochs bc , ad 1, and ad , marked in the chart by the letters K, L, M; and as the approximate effect of precession is to cause all stars to move parallel to the Ecliptic and through the same arc, if the reader will imagine every star to be shifted parallel to the Ecliptic through spaces equal respectively to K L, L M, he will get the aspect of the heavens at the epochs ad 1 and ad The following table has been calculated for the apparent positions of the principal stars in the years bc , bc , ad 1, and ad ; except in one instance it will be found to confirm a similar calculation made by Biot for the earliest of these dates.

It is said that after his elevation he established his capital in Phing-yang, lat. But all this is very uncertain. He was reverential, intelligent, accomplished, and thoughtful,—naturally and without effort. He was sincerely courteous, and capable of all complaisance. The bright influence of these qualities was felt through the four quarters of the land , and reached to heaven above and earth beneath. He made the able and virtuous distinguished, and thence proceeded to the love of all in the nine classes of his kindred, who thus became harmonious.

He also regulated and polished the people of his domain , who all became brightly intelligent. Finally , he united and harmonized the myriad states; and so the black-haired people were transformed. The result was universal concord. The people are dispersed in the fields , and birds and beasts breed and copulate.

The people are more dispersed; and birds and beasts have their feathers and hair thin, and change their coats. He separately commanded the second brother Ho to reside at the west, in what was called the Dark Valley, and there respectfully to convoy the setting sun, and to adjust and arrange the completing labours of the autumn. The people feel at ease, and birds and beasts have their coats in good condition. He further commanded the third brother Ho to Edition: current; Page: [ 34 ] reside in the northern region, in what was called the Sombre Capital, and there to adjust and examine the changes of the winter.

The people keep in their houses, and the coats of birds and beasts are downy and thick. Do you, by means of the intercalary month, fix the four seasons, and complete the period of the year. Thereafter , the various officers being regulated in accordance with this, all the works of the year will be fully performed. He is respectful only in appearance. President of the Four Edition: current; Page: [ 35 ] Mountains 1 , destructive in their overflow are the waters of the inundation.

In their vast extent they embrace the hills and overtop the great heights, threatening the heavens with their floods, so that the lower people groan and murmur! Is there a capable man to whom I can assign the correction of this calamity? He is disobedient to orders, and tries to injure his peers. Try if he can accomplish the work. President of the Four Mountains, I have been on the throne seventy years.

You can carry out my commands;—I will resign my place to you. What have you to say about him? His father was obstinately unprincipled; his step- mother was insincere; his half- brother Hsiang was arrogant. He has been able, however , by his filial piety to live in harmony with them, and to lead them gradually to self-government, so that they no longer proceed to great wickedness. It does not appear so clearly, however, how it came to be so. According to Mencius, IV, Part ii, ch. He was mild and courteous, and truly sincere. The report of his mysterious virtue was heard on high, and he was appointed to office.

Shun carefully set forth the beauty of the five cardinal duties, and they came to be universally observed. Being appointed to be General Regulator, the affairs of every official department were arranged in their proper seasons. Being charged to receive the princes from the four quarters of the land, they were all docilely submissive. Being sent to the great plains at the foot of the mountains, notwithstanding the tempests of wind, thunder, and rain, he did not go astray. I have consulted you on all affairs, and examined your words, and found that they can be carried into practice;— now for three years.

He examined the pearl-adorned turning sphere, Edition: current; Page: [ 39 ] with its transverse tube of jade, and reduced to a harmonious system the movements of the Seven Directors 1. Thereafter, he sacrificed specially, but with the ordinary forms, to God; sacrificed with reverent purity to the Six Honoured Ones; offered their appropriate sacrifices to the hills and rivers; and extended his worship to the host of spirits 2.

He called in all the five jade-symbols of rank; and when the month was over, he gave daily audience to the President of the Four Mountains, and all the Pastors 3 , finally returning their symbols to the various princes. He set in accord their seasons and months, and regulated the days; he made uniform the standard-tubes, with the measures of length and of capacity, and the steel-yards; he regulated the five classes of ceremonies, with the various articles of introduction,—the five Edition: current; Page: [ 40 ] symbols of jade, the three kinds of silk, the two living animals and the one dead one.

