THE CHINESE CLASSICS (PROLEGOMENA)
Part 3 out of 4
such a liking. A pleasant picture is presented to us in one passage
of the Analects. It is said, 'The disciple Min was standing by his
side, looking bland and precise; Tsze-lu (named Yu), looking bold
and soldierly; Yen Yu and Tsze-kung, with a free and
straightforward manner. The master was pleased, but he
observed, "Yu there!-- he will not die a natural death ."'
This prediction was verified. When Confucius returned to Lu
from Wei, he left Tsze-lu and Tsze-kao  engaged there in
official service. Troubles arose. News came to Lu, B.C. 479, that a
revolution was in progress in Wei, and when Confucius heard it,
he said, 'Ch'ai will come here, but Yu will die .' So it turned out.
When Tsze-kao saw that matters were desperate he made his
escape, but Tsze-lu would not forsake the chief who had treated
1 See the 左傳, 哀公十四年 and Analects XIV. xxii.
2 Ana. XI. xii.
3 子羔, by surname Kao (高), and name Ch'ai (柴).
4 See the 左傳, 哀公十五年.
him well. He threw himself into the melee, and was slain.
Confucius wept sore for him, but his own death was not far off. It
took place on the eleventh day of the fourth month in the same
year, B.C. 479 . Early one morning, we are told, he got up, and
with his hands behind his back, dragging his staff, he moved about
by his door, crooning over,--
'The great mountain must crumble;
The strong beam must break;
And the wise man wither away like a plant.'
After a little, he entered the house and sat down opposite
the door. Tsze-kung had heard his words, and said to himself, 'If
the great mountain crumble, to what shall I look up? If the strong
beam break, and the wise man wither away, on whom shall I lean?
The master, I fear, is going to be ill.' With this he hastened into
the house. Confucius said to him, 'Ts'ze, what makes you so late?
According to the statutes of Hsia, the corpse was dressed and
coffined at the top of the eastern steps, treating the dead as if he
were still the host. Under the Yin, the ceremony was performed
between the two pillars, as if the dead were both host and guest.
The rule of Chau is to perform it at the top of the western steps,
treating the dead as if he were a guest. I am a man of Yin, and last
night I dreamt that I was sitting with offerings before me
between the two pillars. No intelligent monarch arises; there is
not one in the kingdom that will make me his master. My time has
come to die.' So it was. He went to his couch, and after seven days
Such is the account which we have of the last hours of the
great philosopher of China. His end was not unimpressive, but it
was melancholy. He sank behind a cloud. Disappointed hopes made
his soul bitter. The great ones of the kingdom had not received his
teachings. No wife nor child was by to do the kindly offices of
affection for him. Nor were the expectations of another life
present with him as he passed through the dark valley. He uttered
no prayer, and he betrayed no apprehensions. Deep-treasured in
his own heart may have been the thought that he had endeavoured
to serve his generation by the will of God, but he gave no sign.
'The mountain falling came to nought, and the rock was removed
1 See the 左傳, 哀公十六年, and Chiang Yung's Life of Confucius, in
2 See the Li Chi, II, Sect. I. ii. 20.
out of his place. So death prevailed against him and he passed; his
countenance was changed, and he was sent away.'
10. I flatter myself that the preceding paragraphs contain a
more correct narrative of the principal incidents in the life of
Confucius than has yet been given in any European language. They
might easily have been expanded into a volume, but I did not wish
to exhaust the subject, but only to furnish a sketch, which, while
it might satisfy the general reader, would be of special
assistance to the careful student of the classical Books. I had
taken many notes of the manifest errors in regard to chronology
and other matters in the 'Narratives of the School,' and the
chapter of Sze-ma Ch'ien on the K'ung family, when the digest of
Chiang Yung, to which I have made frequent reference, attracted
my attention. Conclusions to which I had come were confirmed,
and a clue was furnished to difficulties which I was seeking to
disentangle. I take the opportunity to acknowledge here my
obligations to it. With a few notices of Confucius's habits and
manners, I shall conclude this section.
Very little can be gathered from reliable sources on the
personal appearance of the sage. The height of his father is
stated, as I have noted, to have been ten feet, and though
Confucius came short of this by four inches, he was often called
'the tall man.' It is allowed that the ancient foot or cubit was
shorter than the modem, but it must be reduced more than any
scholar I have consulted has yet done, to bring this statement
within the range of credibility. The legends assign to his figure
'nine-and-forty remarkable peculiarities ,' a tenth part of
which would have made him more a monster than a man. Dr.
Morrison says that the images of him which he had seen in the
northern parts of China, represent him as of a dark, swarthy
colour . It is not so with those common in the south. He was, no
doubt, in size and complexion much the same as many of his
descendants in the present day. Dr. Edkins and myself enjoyed the
services of two of those descendants, who acted as 'wheelers' in
the wheelbarrows which conveyed us from Ch'u-fau to a town on
the Grand Canal more than 250 miles off. They were strong,
capable men, both physically and mentally superior to their
2 Chinese and English Dictionary, char. 孔. Sir John Davis also
mentions seeing a figure of Confucius, in a temple near the Po-
yang lake, of which the complexion was 'quite black' (The Chinese,
vol. ii. p. 66).
But if his disciples had nothing to chronicle of his personal
appearance, they have gone very minutely into an account of many
of his habits. The tenth Book of the Analects is all occupied with
his deportment, his eating, and his dress. In public, whether in the
village, the temple, or the court, he was the man of rule and
ceremony, but 'at home he was not formal.' Yet if not formal, he
was particular. In bed even he did not forget himself;-- 'he did not
lie like a corpse,' and 'he did not speak.' 'He required his sleeping
dress to be half as long again as his body.' 'If he happened to be
sick, and the prince came to visit him, he had his face set to the
east, made his court robes be put over him, and drew his girdle
He was nice in his diet,-- 'not disliking to have his rice
dressed fine, nor to have his minced meat cut small.' 'Anything at
all gone he would not touch.' 'He must have his meat cut properly,
and to every kind its proper sauce; but he was not a great eater.'
'It was only in drink that he laid down no limit to himself, but he
did not allow himself to be confused by it.' 'When the villagers
were drinking together, on those who carried staffs going out, he
went out immediately after.' There must always be ginger at the
table, and 'when eating, he did not converse.' 'Although his food
might be coarse rice and poor soup, he would offer a little of it in
sacrifice, with a grave, respectful air.'
'On occasion of a sudden clap of thunder, or a violent wind,
he would change countenance. He would do the same, and rise up
moreover, when he found himself a guest at a loaded board.' 'At
the sight of a person in mourning, he would also change
countenance, and if he happened to be in his carriage, he would
bend forward with a respectful salutation.' 'His general way in his
carriage was not to turn his head round, nor talk hastily, nor point
with his hands.' He was charitable. 'When any of his friends died,
if there were no relations who could be depended on for the
necessary offices, he would say, "I will bury him."
'The disciples were so careful to record these and other
characteristics of their master, it is said, because every act, of
movement or of rest, was closely associated with the great
principles which it was his object to inculcate. The detail of so
many small matters, however, hardly impresses a foreigner so
favourably. There rather seems to be a want of freedom about the
HIS INFLUENCE AND OPINIONS.
1. Confucius died, we have seen, complaining that of all the
princes of the kingdom there was not one who would adopt his
[Sidebar] Homage rendered to Confucius by the sovereigns of
principles and obey his lessons. He had hardly passed from the
stage of life, when his merit began to be acknowledged. When the
duke Ai heard of his death, he pronounced his eulogy in the words,
'Heaven has not left to me the aged man. There is none now to
assist me on the throne. Woe is me! Alas! O venerable Ni !' Tsze-
kung complained of the inconsistency of this lamentation from
one who could not use the master when he was alive, but the
prince was probably sincere in his grief. He caused a temple to be
erected, and ordered that sacrifice should be offered to the sage,
at the four seasons of the year .
The sovereigns of the tottering dynasty of Chau had not the
intelligence, nor were they in a position, to do honour to the
departed philosopher, but the facts detailed in the first chapter
of these prolegomena, in connexion with the attempt of the
founder of the Ch'in dynasty to destroy the literary monuments of
antiquity, show how the authority of Confucius had come by that
time to prevail through the nation. The founder of the Han
dynasty, in passing through Lu, B.C. 195, visited his tomb and
offered the three victims in sacrifice to him. Other sovereigns
since then have often made pilgrimages to the spot. The most
famous temple in the empire now rises near the place of the
grave. The second and greatest of the rulers of the present
dynasty, in the twenty-third year of his reign, the K'ang-hsi
period, there set the example of kneeling thrice, and each time
laying his forehead thrice in the dust, before the image of the
In the year of our Lord 1, began the practice of conferring
honourary designations on Confucius by imperial authority. The
emperor Ping  then styled him-- 'The duke Ni, all-complete and
l Li Chi, II. Sect. I. iii. 43. This eulogy is found at greater length in
the 左傳, immediately after the notice of the sage's death.
2 See the 聖廟祀典圖考, 卷一, art. on Confucius. I am indebted to
this for most of the notices in this paragraph.
illustrious .' This was changed, in A.D. 492, to-- 'The venerable
Ni, the accomplished Sage .' Other titles have supplanted this.
Shun-chih , the first of the Man-chau dynasty, adopted, in his
second year, A.D. 1645, the style, 'K'ung, the ancient Teacher,
accomplished and illustrious, all-complete, the perfect Sage ;'
but twelve years later, a shorter title was introduced,-- 'K'ung,
the ancient Teacher, the perfect Sage .' Since that year no
further alteration has been made.
