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duke P'ing had there called Yo-chăng, one of the philosopher's disciples, to his councils, and indeed committed to him the administration of the government. When Mencius heard of it, he was so overjoyed that he could not sleep1.
The first appearance (in point of time) of this Yo-chăng in the seven Books is not much to his credit. He comes to Ch'î in the train of Wang Hwan, the favourite who was an offence to the philosopher, and is very sharply reproved for joining himself to such a character' for the sake of the loaves and fishes.' Other references to him are more favourable. Mencius declares him to be a good man,' 'a real man3.' He allows that 'he is not a man of vigour,' nor 'a man wise in council,' nor a man of much information,' but he says he is a man that loves what is good,' and 'the love of what is good is more than a sufficient qualification for the government of the kingdom;-how much more is it so for the State of La1?'
Either on his own impulse or by Yo-chăng's invitation, Mencius went himself also to Lû, hoping that the prince who had committed his government to the disciple might be willing to listen to the counsels of the master. The duke was informed of his arrival by Yo-chăng, and also of the deference which he exacted. He resolved go and visit him and invite him to the court. The horses were put to the carriage, and the duke was ready to start, when the intervention of his favourite, a worthless creature called Tsang Ts'ang, diverted him from his good purpose. When told by the duke that he was going to visit the scholar Măng, Ts'ang said, 'That you demean yourself to pay the honour of the first visit to a common man, is, I apprehend, because you think that he is a man of talents and virtue. From such men the rules of ceremonial proprieties and right proceed; but on the occasion of this Mang's second mourning, his observances exceeded those of the former. Do not go to see him, my prince.' The duke said, 'I will not ;'-and carriage and horses were ordered back to their places.
As soon as Yo-chăng had an audience of the duke, he explained the charge of impropriety which had been brought against Mencius; but the evil was done. The duke had taken his course. 'I told him' said Yo-chăng, 'about you, and he was coming to see you, when Tsang Ts'ang stopped him.' Mencius replied to him, 'A man's
2 Bk. IV. Pt. I. xxv.
3 Bk. VII. Pt. II. xxv.
+ Bk. VI.
Bk. VI. Pt. II. xiii. Pt. II. xiii.
advancement is effected, it may be, by others, and the stopping him is, it may be, from the efforts of others. But to advance a man or to stop his advance is.really beyond the power of other men; my not finding in the prince of Lû a ruler who would confide in me, and put my counsels into practice, is from Heaven. How could that scion of the Tsang family cause me not to find the ruler that would suit me1?'
Mencius appears to have accepted this intimation of the will of Heaven as final. He has a remarkable saying, that Heaven controls the development of a man's faculties and affections, but as there is an adaptation in his nature for these, the superior man does not say-It is the appointment of Heaven.' In accordance with this principle he had striven long against the adverse circumstances which threw his hopes of influencing the rulers of his time again and again in the dust. On his first leaving Lû we saw how he said: Heaven does not yet wish that the country should enjoy tranquillity and good order.' For about fifteen years, however, he persevered, if peradventure there might be a change in the Heavenly councils. Now at last he bowed in submission. The year after and he would reach his grand climacteric. We lose sight of him. He retired from courts and great officers. We can but think and conjecture of him, according to tradition, passing the last twenty years of his life amid the more congenial society of his disciples, discoursing to them, and compiling the Works which have survived as his memorial to the present day.
II. I have endeavoured in the preceding paragraphs to put together the principal incidents of Mencius's history as they may be gathered from his Writings. There is no other source of information about him, and we must regret that they tell us nothing of his domestic life and habits. In one of the stories about his mother there is an allusion to his wife, from which we may conclude that his marriage was not without its bitternesses. It is probable that the Măng Chung, mentioned in Bk. II. Pt. II. ii, was his son, though this is not easily reconcileable with what we read in Bk. VI. Pt. I. v. of a Măng Ch'i, who was, according to Chão Ch'i, a brother of Măng Chung. We must believe that he left a family, for his descendants form a large clan at the present day. Hsi-wăn, the fifty-sixth in descent from Mencius, was, in the reign of Chiâ-ching (A.D. 1522
1566), constituted a member of the Han-lin college, and of the Board in charge of the Five Ching, which honour was to be hereditary in the family, and the holder of it to preside at the sacrifices to his ancestor1. China's appreciation of our philosopher could not be more strikingly shown. Honours flow back in this empire. The descendant ennobles his ancestors. But in the case of Mencius, as in that of Confucius, this order is reversed. No excellence of descendants can extend to them; and the nation acknowledges its obligations to them by nobility and distinction conferred through all generations upon their posterity.
Acknowledgement of Mencius's merits by the government.
HIS INFLUENCE AND OPINIONS.
1. Confucius had hardly passed off the stage of life before his merits began to be acknowledged. The duke Âi, who had neglected his counsels when he was alive, was the first to pronounce his eulogy, and to order that public sacrifices should be offered to him. His disciples proclaimed their estimation of him as superior to all the sages whom China had ever seen. Before long this view of him took possession of the empire; and since the Han dynasty, he has been the man whom sovereign and people have delighted to honour.
The memory of Mencius was not so distinguished. We have seen that many centuries elapsed before his Writings were received among the Classics of the empire. It was natural that under the same dynasty when this was done the man himself should be admitted to share in the sacrifices presented to Confucius.
The emperor Shăn Tsung, in A.D. 1083, issued a patent, constituting Mencius 'Duke of the kingdom of Tsâu3,' and ordering a temple to be built to him in the district of Tsâu, at the spot where the philosopher had been interred. In the following year it was enacted that he should have a place in the temple of Confucius, next to that of Yen Yuan, the favourite disciple of the sage.