As to the five instruments of rank, when all was over, he returned them. In the eighth month he made a tour westwards, as far as the mountain of the west 1 , where he did as before. In the eleventh month he made a tour northwards, as far as the mountain of the north 1 , where he observed the same ceremonies as in the west. He then returned to the capital , went to the temple of the Cultivated Ancestor 2 , and sacrificed a single bull. In five years there was one tour of inspection, and there were four appearances of the princes at court. They gave a report of their government in words, which was clearly tested by their works.

They received chariots and robes according to their merits. He instituted the division of the land into twelve provinces 3 , raising altars upon twelve hills in them. Inadvertent offences and those which could be ascribed to misfortune were to be pardoned, but those who transgressed presumptuously and repeatedly were to be punished with death. Let me be reverent! Within the four seas all the eight kinds of instruments of music were stopped and hushed. On the first day of the first month of the next year, Shun went to the temple of the Accomplished Ancestor. He deliberated with the President of the Four Mountains how to throw open the doors of communication between himself and the four quarters of the land , and how he could see with the eyes, and hear with the ears of all.

Be kind to the distant, and cultivate the ability of the near. Give honour to the virtuous, and your confidence to the good, while you discountenance the artful;—so shall the barbarous tribes lead on one another to make their submission. In this new office exert yourself. Do you, O prince, as Edition: current; Page: [ 43 ] Minister of Agriculture, continue to sow for them the various kinds of grain.

It is yours, as the Minister of Instruction, reverently, to set forth the lessons of duty belonging to those five orders. Do so with gentleness. There are also robbers, murderers, insurgents, and traitors. It is yours, as the Minister of Crime, to use the five punishments to deal with their offences. For the infliction of these there are the three appointed places.

There are the five cases in which banishment in the appropriate places is to be resorted to, to which places, though five, three localities are assigned. Perform your duties with intelligence, and you will secure a sincere submission. Z ui, you must be Minister of Works. Effect a harmony in all the departments. You must manage them harmoniously. President of the Four Mountains, is there any one able to direct my three religious ceremonies 2? Po, you must be the Arranger in the Ancestral Temple. Morning and night be reverent. Be upright, be pure. Be reverential!

Poetry is the expression of earnest thought; singing is the prolonged utterance of that expression; the notes accompany that utterance, and they are harmonized themselves by the standard-tubes. In this way the eight different kinds of musical instruments can be adjusted so that one shall not take from or interfere with another; and spirits and men are brought into harmony. I appoint you to be the Minister of Communication. Early and late give forth my orders and report to me, seeing that everything is true. Every three years there was an examination of merits, and after three examinations the undeserving were degraded, and the deserving advanced.

In the thirtieth year of his age, Shun was called to employment. Fifty years afterwards he went on high and died 2. The style differs from that of the Canons; being more sententious, and falling occasionally into rhyme. It is sagely, spirit-like, awe-inspiring, and adorned with all accomplishments.

Great Heaven regarded you with its favour, and bestowed on you its appointment. Suddenly you possessed all within the four seas, and became ruler of all under heaven. Admonish yourself to caution, when there seems to be no occasion for anxiety. Do not fail to observe the laws and ordinances. Do not find your enjoyment in idleness. Do not go to excess in pleasure. In your employment of men of worth, let none come between you and them. Put away evil without hesitation. Do not carry out plans, of the wisdom of which you have doubts. Study that all your purposes may be with the light of reason. Do not go against what is right, to get the praise of the people.

Attend to these things without idleness or omission, and the barbarous tribes all around will come and acknowledge your sovereignty. The virtue of the ruler is seen in his good government, and that government in the nourishing of the people. Caution them with gentle words , correct them with the majesty of law , stimulate them with the songs on those nine subjects,—in order that your success may not suffer diminution.