At first, the worship of Confucius was confined to the
country of Lu, but in A.D. 57 it was enacted that sacrifices should
be offered to him in the imperial college, and in all the colleges
of the principal territorial divisions throughout the empire. In
those sacrifices he was for some centuries associated with the
duke of Chau, the legislator to whom Confucius made frequent
reference, but in A.D. 609 separate temples were assigned to
them, and in 628 our sage displaced the older worthy altogether.
About the same time began the custom, which continues to the
present day, of erecting temples to him,-- separate structures, in
connexion with all the colleges, or examination-halls, of the
The sage is not alone in those temples. In a hall behind the
principal one occupied by himself are the tablets -- in some
cases, the images -- of several of his ancestors, and other
worthies; while associated with himself are his principal
disciples, and many who in subsequent times have signalized
themselves as expounders and exemplifiers of his doctrines. On
the first day of every month, offerings of fruits and vegetables
are set forth, and on the fifteenth there is a solemn burning of
incense. But twice a year, in the middle months of spring and
autumn, when the first ting day  of the month comes round, the
worship of Confucius is performed with peculiar solemnity. At
the imperial college the emperor himself is required to attend in
state, and is in fact the principal performer. After all the
preliminary arrangements have been made, and the emperor has
twice knelt and six times bowed his head to the earth, the
presence of Confucius's spirit is invoked in the words, 'Great art
thou, O perfect sage! Thy virtue is full; thy doctrine is complete.
Among mortal men there has not been thine equal. All kings
honour thee. Thy statutes and laws have come gloriously
4 大成至聖, 文宣尼師, 孔子
down. Thou art the pattern in this imperial school. Reverently
have the sacrificial vessels been set out. Full of awe, we sound
our drums and bells .'
The spirit is supposed now to be present, and the service
proceeds through various offerings, when the first of which has
been set forth, an officer reads the following , which is the
prayer on the occasion:-- 'On this ... month of this ... year, I, A.B.,
the emperor, offer a sacrifice to the philosopher K'ung, the
ancient Teacher, the perfect Sage, and say,-- O Teacher, in virtue
equal to Heaven and Earth, whose doctrines embrace the past time
and the present, thou didst digest and transmit the six classics,
and didst hand down lessons for all generations! Now in this
second month of spring (or autumn), in reverent observance of the
old statutes, with victims, silks, spirits, and fruits, I carefully
offer sacrifice to thee. With thee are associated the philosopher
Yen, Continuator of thee; the philosopher Tsang, Exhibiter of thy
fundamental principles; the philosopher Tsze-sze, Transmitter of
thee; and the philosopher Mang, Second to thee. May'st thou enjoy
I need not go on to enlarge on the homage which the
emperors of China render to Confucius. It could not be more
complete. He was unreasonably neglected when alive. He is now
unreasonably venerated when dead.
2. The rulers of China are not singular in this matter, but in
entire sympathy with the mass of their people. It is the
[Sidebar] General appreciation of Confucius.
of this empire that education has been highly prized in it from the
earliest times. It was so before the era of Confucius, and we may
be sure that the system met with his approbation. One of his
remarkable sayings was,-- 'To lead an uninstructed people to war
is to throw them away .' When he pronounced this judgment, he
was not thinking of military training, but of education in the
duties of life and citizenship. A people so taught, he thought,
would be morally fitted to fight for their government. Mencius,
when lecturing to the ruler of T'ang on the proper way of
governing a kingdom, told him that he must provide the means of
education for all, the poor as well as the rich. 'Establish,' said he,
'hsiang, hsu, hsio, and hsiao,-- all those educational
institutions,-- for the instruction of the people .'
1 2 See the 大清通禮卷十二.
3 Ana. XIII. xxx.
4 Mencius III. Pt. I. iii. 10.
At the present day, education is widely diffused throughout
China. In few other countries is the schoolmaster more abroad,
and in all schools it is Confucius who is taught. The plan of
competitive examinations, and the selection for civil offices only
from those who have been successful candidates,-- good so far as
the competition is concerned, but injurious from the restricted
range of subjects with which an acquaintance is required,-- have
obtained for more than twelve centuries. The classical works are
the text books. It is from them almost exclusively that the
themes proposed to determine the knowledge and ability of the
students are chosen. The whole of the magistracy of China is thus
versed in all that is recorded of the sage, and in the ancient
literature which he preserved. His thoughts are familiar to every
man in authority, and his character is more or less reproduced in
The official civilians of China, numerous as they are, are
but a fraction of its students, and the students, or those who
make literature a profession, are again but a fraction of those
who attend school for a shorter or longer period. Yet so far as the
studies have gone, they have been occupied with the Confucian
writings. In the schoolrooms there is a tablet or inscription on
the wall, sacred to the sage, and every pupil is required, on
coming to school on the morning of the first and fifteenth of
every month, to bow before it, the first thing, as an act of
reverence . Thus all in China who receive the slightest tincture
of learning do so at the fountain of Confucius. They learn of him
and do homage to him at once. I have repeatedly quoted the
statement that during his life-time he had three thousand
disciples. Hundreds of millions are his disciples now. It is hardly
necessary to make any allowance in this statement for the
followers of Taoism and Buddhism, for, as Sir John Davis has
observed, 'whatever the other opinions or faith of a Chinese may
be, he takes good care to treat Confucius with respect .' For
two thousand years he has reigned supreme, the undisputed
teacher of this most populous land.
3. This position and influence of Confucius are to be
ascribed, I conceive, chiefly to two causes:-- his being the
preserver, namely of
l During the present dynasty, the tablet of 文昌帝君, the god of
literature, has to a considerable extent displaced that of
Confucius in schools. Yet the worship of him does not clash with
that of the other. He is 'the father' of composition only.
2 The Chinese, vol. ii. p. 45.
the monuments of antiquity, and the exemplifier and expounder of
[Sidebar] The causes of his influence.
the maxims of the golden age of China; and the devotion to him of
his immediate disciples and their early followers. The national
and the personal are thus blended in him, each in its highest
degree of excellence. He was a Chinese of the Chinese; he is also
represented as, and all now believe him to have been, the beau
ideal of humanity in its best and noblest estate.
4. It may be well to bring forward here Confucius's own
estimate of himself and of his doctrines. It will serve to
[Sidebar] His own estimate of himself and of his doctrines.
statements just made. The following are some of his sayings:--
'The sage and the man of perfect virtue;-- how dare I rank myself
with them? It may simply be said of me, that I strive to become
such without satiety, and teach others without weariness.' 'In
letters I am perhaps equal to other men; but the character of the
superior man, carrying out in his conduct what he professes, is
what I have not yet attained to.' 'The leaving virtue without
proper cultivation; the not thoroughly discussing what is learned;
not being able to move towards righteousness of which a
knowledge is gained; and not being able to change what is not
good;-- these are the things which occasion me solicitude.' 'I am
not one who was born in the possession of knowledge; I am one
who is fond of antiquity and earnest in seeking it there.' 'A
transmitter and not a maker, believing in and loving the ancients,
I venture to compare myself with our old P'ang .'
Confucius cannot be thought to speak of himself in these
declarations more highly than he ought to do. Rather we may
recognise in them the expressions of a genuine humility. He was
conscious that personally he came short in many things, but he
toiled after the character, which he saw, or fancied that he saw,
in the ancient sages whom he acknowledged; and the lessons of
government and morals which he labored to diffuse were those
which had already been inculcated and exhibited by them.
Emphatically he was 'a transmitter and not a maker.' It is not to
be understood that he was not fully satisfied of the truth of the
principles which he had learned. He held them with the full
approval and consent of his own understanding. He believed that if
they were acted on, they would remedy the evils of his time.
1 All these passages are taken from the seventh Book of the
Analects. See chapters xxxiii, xxxii, iii, xix, and i.
There was nothing to prevent rulers like Yao and Shun and the
great Yu from again arising, and a condition of happy tranquillity
being realized throughout the kingdom under their sway.
If in anything he thought himself 'superior and alone,' having
attributes which others could not claim, it was in his possessing
a divine commission as the conservator of ancient truth and rules.
He does not speak very definitely on this point. It is noted that
'the appointments of Heaven was one of the subjects on which he
rarely touched .' His most remarkable utterance was that which
I have already given in the sketch of his Life:-- 'When he was put
in fear in K'wang, he said, "After the death of king Wan, was not
the cause of truth lodged here in me? If Heaven had wished to let
this cause of truth perish, then I, a future mortal, should not have
got such a relation to that cause. While Heaven does not let the
cause of truth perish, what can the people of K'wang do to me
?"' Confucius, then, did feel that he was in the world for a
special purpose. But it was not to announce any new truths, or to
initiate any new economy. It was to prevent what had previously
been known from being lost. He followed in the wake of Yao and
Shun, of T'ang, and king Wan. Distant from the last by a long
interval of time, he would have said that he was distant from him
also by a great inferiority of character, but still he had learned
the principles on which they all happily governed the country, and
in their name he would lift up a standard against the prevailing
lawlessness of his age.
5. The language employed with reference to Confucius by his
disciples and their early followers presents a striking contrast
with his own.