In A.D. 1330, the emperor Wăn Tsung, of the Yuan dynasty, made an addition to Mencius's title, and styled him 'Duke of the
1 See Morrison's Dictionary, on Mencius, character, A. D. 1068-1085.
·鄒國公,文宗 A. D. 1330-1333.
State of Tsâu, Inferior Sage1.' This continued till the rise of the Ming dynasty, the founder of which, Hung-wû, had his indignation excited in 1372 by one of Mencius's conversations with king Hsuan. The philosopher had said :- When the prince regards his ministers as his hands and feet, the ministers regard their prince as their belly and heart; when he regards them as his dogs and horses, they regard him as any other man; when he regards them as ground or grass, they regard him as a robber and an enemy. To apply such names as robber and enemy in any case to sovereigns seemed to the imperial reader an unpardonable outrage, and he ordered Mencius to be degraded from his place in the temples of Confucius, declaring also that if any one remonstrated on the proceeding he should be dealt with as guilty of' Contempt of Majesty.'
The scholars of China have never been slow to vindicate the memory of its sages and worthies. and worthies. Undeterred by the imperial threat, Ch'ien Tang, a president of the Board of Punishments, appeared with a remonstrance, saying, 'I will die for Mencius, and my death will be crowned with glory.' The emperor was moved by his earnestness, and allowed him to go scathless. In the following year, moreover, examination and reflection produced a change of mind. He issued a second proclamation to the effect that Mencius, by exposing heretical doctrines and overthrowing perverse speakings, had set forth clearly the principles of Confucius, and ought to be restored to his place as one of his assessors*.
The has been translate: 'second-rate,' but it is by no
means so depreciating a term as that, simply indicating that Mencius was second to Confucius.
was first applied to him by Chão Ch'i. 2 Bk. IV. Pt. II. iii. ̓錢唐
The title 亞聖
• I have taken this account from 'The Sacrificial Canon of the Sago's Temples' (vol. i. proleg. p. 132). Dr. Morrison in his Dictionary, under the character, adds that the change in the emperor's mind was produced by his reading the remarkable passage in Bk. VL. Pt. II. xv, about trials and hardships as the way by which Heaven prepares men for great Dervices. He thought it was descriptive of himself, and that he could argue from it a good title to the crown ;-and so he was mollified to the philosopher. It may be worth while to give here the concluding remarks in "The Paraphrase for Daily Lessons, Explaining the Meaning of the Four Books' (vol. i. proleg. p. 130), on the chapter of Mencius which was deemed by the imperial reader so objectionable :-'Mencius wished that sovereigns should treat their ministers according to propriety, and nourish them with kindness, and therefore he used these perilous words in order to alarm and rouse them. As to the other side, the part of ministers, though the sovereign regard them as his hands and feet, they ought notwithstanding to discharge most earnestly their duties of loyalty and love. Yea, though he regard them as dogs and horses, or as the ground and grass, they ought still more to perform their part in spite of all difficulties, and oblivious of their persons. They may on no account make the manner in which they are regarded, whether it be of appreciation or contempt, the standard by which they regulate the measure of their grateful service. The words of Confucius, that the ruler should behave to his ministers according to propriety, and the ministers
In 1530, the ninth year of the reign of Chia-ching, a general revision was made of the sacrificial canon for the sage's temple, and the title of Mencius was changed into-The philosopher Măng, Inferior Sage.' So it continues to the present day. His place is the second on the west, next to that of the philosopher Tsăng. Originally, we have seen, he followed Yen Hai, but Hai, Tsze-sze, Tsăng, and Măng were appointed the sage's four assessors, and had their relative positions fixed, in 1267.
2. The second edict of Hung-wa, restoring Mencius to his place in the temples of Confucius, states fairly enough the services which he is held to have rendered to his country. The philosopher's own estimate of himself has partly appeared in the sketch of his Life'. He seemed to start with astonishment when his disciple Kung-sun Châu was disposed to rank him as a sage; but he also said on one occasion'When sages shall rise up again, they will not change my words3.' Evidently, he was of opinion that the mantle of Confucius had fallen upon him. A work was to be done in his generation, and he felt himself able to undertake it. After describing what had been accomplished by the great Yü, by Châu-kung, and Confucius, he adds:-'I also wish to rectify men's hearts, and to put an end to those perverse doctrines, to oppose their one-sided actions, and banish away their licentious expressions; and thus to carry on the work of the three sages'.'
Estimate of Mencius himself and by scholars.
The place which Mencius occupies in the estimation of the literati of China may be seen by the following testimonies, selected from those appended by Chû Hsî to the prefatory notice of his Life in the Collected Comments.'
Han Yü says, 'If we wish to study the doctrines of the sages, we must begin with Mencius.' He also quotes the opinion of Yang Tsze-yün', 'Yang and Mo were stopping up the way of truth, when Mencius refuted them, and scattered their delusions without difficulty;' and then remarks upon it :-'When Yang and Mo walked abroad, the true doctrine had nearly come to nought. Though
serve their sovereign with faithfulness, contain the unchanging rule for all ages.' The authors of the 'Daily Lessons' did their work by imperial order, and evidently had the fear of the court before their eyes. Their language implies a censure of our philosopher. There wil' ever be a grudge against him in the minds of despots, and their creatures will be ready to depreciate him.
1 See above, pp. 23, 24. + Bk. III. Pt. II. ix. 13.
2 Bk. II. Pt. I. ii. 18, 19. 'See above, pp. 11, 12.
3 Bk. III. Pt. II. ix. 10.
揚子雲;died A. D. 18.