I have occupied my place for thirty and three years. I am between ninety and a hundred years old, and the laborious duties weary me. Do you, eschewing all indolence, take the leading of my people. When I think of him, my mind rests on him as the man fit for this place ; when I would put him out of my thoughts, my mind still rests on him; when I name and speak of him, my mind rests on him for this ; the sincere outgoing of my thoughts about him is that he is the man.

Continue to be strenuous. You condescend to your ministers with a kindly ease; you preside over the multitudes with a generous forbearance. You pardon inadvertent faults, however great, and punish purposed crimes, however small. In cases of doubtful crimes, you deal with them lightly; in cases of doubtful merit, you prefer the high estimation. Rather than put an innocent person to death, you will run the risk of irregularity and error.

Chinese Ethics

This life-loving virtue has penetrated the minds of the people, and this is why they do not render themselves liable to be punished by your officers. The inundating waters filled me with dread, when you accomplished truly all that you had represented , and completed your service;—thus showing your superiority to other men.

Full of toilsome earnestness in the service of the country, and sparing in your expenditure on your family, and this without being full of yourself and elated,—you again show your superiority to other men. You are without any prideful assumption, but no one under heaven can contest with you the palm of ability; you make no boasting, but no Edition: current; Page: [ 50 ] one under heaven can contest with you the palm of merit.

I see how great is your virtue, how admirable your vast achievements. The determinate appointment of Heaven rests on your person; you must eventually ascend the throne of the great sovereign. Be discriminating, be uniform in the pursuit of what is right , that you may sincerely hold fast the Mean.

Do not listen to unsubstantiated words; do not follow plans about which you have not sought counsel. Of all who are to be loved, is not the ruler the chief? Of all who are to be feared, are not the people the chief? If the multitude were without their sovereign Head, whom should they sustain aloft?

Filial Piety (孝) in Chinese Culture

If the sovereign had not the multitude, there would be none to guard the country for him. Carefully maintain the throne which you are to occupy, cultivating the virtues that are to be desired in you. If within the four seas there be distress and poverty, your Heaven-conferred revenues will come to a perpetual end. It is the mouth which sends forth what is good, and raises up war.

I will not alter my words. My mind in this matter was determined in the first place; I consulted and deliberated with all my Edition: current; Page: [ 51 ] ministers and people , and they were of one accord with me. The spirits signified their assent, and the tortoise-shell and divining stalks concurred. Divination, when fortunate, should not be repeated. It is you who can suitably occupy my place. Despiteful and insolent to others, he thinks that all ability and virtue are with himself. A rebel to the right, he destroys all the obligations of virtue.

Superior men are kept by him in obscurity, and mean men fill all the offices. The people reject him and will not protect him. Heaven Edition: current; Page: [ 52 ] is sending down calamities upon him. Do you proceed with united heart and strength, so shall our enterprize be crowned with success. Pride brings loss, and humility receives increase;—this is the way of Heaven. There are few or no reliable details of his history. The whole may be divided into four chapters:—the first, enunciating the principle that in government the great thing is for the ruler to pursue the course of his virtue, which will be seen in his knowledge and choice of men for office, thereby securing the repose of the people; the second, illustrating how men may be known; the third, treating of the repose of the people; in the fourth, the speaker asserts the reasonableness of his sentiments, and humbly expresses his own desire to be helpful to the sovereign.

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All the intelligent also will exert themselves in his service; and in this way from what is near he will reach to what is distant. When the sovereign knows men, he is wise, and can put every one into the office for which he is fit. When he gives repose to the people, his kindness is felt, and the black-haired race cherish him in their hearts.

When these qualities are displayed, and that continuously, have we not the good officer? When there is a daily Edition: current; Page: [ 55 ] display of three of these virtues, their possessor could early and late regulate and brighten the clan of which he was made chief. When there is a daily severe and reverent cultivation of six of them, their possessor could brilliantly conduct the affairs of the state with which he was invested. When such men are all received and advanced, the possessors of those nine virtues will be employed in the public service. The men of a thousand and men of a hundred will be in their offices; the various ministers will emulate one another; all the officers will accomplish their duties at the proper times, observant of the five seasons as the several elements predominate in them ,—and thus their various duties will be fully accomplished.