[Sidebar] Estimate of him by his disciples and their early
I have already, in writing of the scope and value of 'The Doctrine
of the Mean,' called attention to the extravagant eulogies of his
grandson Tsze-sze. He only followed the example which had been
set by those among whom the philosopher went in and out. We
have the language of Yen Yuan, his favourite, which is
comparatively moderate, and simply expresses the genuine
admiration of a devoted pupil . Tsze-kung on several occasions
spoke in a different style. Having heard that one of the chiefs of
Lu had said that he himself -- Tsze-kung -- was superior to
Confucius, he observed, 'Let me use the comparison of a house and
its encompassing wall. My wall
1 Ana. IX. i.
2 Ana. IX. iii.
3 Ana. IX. x.
only reaches to the shoulders. One may peep over it, and see
whatever is valuable in the apartments. The wall of my master is
several fathoms high. If one do not find the door and enter by it,
he cannot see the rich ancestral temple with its beauties, nor all
the officers in their rich array. But I may assume that they are
few who find the door. The remark of the chief was only what
might have been expected '
Another time, the same individual having spoken revilingly
of Confucius, Tsze-kung said, 'It is of no use doing so. Chung-ni
cannot be reviled. The talents and virtue of other men are hillocks
and mounds which may be stepped over. Chung-ni is the sun or
moon, which it is not possible to step over. Although a man may
wish to cut himself off from the sage, what harm can he do to the
sun and moon? He only shows that he does not know his own
In conversation with a fellow-disciple, Tsze-kung took a
still higher flight. Being charged by Tsze-ch'in with being too
modest, for that Confucius was not really superior to him, he
replied, 'For one word a man is often deemed to be wise, and for
one word he is often deemed to be foolish. We ought to be careful
indeed in what we say. Our master cannot be attained to, just in
the same way as the heavens cannot be gone up to by the steps of
a stair. Were our master in the position of the prince of a State,
or the chief of a Family, we should find verified the description
which has been given of a sage's rule:-- He would plant the
people, and forthwith they would be established; he would lead
them on, and forthwith they would follow him; he would make
them happy, and forthwith multitudes would resort to his
dominions; he would stimulate them, and forthwith they would be
harmonious. While he lived, he would be glorious. When he died, he
would be bitterly lamented. How is it possible for him to be
attained to ?'
From these representations of Tsze-kung, it was not a
difficult step for Tsze-sze to take in exalting Confucius not only
to the level of the ancient sages, but as 'the equal of Heaven.' And
Mencius took up the theme. Being questioned by Kung-sun Ch'au,
one of his disciples, about two acknowledged sages, Po-i and I
Yin, whether they were to be placed in the same rank with
Confucius, he replied, 'No. Since there were living men until now,
there never was another Confucius;' and then he proceeded to
1 Ana. XIX. xxiii.
2 Ana. XIX. xxiv.
3 Ana. XIX. xxv.
opinion by the concurring testimony of Tsai Wo, Tsze-kung, and Yu
Zo, who all had wisdom, he thought, sufficient to know their
master. Tsai Wo's opinion was, 'According to my view of our
master, he is far superior to Yao and Shun.' Tsze-kung said, 'By
viewing the ceremonial ordinances of a prince, we know the
character of his government. By hearing his music, we know the
character of his virtue. From the distance of a hundred ages after,
I can arrange, according to their merits, the kings of those
hundred ages;-- not one of them can escape me. From the birth of
mankind till now, there has never been another like our master.'
Yu Zo said, 'Is it only among men that it is so? There is the ch'i-
lin among quadrupeds; the fung-hwang among birds; the T'ai
mountain among mounds and ant-hills; and rivers and seas among
rainpools. Though different in degree, they are the same in kind.
So the sages among mankind are also the same in kind. But they
stand out from their fellows, and rise above the level; and from
the birth of mankind till now, there never has been one so
complete as Confucius .' I will not indulge in farther
illustration. The judgment of the sage's disciples, of Tsze-sze,
and of Mencius, has been unchallenged by the mass of the scholars
of China. Doubtless it pleases them to bow down at the shrine of
the Sage, for their profession of literature is thereby glorified. A
reflection of the honour done to him falls upon themselves. And
the powers that be, and the multitudes of the people, fall in with
the judgment. Confucius is thus, in the empire of China, the one
man by whom all possible personal excellence was exemplified,
and by whom all possible lessons of social virtue and political
wisdom are taught.
6. The reader will be prepared by the preceding account not
to expect to find any light thrown by Confucius on the great
problems of the human condition and destiny. He did not speculate
on the creation of things or the end of them. He was not troubled
to account for the origin of man, nor did he seek to know about his
hereafter. He meddled neither with physics nor metaphysics .
[Sidebar] Subjects on which Confucius did not treat.-- That he
was unreligious, unspiritual, and open to the charge of
The testimony of the Analects about the subjects of his teaching
is the following:-- 'His frequent themes of discourse were the
1 Mencius, II. Pt. I. ii. 23-28.
2 'The contents of the Yi-ching, and Confucius's labors upon it,
may be objected in opposition to this statement, and I must be
understood to make it with come reservation. Six years ago, I
spent all my leisure time for twelve months in the study of that
Work, and wrote out a translation of it, but at the close I was
only groping my way in darkness to lay hold of [footnote continued
of Poetry, the Book of History, and the maintenance of the rules
of Propriety.' 'He taught letters, ethics, devotion of soul, and
truthfulness.' 'Extraordinary things; feats of strength; states of
disorder; and spiritual beings, he did not like to talk about .'
Confucius is not to be blamed for his silence on the
subjects here indicated. His ignorance of them was to a great
extent his misfortune. He had not learned them. No report of them
had come to him by the ear; no vision of them by the eye. And to
his practical mind the toiling of thought amid uncertainties
seemed worse than useless.
The question has, indeed, been raised, whether he did not
make changes in the ancient creed of China , but I cannot
believe that he did so consciously and designedly. Had his
idiosyncrasy been different, we might have had expositions of the
ancient views on some points, the effect of which would have
been more beneficial than the indefiniteness in which they are
now left, and it may be doubted so far, whether Confucius was not
unfaithful to his guides. But that he suppressed or added, in order
to bring in articles of belief originating with himself, is a thing
not to be charged against him.
I will mention two important subjects in regard to which
there is a conviction in my mind that he came short of the faith
of the older sages. The first is the doctrine of God. This name is
common in the Shih-ching and Shu-ching. Ti or Shang-Ti appears
there as a personal being, ruling in heaven and on earth, the
author of man's moral nature, the governor among the nations, by
whom kings reign and princes decree justice, the rewarder of the
good, and the punisher of the bad. Confucius preferred to speak of
Heaven. Instances have already been given of this. Two others may
be cited:-- 'He who offends against Heaven has none to whom he
can pray ?' 'Alas! ' said he, 'there is no one that knows me.'
Tsze-kung said, 'What do you mean by thus saying that no one
knows you?' He replied, 'I do not murmur against Heaven. I do
[footnote continued from previous page] its scope and meaning,
and up to this time I have not been able to master it so as to
speak positively about it. It will come in due time, in its place, in
the present Publication, and I do not think that what I here say of
Confucius will require much, if any, modification.' So I wrote in
1861; and I at last accomplished a translation of the Yi, which
was published in 1882, as the sixteenth volume of 'The Sacred
Books of 'the East.' I should like to bring out a revision of that
version, with the Chinese text, so as to make it uniform with the
volumes of the Classics previously published. But as Yang Ho said
to Confucius, 'The years do not wait for us.'
1 Ana. VII. xvii; xxiv; xx.
2 See Hardwick's 'Christ and other Masters,' Part iii, pp. 18, 19,
with his reference in a note to a passage from Meadows's 'The
Chinese and their Rebellions.'
3 Ana. III. xiii.
not grumble against men. My studies lie low, and my penetration
rises high. But there is Heaven;-- THAT knows me !' Not once
throughout the Analects does he use the personal name. I would
say that he was unreligious rather than irreligious; yet by the
coldness of his temperament and intellect in this matter, his
influence is unfavourable to the development of ardent religious
feeling among the Chinese people generally; and he prepared the
way for the speculations of the literati of medieval and modern
times, which have exposed them to the charge of atheism.
Secondly, Along with the worship of God there existed in
China, from the earliest historical times, the worship of other
spiritual beings,-- especially, and to every individual, the
worship of departed ancestors. Confucius recognised this as an
institution to be devoutly observed. 'He sacrificed to the dead as
if they were present; he sacrificed to the spirits as if the spirits
were present. He said. "I consider my not being present at the
sacrifice as if I did not sacrifice ."' The custom must have
originated from a belief in the continued existence of the dead.
We cannot suppose that they who instituted it thought that with
the cessation of this life on earth there was a cessation also of
all conscious being. But Confucius never spoke explicitly on this
subject. He tried to evade it. 'Chi Lu asked about serving the
spirits of the dead, and the master said, "While you are not able
to serve men, how can you serve their spirits?" The disciple
added, "I venture to ask about death," and he was answered, "While
you do not know life, how can you know about death ."' Still
more striking is a conversation with another disciple, recorded in
the 'Narratives of the School.' Tsze-kung asked him, saying, 'Do
the dead have knowledge (of our services, that is), or are they
without knowledge?' The master replied, 'If I were to say that the
dead have such knowledge, I am afraid that filial sons and dutiful
grandsons would injure their substance in paying the last offices
to the departed; and if I were to say that the dead have not such
knowledge, I am afraid lest unfilial sons should leave their
parents unburied. You need not wish, Tsze, to know whether the
dead have knowledge or not. There is no present urgency about the
point. Hereafter you will know it for yourself .' Surely this was
not the teaching proper to a sage.
1 Ana. XIV. xxxvii.
2 Ana. III. xii.
3 Ana. XI. xi.
4 家語, 卷二, art. 致思, towards the end.
