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regulation of that path is what is called instruction.” It is with these axioms that the Treatise commences, and from such an introduction we might expect that the writer would go on to unfold the various principles of duty, derived from an analysis of man's moral constitution.
Confining himself, however, to the second axiom, he proceeds to say that.“ the path may not for an instant be left, and that the superior man is cautious and careful in reference to what he does not see, and fearful and apprehensive in reference to what he does not hear. There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute, and therefore the superior man is watchful over his aloneness." This is not all very plain. Comparing it with the 6th chapter of Commentary in The Great Learning, it seems to inculcate what is there called “making the thoughts sincere.” The passage contains an admonition about equivalent to that of Solomon,-"Keep thy heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life.”
The next paragraph seems to speak of the nature and the path under other names.
" While there are no movements of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, we have what may be called the state of equilibrium. When those feelings have been moved, and they all act in the due degree, we have what may be called the state of harmony. This equilibrium is the great root of the world, and this harmony is its universal path." What is here called “the state of equilibrium" is the same as the nature given by Heaven, considered absolutely in itself, without deflection or inclination. This nature acted on from without, and responding with the various emotions, so as always “to hit” the mark with entire correctness, produces the state of harmony, and such harmonious response is the path along which all human activities should proceed.
Finally, “Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout heaven and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.” Here we pass into the sphere of mystery and mysticism. The language, according to Choo He,“ describes the meritorious achievements and transforming influence of sage and spiritual men in their highest extent." From the path of duty, where we tread on solid ground, the writer suddenly raises us aloft on wings of air, and will carry us we know not where, and to we know not what.
3. The paragraphs thus presented, and which constitute Choo He's first chapter, contain the sum of the whole Work. This is acknowledged by all ;-by the critics who disown Choo He's interpretations of it, as freely as by him. Revolving them in my own mind often and long, I collect from them the following as the ideas of the author :-1st, Man has received from Heaven a moral nature by which he is constituted a law to himself; 2nd, Over this nature man requires to exercise a jealous watchfulness; and 3rd, As he possesses it, absolutely and relatively, in perfection, or attains to such possession of it, he becomes invested with the highest dignity and power, and may say to himself—“I am a God; yea, I sit in the seat of God.” I will not say here that there is blasphemy in the last of these ideas; but do we not have in them the same combination which we found in The Great Learning,-a combination of the ordinary and the extraordinary, the plain and the vague, which is very perplexing to the mind, and renders the Book unfit for the purposes of mental and moral discipline?
And here I may inquire whether we do right in calling the Treatise by any of the names which foreigners have hitherto used for it? In the note on the title, I have entered a little into this question. The Work is not at all what a reader must expect to find in what he supposes to be a treatise on “ The Golden Medium,” “ The Invariable Mean," or - The Doctrine of the Mean," Those names are descriptive only of a portion of it. Where the phrase Chung Yung occurs in the quotations from Confucius, in nearly every chapter, from the 2nd to the 11th, we do well to translate it by “the course of the Mean,” or some similar terms; but the conception of it in Tsze-sze's mind was of a different kind, as the preceding analysis of the first chapter sufficiently shows.
4. I may return to this point of the proper title for the Work again, but in the mean time we must proceed with the analysis of it.—The ten chapters from the 2nd to the 11th constitute the second part, and in them Tsze-sze quotes the words of Confucius, "for the purpose,” according to Choo He, “of illustrating the meaning of the first chapter." Yet, as I have just intimated, they do not to my mind do
this. Confucius bewails the rarity of the practice of the Mean, and graphically sets forth the difficulty of it. empire, with its component States and families, may be ruled ; dignities and emoluments may be declined, naked weapons may be trampled under foot; but the course of the Mean cannot be attained to.” “The knowing go beyond it, and the stupid do not come up to it.” 2 Yet some have attained to it. Shun did so, humble and ever learning from people far inferior to himself ; 3 and Yen Hwuy did so, holding fast whatever good he got hold of, and never letting it
Tszeloo thought the Mean could be taken by storm, but Confucius taught him better. And in fine, it is only the sage who can fully exemplify the Mean.6
All these citations do not throw any light on the ideas presented in the first chapter. On the contrary, they interrupt the train of thought. Instead of showing us how virtue, or the path of duty, is in accordance with our Heaven-given nature, they lead us to think of it as a mean between two
Each extreme may be a violation of the law of our nature, but that is not made to appear. Confucius' sayings would be in place in illustrating the doctrine of the Peripatetics, “which placed all virtue in a medium between opposite vices.” Here in the Chung Yung of Tszesze, I have always felt them to be out of place.