Let not the Son of Heaven set to the holders of states the example of indolence or dissoluteness. Let him be wary and fearful, remembering that in one day or two days there may occur ten thousand springs of things. Let him not have his various officers cumberers of their places. From Heaven are the social distinctions with their several ceremonies; from us come the observances of those five ceremonies;—and lo! When sovereign and ministers show a common reverence and united respect for these, lo! Heaven graciously distinguishes the virtuous;—are there not the five habiliments, five decorations of them 2?

Heaven punishes the guilty;—are there not the five punishments, to be severally used for that purpose? The business of government! How reverent ought the masters of territories to be! May the government be perfected! But without good reason; for these worthies do not appear at all as interlocutors Edition: current; Page: [ 57 ] in it. The contents of the Book have been divided into three chapters.

In the second chapter, Khwei, the Minister of Music, makes his appearance; it has no apparent connexion with the former. I can only think of maintaining a daily assiduity. I also opened passages for the streams throughout the nine provinces , and conducted them to the four seas. I urged them further to exchange what they had for what they had not, and to dispose of their accumulated stores. Attend to the springs of things; study stability; and let your assistants be the upright:—then shall your movements be grandly responded to, as if the people only waited for your will.

Thus you will brightly receive the favour of God;—will not Heaven renew its appointment of you, and give you blessing? What are associates? I wish to help and support my people;—you give effect to my wishes. I wish to spread the influence of my government through the four quarters;—you act as my agents.

I wish to hear the six pitch-tubes, the five notes determined by them , and the eight kinds of musical instruments regulated again by these , examining thereby the virtues and defects of government, according as the odes that go forth from the court, set to music , and come in from the people , are ordered by those five notes;—it is yours to hear them for me. When I am doing wrong, it is yours to correct me;—do not follow me to my face, and, when you have retired, have other remarks to make. Be reverent, ye associates, who are before and behind and on each side of me!

As to all the obstinately stupid and calumniating talkers, who are found not to be doing what is right, are there not—the target to exhibit their true character 1 , the scourge to make them recollect, and the book of remembrance 2? Do we not wish them to live along with us? There are also the masters of music to receive their compositions, set them to music , and continually publish them as corrected by themselves.

If they become reformed they are to be received and employed; if they do not, let the terrors of punishment overtake them. They will set forth, and you will receive, their reports; you will make proof of them according to their merits; you will confer chariots and robes according to their services. Who will then dare not to cultivate a humble virtue? Day and night without ceasing he was thus. He would make boats go where there was no water.

He introduced licentious associates into his family. The consequence was that he brought the prosperity of his house to an end. I took warning from his course. In the court below the hall there are the flutes and hand-drums, which join in at the sound of the rattle, and cease at that of the stopper, when the organ and bells take their place. This makes birds and beasts fall moving. It is yours to lead on and originate things. Pay careful attention to your laws in doing so.

The Book, if we could fully credit it, would be a sort of domesday book of China in the twenty-third century Edition: current; Page: [ 64 ] bc , in the compass of a few pages. The first section of it is divided into one short introductory chapter, and nine others, each containing the account of one province. Following the course of the hills, he cut down the trees. He determined the highest hills and largest rivers in the several regions.

The soil of this province was whitish and mellow. Its contribution of revenue was the highest of the highest class, with some proportion of the second. Its fields were the average of the middle class. The wild people of the islands brought dresses of skins i. The nine branches of the Ho were made to keep their proper channels. The mulberry grounds were made fit for silkworms, and then the people came down from the heights, and occupied the grounds below. The soil of this province was blackish and rich; the grass in it was luxuriant, and the trees grew high.