He said on one occasion that he had no concealments from his
disciples . Why did he not candidly tell his real thoughts on so
interesting a subject? I incline to think that he doubted more
than he believed. If the case were not so, it would be difficult to
account for the answer which he returned to a question as to
what constituted wisdom:-- 'To give one's self earnestly,' said
he, 'to the duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual
beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom .' At any
rate, as by his frequent references to Heaven, instead of
following the phraseology of the older sages, he gave occasion to
many of his professed followers to identify God with a principle
of reason and the course of nature; so, in the point now in hand, he
has led them to deny, like the Sadducees of old, the existence of
any spirit at all, and to tell us that their sacrifices to the dead
are but an outward form, the mode of expression which the
principle of filial piety requires them to adopt when its objects
have departed this life.
It will not be supposed that I wish to advocate or to defend
the practice of sacrificing to the dead. My object has been to
point out how Confucius recognised it, without acknowledging the
faith from which it must have originated, and how he enforced it
as a matter of form or ceremony. It thus connects itself with the
most serious charge that can be brought against him,-- the charge
of insincerity. Among the four things which it is said he taught,
'truthfulness' is specified , and many sayings might be quoted
from him, in which 'sincerity' is celebrated as highly and
demanded as stringently as ever it has been by any Christian
moralist; yet he was not altogether the truthful and true man to
whom we accord our highest approbation. There was the case of
Mang Chih-fan, who boldly brought up the rear of the defeated
troops of Lu, and attributed his occupying the place of honour to
the backwardness of his horse. The action was gallant, but the
apology for it was weak and unnecessary. And yet Confucius saw
nothing in the whole but matter for praise . He could excuse
himself from seeing an unwelcome visitor on the ground that he
was sick, when there was nothing the matter with him . These
were small matters, but what shall we say to the incident which
I have given in the sketch of his Life, p. 79,-- his deliberately
breaking the oath which he had sworn, simply on the ground that
it had been forced from him?
1 Ana. VII. xxiii.
2 Ana. VI. xx.
3 See above, near the beginning of this paragraph.
4 Ana. VI. xiii.
5 Am. XVII. xx.
I should be glad if I could find evidence on which to deny the truth
of that occurrence. But it rests on the same authority as most
other statements about him, and it is accepted as a fact by the
people and scholars of China. It must have had, and it must still
have, a very injurious influence upon them. Foreigners charge a
habit of deceitfulness upon the nation and its government;-- on
the justice or injustice of this charge I say nothing. For every
word of falsehood and every act of insincerity, the guilty party
must bear his own burden, but we cannot but regret the example
of Confucius in this particular. It is with the Chinese and their
sage, as it was with the Jews of old and their teachers. He that
leads them has caused them to err, and destroyed the way of their
But was not insincerity a natural result of the un-religion
of Confucius? There are certain virtues which demand a true
piety in order to their flourishing in the heart of man. Natural
affection, the feeling of loyalty, and enlightened policy, may do
much to build up and preserve a family and a state, but it requires
more to maintain the love of truth, and make a lie, spoken or
acted, to be shrunk from with shame. It requires in fact the living
recognition of a God of truth, and all the sanctions of revealed
religion. Unfortunately the Chinese have not had these, and the
example of him to whom they bow down as the best and wisest of
men, does not set them against dissimulation.
7. I go on to a brief discussion of Confucius's views on
government, or what we may call his principles of political
[sidebar] His views on government.
could not be in his long intercourse with his disciples but that he
should enunciate many maxims bearing on character and morals
generally, but he never rested in the improvement of the
individual. 'The kingdom, the world, brought to a state of happy
tranquillity ,' was the grand object which he delighted to think
of; that it might be brought about as easily as 'one can look upon
the palm of his hand,' was the dream which it pleased him to
indulge . He held that there was in men an adaptation and
readiness to be governed, which only needed to be taken advantage
of in the proper way. There must be the right administrators, but
given those, and 'the growth of government would be rapid, just
as vegetation is rapid in the earth; yea, their
1 Isaiah iii. 12.
2 天下平. See the 大學, 經, pars. 4, 5; &c.
3 Ana. III. xi; et al.
government would display itself like an easily-growing rush .'
The same sentiment was common from the lips of Mencius.
Enforcing it one day, when conversing with one of the petty rulers
of his time, he said in his peculiar style, 'Does your Majesty
understand the way of the growing grain? During the seventh and
eighth months, when drought prevails, the plants become dry.
Then the clouds collect densely in the heavens; they send down
torrents of rain, and the grain erects itself as if by a shoot. When
it does so, who can keep it back ?' Such, he contended, would be
the response of the mass of the people to any true 'shepherd of
men.' It may be deemed unnecessary that I should specify this
point, for it is a truth applicable to the people of all nations.
Speaking generally, government is by no device or cunning
craftiness; human nature demands it. But in no other family of
mankind is the characteristic so largely developed as in the
Chinese. The love of order and quiet, and a willingness to submit
to 'the powers that be,' eminently distinguish them. Foreign
writers have often taken notice of this, and have attributed it to
the influence of Confucius's doctrines as inculcating
subordination; but it existed previous to his time. The character
of the people molded his system, more than it was molded by it.
This readiness to be governed arose, according to Confucius,
from 'the duties of universal obligation, or those between
sovereign and minister, between father and son, between husband
and wife, between elder brother and younger, and those belonging
to the intercourse of friends .' Men as they are born into the
world, and grow up in it, find themselves existing in those
relations. They are the appointment of Heaven. And each relation
has its reciprocal obligations, the recognition of which is proper
to the Heaven-conferred nature. It only needs that the sacredness
of the relations be maintained, and the duties belonging to them
faithfully discharged, and the 'happy tranquillity' will prevail all
under heaven. As to the institutions of government, the laws and
arrangements by which, as through a thousand channels, it should
go forth to carry plenty and prosperity through the length and
breadth of the country, it did not belong to Confucius, 'the
throneless king,' to set them forth minutely. And indeed they were
existing in the records of 'the ancient sovereigns.' Nothing new
was needed. It was only
1 中庸, xx. 3.
2 Mencius, I. Pt. I. vi. 6.
3 中庸, xx. 8.
requisite to pursue the old paths, and raise up the old standards.
'The government of Wan and Wu,' he said, 'is displayed in the
records,-- the tablets of wood and bamboo. Let there be the men,
and the government will flourish; but without the men, the
government decays and ceases .' To the same effect was the
reply which he gave to Yen Hui when asked by him how the
government of a State should be administered. It seems very wide
of the mark, until we read it in the light of the sage's veneration
for ancient ordinances, and his opinion of their sufficiency.
'Follow,' he said, 'the seasons of Hsia. Ride in the state carriages
of Yin. Wear the ceremonial cap of Chau. Let the music be the Shao
with its pantomimes. Banish the songs of Chang, and keep far
from specious talkers .'
Confucius's idea then of a happy, well-governed State did
not go beyond the flourishing of the five relations of society
which have been mentioned; and we have not any condensed
exhibition from him of their nature, or of the duties belonging to
the several parties in them. Of the two first he spoke frequently,
but all that he has said on the others would go into small
compass. Mencius has said that 'between father and son there
should be affection; between sovereign and minister
righteousness; between husband and wife attention to their
separate functions; between old and young, a proper order; and
between friends, fidelity .' Confucius, I apprehend, would
hardly have accepted this account. It does not bring out
sufficiently the authority which he claimed for the father and the
sovereign, and the obedience which he exacted from the child and
the minister. With regard to the relation of husband and wife, he
was in no respect superior to the preceding sages who had
enunciated their views of 'propriety' on the subject. We have a
somewhat detailed exposition of his opinions in the 'Narratives of
the School.'-- 'Man,' said he, 'is the representative of Heaven, and
is supreme over all things. Woman yields obedience to the
instructions of man, and helps to carry out his principles . On
this account she can determine nothing of herself, and is subject
to the rule of the three obediences. When young, she must obey her
father and elder brother; when married, she must obey her
1 中庸, xx. 2.
2 Ana. XV. x.
3 Mencius, III. Pt. I. iv. 8.
4 男子者, 任天道而長萬物者也; 女子者, 順男子之道, 而長其理者也.
when her husband is dead, she must obey her son. She may not
think of marrying a second time. No instructions or orders must
issue from the harem. Woman's business is simply the preparation
and supplying of drink and food. Beyond the threshold of her
apartments she should not be known for evil or for good. She may
not cross the boundaries of the State to attend a funeral. She may
take no step on her own motion, and may come to no conclusion on
her own deliberation. There are five women who are not to be
taken in marriage:-- the daughter of a rebellious house; the
daughter of a disorderly house; the daughter of a house which has
produced criminals for more than one generation; the daughter of
a leprous house; and the daughter who has lost her father and
elder brother. A wife may be divorced for seven reasons, which,
however, may be overruled by three considerations. The grounds
for divorce are disobedience to her husband's parents; not giving
birth to a son; dissolute conduct; jealousy-- (of her husband's
attentions, that is, to the other inmates of his harem);
talkativeness; and thieving. The three considerations which may
overrule these grounds are-- first, if, while she was taken from a
home, she has now no home to return to; second, if she have
passed with her husband through the three years' mourning for his
parents; third, if the husband have become rich from being poor.
All these regulations were adopted by the sages in harmony with
the natures of man and woman, and to give importance to the
ordinance of marriage .'
With these ideas of the relations of society, Confucius
dwelt much on the necessity of personal correctness of character
on the part of those in authority, in order to secure the right
fulfillment of the duties implied in them. This is one grand
peculiarity of his teaching. I have adverted to it in the review of
'The Great Learning,' but it deserves some further exhibition, and
there are three conversations with the chief Chi K'ang in which it
is very expressly set forth. 'Chi K'ang asked about government,
and Confucius replied, "To govern means to rectify. If you lead on
the people with correctness, who will dare not to be correct?"'