5. In the 12th chapter Tsze-sze speaks again himself, and we seem at once to know the voice. He begins by saying that “the way of the superior man reaches far and wide, and yet is secret,” by which he means to tell us that the path of duty is to be pursued everywhere and at all times, while yet the secret spring and rule of it is near at hand, in the Heaven-conferred nature, the individual consciousness, with which no stranger can intermeddle. Choo He, as will be seen in the notes, gives a different interpretation of the utterance. But the view which I have adopted is maintained convincingly by Maou Se-ho in the second part of his “Observations on the Chung Yung.” With this chapter commences the third part of the Work, which embraces also the eight chapters which follow. “ It is designed,” says Choo He,“ to illustrate what is said in the first chapter that the path may not be left.” But more than that one sentence finds its illustration here. Tsze-sze had reference in it also to what he had said—“The superior man does not wait till he sees things to be cautious, nor till he hears things to be apprehensive. There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. Therefore, the superior man is watchful over himself when he is alone."
1 Ch. ix.
2 Ch. iv.
8 Ch. iv.
4 Ch, viii.
3 Ch. x.
6 Ch. xi.
It is in this portion of the Chung Yung that we find a good deal of moral instruction which is really valuable. Most of it consists of sayings of Confucius, but the sentiments of Tsze-sze himself in his own language are interspersed with them. The sage of China has no higher utterances than those which are given in the 13th chapter : “ The path is not far from man. When men try to pursue a course which is far from the common indications of consciousness, this course cannot be considered the path. In the Book of Poetry it is said
' In hewing an axe-handle, in hewing an axe-handle,
We grasp one axe-handle to hew the other, and yet if we look askance from the one to the other, we may consider them as apart. Therefore, the superior man governs men according to their nature, with what is proper to them; and as soon as they change what is wrong, he stops. When one cultivates to the utmost the moral principles of his nature, and exercises them on the principle of reciprocity, he is not far from the path. What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others.
“In the way of the superior man there are four things, to none of which have I as yet attained :-To serve my father as I would require my son to serve me : to this I have not attained ; to serve my elder brother as I would require my younger brother to serve me: to this I have not attained'; to serve my prince as I would require my minister to serve me: to this I have not attained ; to set the example in behaving to a friend as I would require him to behave to me: to this I have not attained. Earnest in practising the ordinary virtues, and careful in speaking about them; if in his practice he has anything defective, the superior man dares not but exert himself, and if in his words he has any excess, he dares not allow himself such license. Thus his words have respect to his actions, and his actions have respect to his words ;-is it not just an entire sincerity which marks the superior man?"
We have here the golden rule in its negative form expressly propounded :- What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others.'
But in the paragraph which follows we have the rule virtually in its positive form. Confucius recognizes the duty of taking the initiative, of behaving himself to others in the first instance as he would that they should behave to him. There is a certain narrowness, indeed, in that the sphere of its operations seems to be confined to the relations of society, which are spoken of more at large in the 20th chapter; but let us not grudge the tribute of our warm approbation to the sentiments.
This chapter is followed by two from Tsze-sze, to the effect that the superior man does what is proper in every change of his situation, always finding his rule in himself; and that in his practice there is an orderly advance from step to step,-from what is near to what is remote. Then follow five chapters from Confucius:--the first, on the operation and influence of spiritual beings, to show “the manifestness of what is minute, and the irrepressibleness of sincerity;" the second, on the filial piety of Shun, and how it was rewarded by Heaven with the empire, with enduring fame, and with long life ; the third and fourth, on the kings Wăn and Woo, and the duke of Chow, celebrating them for their filial piety and other associate virtues; and the fifth, on the subject of government. These chapters are interesting enough in themselves, but when I go back from them, and examine whether I have from them any better understanding of the paragraphs in the first chapter which they are said to illustrate, I do not find that I have. Three of them, the 17th, 18th, and 19th, would be more in place in the Classic of Filial Piety than here in the Chung Yung. The meaning of the 16th is shadowy and undefined. After all the study which I have directed to it, there are some points in reference to which I have still doubts and difficulties.
The 20th chapter, which concludes the third portion of the Work, contains a full exposition of Confucius' views on government, though professedly descriptive only of that of the kings Wăn and Woo. Along with lessons proper for a