Its fields were the lowest of the middle class. Its contribution of revenue was fixed at what would just be deemed the correct amount; but it was not required from it, as from the other provinces, till after it had been cultivated for thirteen years. Its articles of tribute were varnish and silk, and, in baskets, woven ornamental fabrics. Its soil was whitish and rich. Along the shore of the sea were wide tracts of salt land. Its fields were the lowest of the first class, and its contribution of revenue the highest of the second.

The soil of this province was red, clayey, and rich. Its grass and trees grew more and more bushy. Its fields were the second of the highest class; its contribution of revenue was the average of the second. The bamboos, small and large, then spread about; the grass grew thin and long, and the trees rose high; the soil was miry. The fields of this province were the lowest of the lowest class; its contribution of revenue was the highest of the lowest class, with a proportion of the class above.

The wild people of the islands brought garments of grass, with silks woven in shell-patterns in their baskets. Their bundles contained small oranges and pummeloes,—rendered when specially required. The K iang and the Han pursued their common course to the sea, as if they were hastening to court. The nine K iang were brought into complete order. The Tho and Kh ien streams were conducted by Edition: current; Page: [ 69 ] their proper channels. The soil of this province was miry.

Its fields were the average of the middle class; and its contribution of revenue was the lowest of the highest class. The three-ribbed rush was sent in bundles, put into cases. The baskets were filled with silken fabrics, azure and deep purple, and with strings of pearls that were not quite round. From the country of the nine K iang, the great tortoise was presented when specially required and found. They floated down the K iang, the Tho, the Kh ien, and the Han, and crossed the country to the Lo, whence they reached the most southern part of the Ho. The marsh of Yung-po was Edition: current; Page: [ 70 ] confined within its proper limits.

The soil of this province was mellow; in the lower parts it was in some places rich, and in others dark and thin. Its fields were the highest of the middle class; and its contribution of revenue was the average of the highest class, with a proportion of the very highest. The baskets were full of chequered silks, and of fine floss silk. Stones for polishing sounding-stones were rendered when required. The hills Min and Po were made capable of cultivation. The Tho and Kh ien streams were conducted by their proper channels.

The soil of this province was greenish and light. Its fields were the highest of the lowest class; and its contribution of revenue was the average of the lowest class, with proportions of the rates immediately above and below. Its articles of tribute were—the best gold, iron, silver, steel, flint stones to make arrow-heads, and sounding-stones; with the skins of bears, foxes, and jackals, and nets woven of their hair.

The Weak-water was conducted westwards. The K ing was led to mingle its waters with those of the Wei. The soil of the province was yellow and mellow. Its fields were the highest of the highest class, and its contribution of revenue the lowest of the second. They then met on the north of the Wei with the tribute-bearers from other quarters. The division of the Book into two sections is a convenient arrangement, but modern, and not always followed.

He traced the Black-water as far as San-wei, from which it went away to enter the southern sea. From Po- kh ung he traced the Yang, which, flowing eastwards, became the Han. From that its eastern flow was the middle K iang, as which it entered the sea. Thereafter it flowed out, and became the Yung marsh. He traced the Lo from the hill Hsiung- r. Then on the north-east it entered the Ho. The six magazines of material wealth were fully attended to; the different parts of the country were subjected to an exact comparison, so that contribution Edition: current; Page: [ 75 ] of revenue could be carefully adjusted according to their resources.

The fields were all classified with reference to the three characters of the soil; and the revenues for the Middle Region were established. He conferred lands and surnames. From the first hundred they brought as revenue the whole plant of the grain; from the second, the ears, with a portion of the stalk; from the third, the straw, but the people had to perform various services; from the fourth, the grain in the husk; and from the fifth, the grain cleaned. In the first three hundred, they cultivated the lessons of learning and moral duties; in the other two, they showed the energies of war and defence.

The first three hundred were Edition: current; Page: [ 76 ] occupied by the tribes of the Man; the other two hundred, by criminals undergoing the greater banishment. On the east, reaching to the sea; on the west, extending to the moving sands; to the utmost limits of the north and south:—his fame and influence filled up all within the four seas. The king, about to engage in battle with a rebellious vassal, assembles his generals and troops, and addresses them.