'Chi K'ang, distressed about the number of thieves in the State,
inquired of Confucius about how to do away with them. Confucius
said, "If you, sir, were not covetous, though you should reward
them to do it, they would not steal."' 'Chi K'ang asked about
1 家語卷三, 本命解
saying, "What do you say to killing the unprincipled for the good
of the principled?" Confucius replied, "Sir, in carrying on your
government, why should you use killing at all? Let your evinced
desires be for what is good, and the people will be good. The
relation between superiors and inferiors is like that between the
wind and the grass. The grass must bend, when the wind blows
across it ."'
Example is not so powerful as Confucius in these and many
other passages represented it, but its influence is very great. Its
virtue is recognised in the family, and it is demanded in the
church of Christ. 'A bishop'-- and I quote the term with the simple
meaning of overseer-- 'must be blameless.' It seems to me,
however, that in the progress of society in the West we have
come to think less of the power of example in many departments
of state than we ought to do. It is thought of too little in the
army and the navy. We laugh at the 'self-denying ordinance,' and
the 'new model' of 1644, but there lay beneath them the principle
which Confucius so broadly propounded,-- the importance of
personal virtue in all who are in authority. Now that Great Britain
is the governing power over the masses of India and that we are
coming more and more into contact with tens of thousands of the
Chinese, this maxim of our sage is deserving of serious
consideration from all who bear rule, and especially from those
on whom devolves the conduct of affairs. His words on the
susceptibility of the people to be acted on by those above them
ought not to prove as water spilt on the ground.
But to return to Confucius.-- As he thus lays it down that
the mainspring of the well-being of society is the personal
character of the ruler, we look anxiously for what directions he
has given for the cultivation of that. But here he is very
defective. 'Self-adjustment and purification,' he said, 'with
careful regulation of his dress, and the not making a movement
contrary to the rules of propriety;-- this is the way for the ruler
to cultivate his person .' This is laying too much stress on what
is external; but even to attain to this is beyond unassisted human
strength. Confucius, however, never recognised a disturbance of
the moral elements in the constitution of man. The people would
move, according to him, to the virtue of their ruler as the grass
bends to the wind, and that virtue
1 Ana. XII. xvii; xviii; xix.
2 中庸, xx. 14.
would come to the ruler at his call. Many were the lamentations
which he uttered over the degeneracy of his times; frequent were
the confessions which he made of his own shortcomings. It seems
strange that it never came distinctly before him, that there is a
power of evil in the prince and the peasant, which no efforts of
their own and no instructions of sages are effectual to subdue.
The government which Confucius taught was a despotism,
but of a modified character. He allowed no 'jus divinum,'
independent of personal virtue and a benevolent rule. He has not
explicitly stated, indeed, wherein lies the ground of the great
relation of the governor and the governed, but his views on the
subject were, we may assume, in accordance with the language of
the Shu-ching:-- 'Heaven and Earth are the parents of all things,
and of all things men are the most intelligent. The man among
them most distinguished for intelligence becomes chief ruler, and
ought to prove himself the parent of the people .' And again,
'Heaven, protecting the inferior people, has constituted for them
rulers and teachers, who should be able to be assisting to God,
extending favour and producing tranquillity throughout all parts
of the kingdom .' The moment the ruler ceases to be a minister
of God for good, and does not administer a government that is
beneficial to the people, he forfeits the title by which he holds
the throne, and perseverance in oppression will surely lead to his
overthrow. Mencius inculcated this principle with a frequency and
boldness which are remarkable. It was one of the things about
which Confucius did not like to talk. Still he held it. It is
conspicuous in the last chapter of 'The Great Learning.' Its
tendency has been to check the violence of oppression, and
maintain the self-respect of the people, all along the course of
I must bring these observations on Confucius's views of
government to a close, and I do so with two remarks. First, they
are adapted to a primitive, unsophisticated state of society. He is
a good counsellor for the father of a family, the chief of a clan,
and even the head of a small principality. But his views want the
comprehension which would make them of much service in a great
dominion. Within three centuries after his death,the government
of China passed into a new phase. The founder of the Ch'in dynasty
conceived the grand idea of abolishing all its feudal kingdoms,
and centralizing their administration in himself. He effected the
l 2 See the Shu-ching, V. i. Sect. I. 2, 7.
lution, and succeeding dynasties adopted his system, and
gradually molded it into the forms and proportions which are now
existing. There has been a tendency to advance, and Confucius has
all along been trying to carry the nation back. Principles have
been needed, and not 'proprieties.' The consequence is that China
has increased beyond its ancient dimensions, while there has been
no corresponding development of thought. Its body politic has the
size of a giant, while it still retains the mind of a child. Its hoary
age is in danger of becoming but senility.
Second, Confucius makes no provision for the intercourse of
his country with other and independent nations. He knew indeed of
none such. China was to him 'The Middle Kingdom ,' 'The
multitude of Great States ,' 'All under heaven .' Beyond it
were only rude and barbarous tribes. He does not speak of them
bitterly, as many Chinese have done since his time. In one place
he contrasts their condition favourably with the prevailing
anarchy of the kingdom, saying 'The rude tribes of the east and
north have their princes, and are not like the States of our great
land which are without them .' Another time, disgusted with
the want of appreciation which he experienced, he was expressing
his intention to go and live among the nine wild tribes of the east.
Some one said, 'They are rude. How can you do such a thing?' His
reply was, 'If a superior man dwelt among them, what rudeness
would there be ?' But had he been a ruler-sage, he would not
only have influenced them by his instructions, but brought them
to acknowledge and submit to his sway, as the great Yu did .
The only passage of Confucius's teachings from which any rule
can be gathered for dealing with foreigners is that in the
'Doctrine of the Mean,' where 'indulgent treatment of men from a
distance' is laid down as one of the nine standard rules for the
government of the country . But 'the men from a distance' are
understood to be pin and lu  simply,-- 'guests,' that is, or
officers of one State seeking employment in another, or at the
royal court; and 'visitors,' or travelling merchants. Of independent
nations the ancient classics have not any knowledge, nor has
Confucius. So long as merchants from Europe and other parts of
the world could have been content to appear in China as
suppliants, seeking the privilege of trade, so
2 諸夏; Ana. III. v.
3 天下; passim.
4 Ana. III. v.
5 Ana. IX. xiii.
6 書經, III. ii. 10; et al.
long the government would have ranked them with the barbarous
hordes of antiquity, and given them the benefit of the maxim
about 'indulgent treatment,' according to its own understanding of
it. But when their governments interfered, and claimed to treat
with that of China on terms of equality, and that their subjects
should be spoken to and of as being of the same clay with the
Chinese themselves, an outrage was committed on tradition and
prejudice, which it was necessary to resent with vehemence.
I do not charge the contemptuous arrogance of the Chinese
government and people upon Confucius; what I deplore, is that he
left no principles on record to check the development of such a
spirit. His simple views of society and government were in a
measure sufficient for the people while they dwelt apart from
the rest of mankind. His practical lessons were better than if
they had been left, which but for him they probably would have
been, to fall a prey to the influences of Taoism and Buddhism, but
they could only subsist while they were left alone. Of the earth
earthy, China was sure to go to pieces when it came into collision
with a Christianly-civilized power. Its sage had left it no
preservative or restorative elements against such a case.
It is a rude awakening from its complacency of centuries
which China has now received. Its ancient landmarks are swept
away. Opinions will differ as to the justice or injustice of the
grounds on which it has been assailed, and I do not feel called to
judge or to pronounce here concerning them. In the progress of
events, it could hardly be but that the collision should come; and
when it did come it could not be but that China should be broken
and scattered. Disorganization will go on to destroy it more and
more, and yet there is hope for the people, with their veneration
for the relations of society, with their devotion to learning, and
with their habits of industry and sobriety; there is hope for them,
if they will look away from all their ancient sages, and turn to
Him, who sends them, along with the dissolution of their ancient
state, the knowledge of Himself, the only living and true God, and
of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.
8. I have little more to add on the opinions of Confucius.
Many of his sayings are pithy, and display much knowledge of
character; but as they are contained in the body of the Work, I
will not occupy the space here with a selection of those which
have struck myself as most worthy of notice. The fourth Book of
which is on the subject of zan, or perfect virtue, has several
utterances which are remarkable.
Thornton observes:-- 'It may excite surprise, and probably
incredulity, to state that the golden rule of our Saviour, 'Do unto
others as you would that they should do unto you,' which Mr. Locke
designates as 'the most unshaken rule of morality, and foundation
of all social virtue,' had been inculcated by Confucius, almost in
the same words, four centuries before .' I have taken notice of
this fact in reviewing both 'The Great Learning' and 'The Doctrine
of the Mean.' I would be far from grudging a tribute of admiration
to Confucius for it. The maxim occurs also twice in the Analects.
