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OF COMMENTARIES UPON THE ANALECTS.
1. IT would be a vast and unprofitable labour to attempt to give a list of the Commentaries which have been published on this Work. My object is merely to point out how zealously the business of interpretation was undertaken, as soon as the text had been recovered by the scholars of the Han dynasty, and with what industry it has been persevered in down to the present time.
2. Mention has been made, in Section I. 6, of the Lun of Prince Chang, published in the half century before our era. Paou Heen, a distinguished scholar and officer, of the reign of Kwang-woo, the first emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty, A.D. 25—57, and another scholar of the surname Chow, less known but of the same time, published Works, containing arrangements of this into chapters and sentences, with explanatory notes. The critical work of K'ung Gan-kwü on the old Lun Yu has been referred to. That was lost in consequence of troubles which arose towards the close of the reign of the Emperor Woo, but in the time of the Emperor Shun, A.D. 126–144, another scholar, Ma Yung, undertook the exposition of the characters in the old Lun, giving at the same time his views of the general meaning. The labours of Ch'ing Heuen in the second century have been mentioned. Not long after his death, there ensued a period of anarchy, when the empire was divided into three governments, well known from the celebrated historical romance, called “The Three States.” The strongest of them, the House of Wei, patronized literature, and three of its high officers and scholars, Ch'in Koeun, Wang Suh, and Chow Shang-lèë, in the first half, and probably the second quarter of the third century, all gave to the world their notes on the Analects.
Very shortly after, five of the chief ministers of the Government of Wei, Sun Yung, Ch'ing Ch'ung, Tsaou He, Seun K'ae, and Ho An, united in the production of one great work, entitled, “A Collection of Explanations of the Lun Yu.” It embodied the labours of all the writers which have been mentioned, and having been frequently reprinted by succeeding dynasties, it still remains. The preface of the five compilers, in the form of a memorial to the emperor, so called, of the House of Wei, is published with it, and has been of much assistance to me in writing these sections. IHo Am was the leader among them, and the work is commonly quoted as if it were the production of him alone. 3. From Ho An downwards, there has not been a dynasty which has not contributed its labourers to the illustration of the Analects. In the Leang, which occupied the throne a good part of the sixth century, there appeared the “Comments of Wang K’an,” who to the seven authorities cited by Ho An added other thirteen, being scholars who had deserved well of the Classic during the intermediate time. Passing over other dynasties, we come to the Sung, A.D. 960–1279. An edition of the Classics was published by imperial authority, about the beginning of the 11th century, with the title of “The Correct Meaning.” The principal scholar engaged in the undertaking was Hing Ping. The portion of it on the Analects is commonly reprinted in “The Thirteen Classics,” after Ho An’s explanations. But the names of the Sung dynasty are all thrown into the shade by that of Choo He, than whom China has not produced a greater scholar. He composed, in the 12th century, three Works on the Analects, which still remain :-the first called “Collected Meanings;” the second, “Collected Comments;” and the third, “Queries.” Nothing could exceed the grace and clearness of his style, and the influence which he has exerted on the literature of China has been almost despotic. The scholars of the present dynasty, however, seem inclined to question the correctness of his views and interpretations of the Classics, and the chief place among them is due to Maou Koeling, known more commonly as Maou Se-ho. IHis writings, under the name of “The Collected Works of Se-ho,” have been published in 80 volumes, containing between three and four hundred books or sections. He has nine treatises on The Four Books, or parts of them, and deserves to take rank with Ch'ing Heuen and Choo He at the head of Chinese scholars, though he is a vehement opponent of the latter. Many of his writings are to be found also in the great Work called “A Collection of Works on the Classics, under the Imperial dynasty of Ts’ing,” which contains 1400 sections, and is a noble contribution by
OF THE GREAT LEARNING.
HISTORY OF THE TEXT ; AND THE DIFFERENT ARRANGEMENTS OF IT WHICH HAVE BEEN PROPOSED.
1. IT has already been mentioned that “ The Great Learning” forms one of the chapters of the Le Ke, or “Record of Rites,” the formation of the text of which will be treated of in its proper place. I will only say here that the Book, or Books, of Rites had suffered much more, after the death of Confucius, than the other ancient Classics. They were in a more dilapidated condition at the time of the revival of the ancient literature under the Han dynasty, and were then published in three collections, only one of which—the Record of Rites—retains its place among the King.
The Record of Rites consists, according to the current arrangement, of 49 chapters or Books. Lew Heang (see ch. T. sect. II. 2) took the lead in its formation, and was followed by the two famous scholars, Tae Tih, and his relative, Tae Shing. The first of these reduced upwards of 200 chapters, collected by Heang, to 89, and Shing reduced these again to 46. The three other Books were added in the second century of our era, The Great Learning being one of them, by Ma Yung, mentioned in the last chaper, section III. 2. Since his time, the Work has not received any further additions.
2. In his note appended to what he calls the chapter of “Classical Text,” Choo He says that the tablets of the “ old copies” of the rest of The Great Learning were considerably out of order. By those old copies, he intends the Work of Ch'ing Heuen, who published his commentary on the Classic, soon after it was completed by the additions of Ma Yung; and it is possible that the tablets were in confusion, and had not been arranged with sufficient care; but such a thing does not appear to have been suspected until the 12th century; nor can any authority from ancient monuments be adduced in its support. I have related how the ancient Classics were cut on slabs of stone by imperial order, A.D. 175, the text being that which the various literati had determined, and which had been adopted by Ch'ing Heuen. The same work was performed about seventy years later, under the so-called dynasty of Wei, between the years 240 and 248, and the two sets of slabs were set up together. The only difference between them was, that whereas the Classics had been cut in the first instance in three different forms, called the Seal character, the Pattern style, and the Imperfect form, there was substituted for the latter in the slabs of Wei the oldest form of the characters, similar to that which has been described in connection with the discovery of the old Lun Yu in the wall of Confucius' house. Amid the changes of dynasties, the slabs both of Han and Wei had perished before the rise of the T'ang dynasty, A.D. 624; but under one of its emperors, in the year 836, a copy of the Classics was again cut on stone, though only in one form of the character. These slabs we can trace down through the Sung dynasty when they were known as the tablets of Shen. They were in exact conformity with the text of the Classics adopted by Ch'ing Heuen in his commentaries. The Sung dynasty did not accomplish a similar work itself, nor has any one of the three which have followed it thought it necessary to engrave in stone in this way the ancient classics. About the middle of the 16th century, however, the literary world in China was startled by a report that the slabs of Wei which contained The Great Learning had been discovered. But this was nothing more than the result of an impudent attempt at an imposition, for which it is difficult to a foreigner to assign any adequate cause. The treatise, as printed from these slabs, has some trifling additions, and many alterations in the order of the text, but differing from the arrangements proposed by Choo He, and by other scholars. There seems to be now no difference of opinion among Chinese critics that the whole affair was a forgery. The text of The Great Learning, as it appears in