He declares obscurely the grounds of the expedition which he had undertaken, and concludes by stimulating the soldiers to the display of courage and observance of order by promises of reward and threats of punishment. There was a great battle at Kan. If you, the spearmen on the right 2 , do not do your work on the right, it will be a disregard of my orders. If you, charioteers 2 , do not observe the rules for the management of your horses, it will be a disregard of my orders. You who obey my orders, shall be rewarded before the spirits of my ancestors; and you who disobey my orders, shall be put to death before the altar of the spirits of the land, and I will also put to death your children.

His character is given here in the introductory chapter. There, it is said, he died, having never been able to recross the Ho. By idleness and dissipation he extinguished his virtue, till the black-haired people all wavered in their allegiance. He, however, pursued his pleasure and wanderings without any Edition: current; Page: [ 79 ] self-restraint. He went out to hunt beyond the Lo, and a hundred days elapsed without his returning.

Especially had they been unobservant of an eclipse of the sun in autumn. The king considered them worthy of death, and commissioned the marquis of Yin to execute on them the sentence of his justice. Where Yin was is not now known. The principal part of the Book consists of the speech made by the marquis to his troops. All the officers moreover watchfully did their duty to Edition: current; Page: [ 82 ] assist the government , and their sovereign became entirely intelligent.

Ye workmen engaged in mechanical affairs, remonstrate on the subjects of your employments. If any of you do not attend with respect to this requirement , the country has regular punishments for you. They have allowed their virtue to be subverted, and are besotted by drink.

They have violated the duties of their office, and left their posts. They have been the first to let the regulating of the heavenly bodies get into disorder, putting far from them their proper business. On the first day of the last month of autumn, the sun and moon did not meet harmoniously in Fang 2. The blind musicians beat their drums; the inferior officers galloped, and the common people employed about the public offices ran about 3. Give me your help, I pray you, reverently to carry out the dread charge of the Son of Heaven.

While I destroy, therefore , the chief criminals, I will not punish those who have been forced to follow them; and those who have long been stained by their filthy manners will be allowed to renovate themselves. When compassion overcomes sternness, no merit can be achieved. All ye, my warriors, exert yourselves, and take warning, and obey my orders! Yin then began to be used as well as Shang, and the dynasty was called indifferently Shang or Yin, and sometimes Yin-Shang by a combination of the two names. The ruling House traced its origin into the remote times of antiquity, through Hsieh, whose appointment by Shun to be Minister of Instruction is related in the Canon of Shun.

The title of the dynasty, however, was derived from the original Shang. The Speech of Thang, that is now the first Book in the Part, was originally only the sixth. His multitudes are become entirely indifferent to his service , and feel no bond of union to him. We will all perish with thee 2. I will greatly reward you. On no account disbelieve me;—I will not eat my words. If you do not obey the words which I have thus spoken to you, I will put Edition: current; Page: [ 86 ] your children to death with you;—you shall find no forgiveness.

They are distinguished from the Speeches, as being made in a general assembly, or published, for the information of all, whereas the Speeches were made to an army. Thang has been successful against K ieh, and dethroned him, but is haunted by some feeling of remorse, and afraid that what he has done may be appealed to in future ages as an apology for rebellion.

This gives occasion to the Announcement, in which K ung-hui vindicates the proceeding of the king, showing, first, that he had only obeyed the guidance of Heaven, and, then, that men consented with Heaven in the matter. He concludes with various counsels addressed to the king. Heaven gives birth to the people with such desires, that without a ruler they must fall into all disorders; and Heaven again gives birth Edition: current; Page: [ 87 ] to the man of intelligence to regulate them.

Chinese Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

You are now only following the proper course, honouring and obeying the appointment of Heaven. On this account God viewed him with disapprobation, caused our Shang to receive his appointment, and employed you to enlighten the multitudes of the people. Our people , great and small, were in constant apprehension, fearful though they were guilty of no crime.

