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OF THE CHINESE CLASSICS GENERALLY-
BOOKS INCLUDED UNDER THE NAME OF THE CHINESE CLASSICS.
1. The Books now recognized as of highest authority in China are comprehended under the denominations of " The live King," and "The four Shoo." The term king is of [textile origin, and signifies the warp threads of a web, and their adjustment. An easy application of it is to denote what is regular and insures regularity. As used with reference to books, it indicates their authority on the subjects of which they treat. "The five King" are the five canonical Works, containing the truth upon the highest subjects from Hie sages of China, and which should be received as law by all generations. The term shoo simply means writings or books.
2. The five King are :—the Yih, or, as it has been styled, The Book of Changes ;" the Shoo, or " The Book of His
orical Documents ;" the She, or "The Book of Poetry;" The Le Ke, or " Record of Rites;" and the Ch'un Ts'ew, or 'Spring and Autumn," a chronicle of events, extending rom B.C. 721 to 480. The authorship, or compilation rather, If all these works is loosely attributed to Confucius. But touch of the Le Ke is from later hands. Of the Yih, the taboo, and the She, it is only in the first that we find Idditions said to be from the philosopher himself, in the 'hape of appendixes. The Ch'un Ts'ew is the only one of the five King which can, with an approximation to correctness, be described as of his own "making."
"The four Books " is an abbreviation for " The Books of the four Philosophers." The first is the Lun Yu, or "Digested Conversations," being occupied chiefly with the sayings of i Confucius. He is the philosopher to whom it belongs. 'It 'appears in this Work under the title of " Confucian Analects." The second is the Ta Heo, or " Great Learning," now commonly attributed to Tsang Sin, a disciple of the sage. He is the philosopher of it. The third is the Chung Yung, or "Doctrine of the Mean," ascribed to K'ung Keih, the grandson of Confucius. He is the philosopher of it. The fourth contains the works of Mencius.
3. This arrangement of the Classical Books, which is commonly supposed to have originated with the scholars of the Sung dynasty, is defective. The Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean, are both found in the Record of Rites, being the forty-second and thirty-first Books respectively of that compilation, according to the usual arrangement of it.
4. The oldest enumerations of the Classical Books specify only the five King. The Yo Ke, or " Record of Music," the remains of which now form one of the Books in the Le Ke, was sometimes added to those, making with them the six King. A division was also made into nine King, consisting| of the Yih, the She, the Shoo, the Chow Le, or " Ritual ot Chow," the E Le, or " Ceremonial Usages," the Le Ke, and| the three annotated editions of the Ch'un Ts'ew, by Tsok'ew Ming, Kung-yang Kaou, and Kuh-leang Ch'ih. In the famous compilation of the classical Books, undertaken by order of T'ae-tsung, the second emperor of the T'ang dynasty (b.c . 627—619), and which appeared in the reign of his successor, there are thirteen King; viz., the Yih, the, She, the Shoo, the three editions of the Ch'un Ts'ew, they Le Ke, the Chow Le, the E Le, the Confucian Analects^ the Urh Ya, a sort of ancient dictionary, the Heaou Kin or " Classic of Filial Piety," and the works of Mencius.
5. A distinction, however, was made, as early as th dynasty of the Western Han, in our first century, amon the Works thus comprehended under the same common name and Mencius, the Lun Yu, the Ta Heo, the Chung Yung and the Heaou King were spoken of as the seaou King, o