In Book XV. xxiii, Tsze-kung asks if there be one word which may
serve as a rule of practice for all one's life, and is answered, 'Is
not reciprocity such a word? What you do not want done to
yourself do not do to others.' The same disciple appears in Book V.
xi, telling Confucius that he was practising the lesson. He says,
'What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to men;'
but the master tells him, 'Tsze, you have not attained to that.' It
would appear from this reply, that he was aware of the difficulty
of obeying the precept ; and it is not found, in its condensed
expression at least, in the older classics. The merit of it is
When a comparison, however, is drawn between it and the
rule laid down by Christ, it is proper to call attention to the
positive form of the latter, 'All things whatsoever ye would that
men should do unto you, do ye even so to them.' The lesson of the
gospel commands men to do what they feel to be right and good. It
requires them to commence a course of such conduct, without
regard to the conduct of others to themselves. The lesson of
Confucius only forbids men to do what they feel to be wrong and
hurtful. So far as the point of priority is concerned, moreover,
Christ adds, 'This is the law and the prophets.' The maxim was to
be found substantially in the earlier revelations of God. Still it
must be allowed that Confucius was well aware of the
importance of taking the initiative in discharging all the
relations of society. See his words as quoted from 'The Doctrine
of the Mean' on pages 48, 49 above. But the worth of the two
maxims depends on the intention of the enunciators in regard to
their application. Confucius, it seems to me, did not think of the
reciprocity coming into action beyond the circle of his five
relations of society. Possibly, he might have
1 History of China, vol. i. p. 209.
required its observance in dealings even with the rude tribes,
which were the only specimens of mankind besides his own
countrymen of which he knew anything, for on one occasion, when
asked about perfect virtue, he replied, 'It is, in retirement, to be
sedately grave; in the management of business, to be reverently
attentive; in intercourse with others, to be strictly sincere.
Though a man go among the rude uncultivated tribes, these
qualities may not be neglected .' Still Confucius delivered his
rule to his countrymen only, and only for their guidance in their
relations of which I have had so much occasion to speak. The rule
of Christ is for man as man, having to do with other men, all with
himself on the same platform, as the children and subjects of the
one God and Father in heaven.
How far short Confucius came of the standard of Christian
benevolence, may be seen from his remarks when asked what was
to be thought of the principle that injury should be recompensed
with kindness. He replied, 'With what then will you recompense
kindness? Recompense injury with justice, and recompense
kindness with kindness .' The same deliverance is given in one
of the Books of the Li Chi, where he adds that 'he who
recompenses injury with kindness is a man who is careful of his
person .' Chang Hsuan, the commentator of the second century,
says that such a course would be 'incorrect in point of propriety
.' This 'propriety' was a great stumbling-block in the way of
Confucius. His morality was the result of the balancings of his
intellect, fettered by the decisions of men of old, and not the
gushings of a loving heart, responsive to the promptings of
Heaven, and in sympathy with erring and feeble humanity.
This subject leads me on to the last of the opinions of
Confucius which I shall make the subject of remark in this place.
A commentator observes, with reference to the inquiry about
recompensing injury with kindness, that the questioner was
asking only about trivial matters, which might be dealt with in
the way he mentioned, while great offences, such as those
against a sovereign or a father, could not be dealt with by such an
inversion of the principles of justice . In the second Book of
the Li Chi there is the following passage:-- 'With the slayer of
his father, a man may not live under the same heaven; against the
slayer of his brother, a man must never have to go home to fetch a
weapon; with the slayer of
1 Ana. XIII. xix.
2 Ana. XIV. xxxvi.
3 禮記, 表記, par. 12.
5 See notes in loc., p. 288.
his friend, a man may not live in the same State .' The lex
talionis is here laid down in its fullest extent. The Chau Li tells
us of a provision made against the evil consequences of the
principle, by the appointment of a minister called 'The Reconciler
.' The provision is very inferior to the cities of refuge which
were set apart by Moses for the manslayer to flee to from the
fury of the avenger. Such as it was, however, it existed, and it is
remarkable that Confucius, when consulted on the subject, took
no notice of it, but affirmed the duty of blood-revenge in the
strongest and most unrestricted terms. His disciple Tsze-hsia
asked him, 'What course is to be pursued in the case of the murder
of a father or mother?' He replied, 'The son must sleep upon a
matting of grass, with his shield for his pillow; he must decline
to take office; he must not live under the same heaven with the
slayer. When he meets him in the marketplace or the court, he
must have his weapon ready to strike him.' 'And what is the
course on the murder of a brother?' 'The surviving brother must
not take office in the same State with the slayer; yet if he go on
his prince's service to the State where the slayer is, though he
meet him, he must not fight with him.' 'And what is the course on
the murder of an uncle or a cousin?' 'In this case the nephew or
cousin is not the principal. If the principal on whom the revenge
devolves can take it, he has only to stand behind with his weapon
in his hand, and support him .'
Sir John Davis has rightly called attention to this as one of
the objectionable principles of Confucius . The bad effects of it
are evident even in the present day. Revenge is sweet to the
Chinese. I have spoken of their readiness to submit to
government, and wish to live in peace, yet they do not like to
resign even to government the 'inquisition for blood.' Where the
ruling authority is feeble, as it is at present, individuals and
clans take the law into their own hands, and whole districts are
kept in a state of constant feud and warfare.
But I must now leave the sage. I hope I have not done him
injustice; the more I have studied his character and opinions, the
more highly have I come to regard him. He was a very great man,
and his influence has been on the whole a great benefit to the
Chinese, while his teachings suggest important lessons to
ourselves who profess to belong to the school of Christ.
1 禮記, I. Sect. I. Pt. v. 10.
2 周禮, 卷之十四, pp. 14-18.
3 禮記, II. Sect. I. Pt. ii. 24. See also the 家語, 卷四, 子貢問.
4 The Chinese, vol. ii. p. 41.
HIS IMMEDIATE DISCIPLES.
Sze-ma Ch'ien makes Confucius say: 'The disciples who
received my instructions, and could themselves comprehend them,
were seventy-seven individuals. They were all scholars of
extraordinary ability .' The common saying is, that the
disciples of the sage were three thousand, while among them
there were seventy-two worthies. I propose to give here a list of
all those whose names have come down to us, as being his
followers. Of the greater number it will be seen that we know
nothing more than their names and surnames. My principal
authorities will be the 'Historical Records,' the 'Narratives of the
School,' 'The Sacrificial Canon for the Sage's Temple, with
Plates,' and the chapter on 'The Disciples of Confucius' prefixed to
the 'Four Books, Text and Commentary, with Proofs and
Illustrations.' In giving a few notices of the better-known
individuals, I will endeavour to avoid what may be gathered from
1. Yen Hui, by designation Tsze-yuan (顏回, 字子淵). He was a
native of Lu, the favourite of his master, whose junior he was by
thirty years, and whose disciple he became when he was quite a
youth. 'After I got Hui,' Confucius remarked, 'the disciples came
closer to me.' We are told that once, when he found himself on the
Nang hill with Hui, Tsze-lu, and Tsze-kung, Confucius asked them
to tell him their different aims, and he would choose between
them. Tsze-lu began, and when he had done, the master said, 'It
marks your bravery.' Tsze-kung followed, on whose words the
judgment was, 'They show your discriminating eloquence.' At last
came Yen Yuan, who said, 'I should like to find an intelligent king
and sage ruler whom I might assist. I would diffuse among the
people instructions on the five great points, and lead them on by
the rules of propriety and music, so that they should not care to
fortify their cities by walls and moats, but would fuse their
swords and spears into implements of agriculture. They should
send forth their flocks without fear into the plains and forests.
There should be no sunderings of families, no widows or
widowers. For a thousand
years there would be no calamity of war. Yu would have no
opportunity to display his bravery, or Ts'ze to display his oratory.'
The master pronounced, 'How admirable is this virtue!'
When Hui was twenty-nine, his hair was all white, and in
three years more he died. He was sacrificed to, along with
Confucius, by the first emperor of the Han dynasty. The title
which he now has in the sacrificial Canon,-- 'Continuator of the
Sage,' was conferred in the ninth year of the emperor, or, to speak
more correctly, of the period, Chia-ching, A. D. 1530. Almost all
the present sacrificial titles of the worthies in the temple were
fixed at that time. Hui's place is the first of the four Assessors,
on the east of the sage .
2. Min Sun, styled Tsze-ch'ien (閔損，字子騫). He was a native
of Lu, fifteen years younger than Confucius, according to Sze-ma
Ch'ien, but fifty years younger, according to the 'Narratives of the
School,' which latter authority is followed in 'The Annals of the
Empire.' When he first came to Confucius, we are told, he had a
starved look , which was by-and-by exchanged for one of
fulness and satisfaction . Tsze-kung asked him how the change
had come about. He replied, 'I came from the midst of my reeds
and sedges into the school of the master. He trained my mind to
filial piety, and set before me the examples of the ancient kings. I
felt a pleasure in his instructions; but when I went abroad, and
saw the people in authority, with their umbrellas and banners,
and all the pomp and circumstance of their trains, I also felt
pleasure in that show. These two things assaulted each other in
1 I have referred briefly, at p. 91, to the temples of Confucius.
The principal hall, called 大成殿, or 'Hall of the Great and
Complete One,' is that in which is his own statue or the tablet of
his spirit, having on each side of it, within a screen, the statues,
or tablets, of his 'four Assessors.' On the east and west, along the
walls of the same apartment, are the two 序, the places of the 十
二哲, or 'twelve Wise Ones,' those of his disciples, who, next to
the 'Assessors,' are counted worthy of honour. Outside this
apartment, and running in a line with the two 序, but along the
external wall of the sacred inclosure, are the two 廡, or side-
galleries, which I have sometimes called the ranges of the outer
court. In each there are sixty-four tablets of the disciples and
other worthies, having the same title as the Wise Ones, that of 先
賢, or 'Ancient Worthy,' or the inferior title of 先儒, 'Ancient
Scholar.' Behind the principal hall is the 崇聖祠殿, sacred to
Confucius's ancestors, whose tablets are in the centre, fronting
the south, like that of Confucius. On each side are likewise the
tablets of certain 'ancient Worthies,' and 'ancient Scholars.'
my breast. I could not determine which to prefer, and so I wore
that look of distress. But now the lessons of our master have
penetrated deeply into my mind. My progress also has been helped
by the example of you my fellow-disciples. I now know what I
should follow and what I should avoid, and all the pomp of power
is no more to me than the dust of the ground. It is on this account
that I have that look of fulness and satisfaction.' Tsze-ch'ien was
high in Confucius's esteem. He was distinguished for his purity
and filial affection. His place in the temple is the first, east,
among 'The Wise Ones,' immediately after the four assessors. He
was first sacrificed to along with Confucius, as is to be
understood of the other 'Wise Ones,' excepting in the case of Yu
Zo, in the eighth year of the style K'ai-yuan of the sixth emperor
of the T'ang dynasty, A.D. 720. His title, the same as that of all
but the Assessors, is-- 'The ancient Worthy, the philosopher Min.'