Our king did not approach to dissolute music and women; he did not seek to accumulate property and wealth. To great virtue he gave great offices, and to great merit great rewards. He employed others as if their excellences were his own; he was not slow to change his errors. Rightly indulgent and rightly benevolent, from the display of such virtue , confidence was reposed in him by the millions of the people. Absorb the weak, and punish the wilfully blind; take their states from the disorderly, and deal summarily with those going to ruin.

When you thus accelerate the end of what is of itself ready to perish, and strengthen what is itself strong to live, how will the states all flourish! Exert yourself, O king, to make your virtue still more illustrious, and set up the standard of the Mean before the people. Order your affairs Edition: current; Page: [ 89 ] by righteousness; order your heart by propriety;—so shall you transmit a grand example to posterity.

He who likes to put questions, becomes enlarged; he who uses only his own views, becomes smaller than he was. There is establishment for the observers of propriety, and overthrow for the blinded and wantonly indifferent. To revere and honour the path prescribed by Heaven is the way ever to preserve the favouring appointment of Heaven. He shows how he had taken possession of the throne in reverent submission to the will of Heaven, what appreciation he had of the duties devolving on him, and the spirit in which he would discharge them.

In the end he calls on the princes and the people to sympathize and co-operate with him. The great God has conferred Edition: current; Page: [ 90 ] even on the inferior people a moral sense, compliance with which would show their nature invariably right. Suffering from his cruel injuries, and unable to endure the wormwood and poison, you protested with one accord your innocence to the spirits of heaven and earth.

Therefore I, the little child, charged with the decree of Heaven and its bright terrors, did not dare to forgive the criminal. High Heaven truly showed its favour to the inferior people, and the criminal has been degraded and subjected. What Heaven appoints is without error;—brilliantly now , like the blossoming of plants and trees, the millions of the people show a true reviving.

Throughout all the regions that enter on a new life under me, do not, ye princes , follow lawless ways; make no approach to insolence and dissoluteness; let every one be careful to keep his statutes;—that so we may receive the favour of Heaven. I will examine these things in harmony with the mind of God. When guilt is found in me, the One man, it shall not attach to you who occupy the myriad regions. Yin was his designation. The spirits of the hills and rivers likewise were all in tranquillity; and the birds and beasts, the fishes and tortoises, all enjoyed their existence according to their nature.

Our king of Shang brilliantly displayed his sagely prowess; for oppression he substituted his generous gentleness; and the millions of the people gave him their hearts. Now your Majesty is entering on the inheritance of his virtue;—all depends on how you commence your reign. To set up love, it is for you to love your relations ; to set up respect, it is for you to respect your elders.

The commencement is in the family and the state; the consummation is in all within the four seas. He listened to expostulation, and did not seek to resist it; he conformed to the wisdom of the ancients; occupying the highest position, he displayed intelligence; occupying an inferior position, he displayed his loyalty; he allowed the good qualities of the men whom he employed , and did Edition: current; Page: [ 94 ] not seek that they should have every talent; in the government of himself, he seemed to think that he could never sufficiently attain.

It was thus he arrived at the possession of the myriad regions. Now if a high noble or officer be addicted to one of these three fashions with their ten evil ways 1 , his family will surely come to ruin; if the prince of a country be so addicted, his state will surely come to ruin. The minister who does not try to correct such vices in the sovereign shall be punished with branding. Lau, Penguin Books, I Ching , , Book of Changes. Shu Ching , , Book of History. Chung Yung , , The Doctrine of the Mean [ 1 ]. Ch'un Ch'iu , , Spring and Autumn Annals [ 2 ].

Hsiao Ching , , Filial Piety Classic. Meng Tzu , , the Mencius [ 1 ]. Erh Ya , , Dictionary of Terms. Kung-yang Chuan , , commentary on Ch'un Ch'iu. Ku-liang Chuan , , commentary on Ch'un Ch'iu [ 3 ].



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