3 . Zan Kang, styled Po-niu (冉耕, 字白 [al. 百] 牛). He was a
native of Lu, and Confucius's junior only by seven years. When
Confucius became minister of Crime, he appointed Po-niu to the
office, which he had himself formerly held, of commandant of
Chung-tu. His tablet is now fourth among 'The Wise Ones,' on the
4. Zan Yung, styled Chung-kung (冉雍, 字仲弓). He was of the
same clan as Zan Kang, and twenty-nine years younger than
Confucius. He had a bad father, but the master declared that was
not to be counted to him, to detract from his admitted excellence.
His place is among 'The Wise Ones,' the second, east.
5. Zan Ch'iu, styled Tsze-yu (冉求, 字子有). He was related to
the two former, and of the same age as Chung-kung. He was noted
among the disciples for his versatile ability and many
acquirements. Tsze-kung said of him, 'Respectful to the old, and
kind to the young; attentive to guests and visitors; fond of
learning and skilled in many arts; diligent in his examination of
things:-- these are what belong to Zan Ch'iu." It has been noted in
the life of Confucius that it was by the influence of Tsze-yu that
he was finally restored to Lu. He occupies the third place, west,
among 'The Wise Ones.'
6. Chung Yu, styled Tsze-lu and Chi-lu (仲由, 字子路, 又字季路).
He was a native of P'ien (卞) in Lu and only
nine years younger than Confucius. At their first interview, the
master asked him what he was fond of, and he replied, 'My long
sword.' Confucius said, 'If to your present ability there were
added the results of learning, you would be a very superior man.'
'Of what advantage would learning be to me?' asked Tsze-lu.
'There is a bamboo on the southern hill, which is straight itself
without being bent. If you cut it down and use it, you can send it
through a rhinoceros's hide;-- what is the use of learning?' 'Yes,'
said the master; 'but if you feather it and point it with steel, will
it not penetrate more deeply?' Tsze-lu bowed ' twice, and said, 'I
will reverently receive your instructions.' Confucius was wont to
say, 'From the time that I got Yu, bad words no more came to my
ears.' For some time Tsze-lu was chief magistrate of the district
of P'u (蒲), where his administration commanded the warm
commendations of the master. He died finally in Wei, as has been
related above, pp. 86, 87. His tablet is now the fourth, east, from
those of the Assessors.
7. Tsai Yu styled Tsze-wo (宰予, 字子我). He was a native of
Lu, but nothing is mentioned of his age. He had 'a sharp mouth,'
according to Sze-ma Ch'ien. Once, when he was at the court of
Ch'u on some commission, the king Chao offered him an easy
carriage adorned with ivory for his master. Yu replied, 'My master
is a man who would rejoice in a government where right
principles were carried out, and can find his joy in himself when
that is not the case. Now right principles and virtue are as it
were in a state of slumber. His wish is to rouse and put them in
motion. Could he find a prince really anxious to rule according to
them, he would walk on foot to his court and be glad to do so. Why
need he receive such a valuable gift, as this from so great a
distance?' Confucius commended this reply; but where he is
mentioned in the Analects, Tsze-wo does not appear to great
advantage. He took service in the State of Ch'i, and was chief
magistrate of Lin-tsze, where he joined with T'ien Ch'ang in some
disorderly movement , which led to the destruction of his
kindred, and made Confucius ashamed of him. His tablet is now
the second, west, among 'The Wise Ones.'
8. Twan-mu Ts'ze, styled Tsze-kung (端木賜, 字子貢 [al. 子贛]),
whose place is now third, east, from the Assessors. He
1 與田常作亂. See Sze-ma Ch'ien's Biographies, chap. 7, though
come have doubted the genuineness of this part of the notice of
was a native of Wei (衛), and thirty-one years younger than
Confucius. He had great quickness of natural ability, and appears
in the Analects as one of the most forward talkers among the
disciples. Confucius used to say, 'From the time that I got Ts'ze,
scholars from a distance came daily resorting to me.' Several
instances of the language which he used to express his admiration
of the master have been given in the last section. Here is
another:-- The duke Ching of Ch'i asked Tsze-kung how Chung-ni
was to be ranked as a sage. 'I do not know,' was the reply. 'I have
all my life had the heaven over my head, but I do not know its
height, and the earth under my feet, but I do not know its
thickness. In my serving of Confucius, I am like a thirsty man who
goes with his pitcher to the river, and there he drinks his fill,
without knowing the river's depth.' He took leave of Confucius to
become commandant of Hsin-yang (信陽宰), when the master said
to him, 'In dealing with your subordinates, there is nothing like
impartiality; and when wealth comes in your way, there is
nothing like moderation. Hold fast these two things, and do not
swerve from them. To conceal men's excellence is to obscure the
worthy; and to proclaim people's wickedness is the part of a mean
man. To speak evil of those whom you have not sought the
opportunity to instruct is not the way of friendship and harmony.'
Subsequently Tsze-kung was high in office both in Lu and Wei, and
finally died in Ch'i. We saw how he was in attendance on
Confucius at the time of the sage's death. Many of the disciples
built huts near the master's grave, and mourned for him three
years, but Tsze-kung remained sorrowing alone for three years
9. Yen Yen, styled Tsze-yu (言偃, 字子游), now the fourth in
the western range of 'The Wise Ones.' He was a native of Wu (吳),
forty-five years younger than Confucius, and distinguished for his
literary acquirements. Being made commandant of Wu-ch'ang, he
transformed the character of the people by 'proprieties' and
music, and was praised by the master. After the death of
Confucius, Chi K'ang asked Yen how that event had made no
sensation like that which was made by the death of Tsze-ch'an,
when the men laid aside their bowstring rings and girdle
ornaments, and the women laid aside their pearls and ear-rings,
and the voice of weeping was heard in the lanes for three months.
Yen replied, 'The influences of Tsze-ch'an and my master might be
to those of overflowing water and the fattening rain. Wherever
the water in its overflow reaches, men take knowledge of it,
while the fattening rain falls unobserved.'
10. Pu Shang, styled Tsze-hsia (卜商, 字子夏). It is not
certain to what State he belonged, his birth being assigned to Wei
(衛), to Wei (魏), and to Wan (溫). He was forty-five years younger
than Confucius, and lived to a great age, for we find him, B.C. 406,
at the court of the prince Wan of Wei (魏), to whom he gave copies
of some of the classical Books. He is represented as a scholar
extensively read and exact, but without great comprehension of
mind. What is called Mao's Shih-ching (毛詩) is said to contain the
views of Tsze-hsia. Kung-yang Kao and Ku-liang Ch'ih are also
said to have studied the Ch'un Ch'iu with him. On the occasion of
the death of his son he wept himself blind. His place is the fifth,
east, among 'The Wise Ones.'
11. Chwan-sun Shih, styled Tsze-chang (顓孫師, 字子張), has
his tablet, corresponding to that of the preceding, on the west. He
was a native of Ch'an (陳), and forty-eight years younger than
Confucius. Tsze-kung said, 'Not to boast of his admirable merit;
not to signify joy on account of noble station; neither insolent nor
indolent; showing no pride to the dependent:-- these are the
characteristics of Chwan-sun Shih.' When he was sick, he called
(his son) Shan-hsiang to him, and said, 'We speak of his end in the
case of a superior man, and of his death in the case of a mean
man. May I think that it is going to be the former with me to-
12. Tsang Shan [or Ts'an] styled Tsze-yu (曾參, 字子輿 [al. 子
與]). He was a native of south Wu-ch'ang, and forty-six years
younger than Confucius. In his sixteenth year he was sent by his
father into Ch'u, where Confucius then was, to learn under the
sage. Excepting perhaps Yen Hui, there is not a name of greater
note in the Confucian school. Tsze-kung said of him, 'There is no
subject which he has not studied. His appearance is respectful.
His virtue is solid. His words command credence. Before great
men he draws himself up in the pride of self-respect. His
eyebrows are those of longevity.' He was noted for his filial
piety, and after the death of his parents, he could not read the
rites of mourning without being led to think of them, and moved
to tears. He was a voluminous writer. Ten Books of his
composition are said to be contained in the 'Rites of the elder Tai'
(大戴禮). The Classic of Filial Piety he is said to have made under
the eye of Confucius. On his connexion with 'The Great Learning,'
see above, Ch. III. Sect. II. He was first associated with the
sacrifices to Confucius in A.D. 668, but in 1267 he was advanced
to be one of the sage's four Assessors. His title-- 'Exhibitor of
the Fundamental Principles of the Sage,' dates from the period of
Chia-ching, as mentioned in speaking of Yen Hui.
13. Tan-t'ai Mieh-ming, styled Tsze-yu (澹臺滅明, 字子羽). He
was a native of Wu-ch'ang, thirty-nine years younger than
Confucius, according to the 'Historical Records,' but forty-nine,
according to the 'Narratives of the School.' He was excessively
ugly, and Confucius thought meanly of his talents in consequence,
on his first application to him. After completing his studies, he
travelled to the south as far as the Yang-tsze. Traces of his
presence in that part of the country are still pointed out in the
department of Su-chau. He was followed by about three hundred
disciples, to whom he laid down rules for their guidance in their
intercourse with the princes. When Confucius heard of his
success, he confessed how he had been led by his bad looks to
misjudge him. He, with nearly all the disciples whose names
follow, first had a place assigned to him in the sacrifices to
Confucius in A.D. 739. The place of his tablet is the second, east,
in the outer court, beyond that of the 'Assessors' and 'Wise Ones.'
14. Corresponding to the preceding, on the west, is the
tablet of Fu Pu-ch'i styled Tsze-tsien (宓 [al. 密 and 虙, all = 伏] 不
齊, 字子賤). He was a native of Lu, and, according to different
accounts, thirty, forty, and forty-nine years younger than
Confucius. He was commandant of Tan-fu (單父宰), and hardly
needed to put forth any personal effort. Wu-ma Ch'i had been in
the same office, and had succeeded by dint of the greatest
industry and toil. He asked Pu-ch'i how he managed so easily for
himself, and was answered, 'I employ men; you employ men's
strength.' People pronounced Fu to be a superior man. He was also
a writer, and his works are mentioned in Liu Hsin's Catalogue.
15. Next to that of Mieh-ming is the tablet of Yuan Hsien,
styled Tsze-sze (原憲, 字子思) a native of Sung or according to
Chang Hsuan, of Lu, and younger than Confucius by thirty-six
years. He was noted for his purity and modesty, and for his
happiness in the principles of the master amid deep poverty.
After the death of Confucius, he lived in obscurity in Wei. In the
notes to Ana. VI. iii, I have referred to an interview which he had
16. Kung-ye Ch'ang [al. Chih], styled Tsze-ch'ang [al. Tsze-
chih], (公冶長 [al. 芝], 字子長 [al. 子芝]), has his tablet next to that
of Pu-ch'i. He was son-in-law to Confucius. His nativity is
assigned both to Lu and to Ch'i.
17. Nan-kung Kwo, styled Tsze-yung (南宮括 [al. 适 and, in the
'Narratives of the School,' 縚 (T'ao)], 字子容), has the place at the
east next to Yuan Hsien. It is a question much debated whether he
was the same with Nan-kung Chang-shu, who accompanied
Confucius to the court of Chau, or not. On occasion of a fire
breaking out in the palace of duke Ai, while others were intent on
securing the contents of the Treasury, Nan-kung directed his
efforts to save the Library, and to him was owing the
preservation of the copy of the Chau Li which was in Lu, and other
18. Kung-hsi Ai, styled Chi-ts'ze [al. Chi-ch'an] (公皙哀, 字季
次 [al. 季沉]). His tablet follows that of Kung-ye. He was a native
of Lu, or of Ch'i. Confucius commended him for refusing to take
office with any of the Families which were encroaching on the
authority of the princes of the States, and for choosing to endure
the severest poverty rather than sacrifice a tittle of his
19. Tsang Tien, styled Hsi (曾蒧[al. 點], 字皙). .He was the
father of Tsang Shan. His place in the temples is the hall to
Confucius's ancestors, where his tablet is the first, west.
20. Yen Wu-yao, styled Lu (顏無繇, 字路). He was the father of
Yen Hui, younger than Confucius by six years. His sacrificial place
is the first, east, in the same hall as the last.
21. Following the tablet of Nan-kung Kwo is that of Shang
Chu, styled Tsze-mu (商瞿, 字子木). To him, it is said, we are
indebted for the preservation of the Yi-ching, which he received
from Confucius. Its transmission step by step, from Chu down to
the Han dynasty, is minutely set forth.
22. Next to Kung-hsi Ai is the place of Kao Ch'ai, styled
Tsze-kao and Chi-kao (高柴, 字子羔 [al. 季羔; for 羔 moreover, we
find 皋, and 睾]), a native of Ch'i, according to the 'Narratives
of the School,' but of Wei, according to Sze-ma Ch'ien and Chang
Hsuan. He was thirty (some say forty) years younger than
Confucius, dwarfish and ugly, but of great worth and ability. At
one time he was criminal judge of Wei, and in the execution of his
office condemned a prisoner to lose his feet. Afterwards that
same man saved his life, when he was flying from the State.
Confucius praised Ch'ai for being able to administer stern justice
with such a spirit of benevolence as to disarm resentment.
23. Shang Chu is followed by Ch'i-tiao K'ai [prop. Ch'i],
styled Tsze-k'ai, Tsze-zo, and Tsze-hsiu (漆雕開 [pr. 啟], 字子開, 子
若, and 子修脩), a native of Ts'ai (蔡), or according to Chang Hsuan,
of Lu. We only know him as a reader of the Shu-ching, and refusing
to go into office.
24. Kung-po Liao, styled Tsze-chau (公伯僚, 字子周). He
appears in the Analects, XIV. xxxiii, slandering Tsze-lu. It is
doubtful whether he should have a place among the disciples.
25. Sze-ma Kang, styled Tsze-niu (司馬耕, 字子牛), follows
Ch'i-tiao K'ai; also styled 黍耕. He was a great talker, a native of
Sung, and a brother of Hwan T'ui, to escape from whom seems to
have been the labour of his life.
26. The place next Kao Ch'ai is occupied by Fan Hsu, styled
Tsze-ch'ih (樊須, 字子遲), a native of Ch'i, or, according to others,
of Lu, and whose age is given as thirty-six and forty-six years
younger than Confucius. When young, he distinguished himself in a
military command under the Chi family.
27. Yu Zo, styled Tsze-zo (有若, 字子若). He was a native of
Lu, and his age is stated very variously. He was noted among the
disciples for his great memory and fondness for antiquity. After
the death of Confucius, the rest of the disciples, because of some
likeness in Zo's speech to the Master, wished to render the same
observances to him which they had done to Confucius, but on
Tsang Shan's demurring to the thing, they abandoned the purpose.
The tablet of Tsze-zo is now the sixth, east among 'The Wise
Ones,' to which place it was promoted in the third year of Ch'ien-
lung of the present dynasty. This was done in compliance with a
memorial from the president of one of the Boards, who said he
was moved by a dream to make the request. We may suppose that
his real motives were a wish to do Justice to the merits of Tsze-
zo, and to restore the symmetry of the tablets in the 'Hall of the
Great and Complete One,' which had been disturbed by the
introduction of the tablet of Chu Hsi in the preceding reign.
28. Kung-hsi Ch'ih, styled Tsze-hwa (公西赤, 字子華), a native
of Lu, younger than Confucius by forty-two years, whose place is
the fourth, west, in the outer court. He was noted for his
knowledge of ceremonies, and the other disciples devolved on him
all the arrangements about the funeral of the Master.
29. Wu-ma Shih [or Ch'i], styled Tsze-Ch'i (巫馬施 [al. 期], 字
子期 [al. 子旗]), a native of Ch'an, or, according to Chang Hsuan, of
Lu, thirty years younger than Confucius. His tablet is on the east,
next to that of Sze-ma Kang. It is related that on one occasion,
when Confucius was about to set out with a company of the
disciples on a walk or journey, he told them to take umbrellas.
They met with a heavy shower, and Wu-ma asked him, saying,
'There were no clouds in the morning; but after the sun had risen,
you told us to take umbrellas. How did you know that it would
rain?' Confucius said, 'The moon last evening was in the
constellation Pi, and is it not said in the Shih-ching, "When the
moon is in Pi, there will be heavy rain?" It was thus I knew it.'
30. Liang Chan [al. Li], styled Shu-yu (梁鱣 [al. 鯉] 字叔魚),
occupies the eighth place, west, among the tablets of the outer
court. He was a man of Ch'i, and his age is stated as twenty-nine
and thirty-nine years younger than Confucius. The following story
is told in connexion with him.-- When he was thirty, being
disappointed that he had no son, he was minded to put away his
wife. 'Do not do so,' said Shang Chu to him. 'I was thirty-eight
before I had a son, and my mother was then about to take another
wife for me, when the Master proposed sending me to Ch'i. My
mother was unwilling that I should go, but Confucius said, 'Don't
be anxious. Chu will have five sons after he is forty.' It has turned
out so, and I apprehend it is your fault, and not your wife's, that
you have no son yet.' Chan took this advice, and in the second year
after, he had a son.
31. Yen Hsing [al. Hsin, Liu, and Wei], styled Tsze-liu (顏幸
[al. 辛, 柳, and 韋], 字子柳), occupies the place, east, after Wu-ma
Shih. He was a native of Lu, and forty-six years younger than
32. Liang Chan is followed on the west by Zan Zu, styled
Tsze-lu [al. Tsze-tsang and Tsze-yu] (冉孺 [al. 儒] 字*子魯 [al. 子曾
* Digitizer's note: This is 宇 in the source text; I have corrected
what is an obvious misprint.
and 子魚]), a native of Lu, and fifty years younger than Confucius.
33. Yen Hsing is followed on the east by Ts'ao Hsu, styled
Tsze-hsun (曹卹, 字子循), a native of Ts'ai, fifty years younger than
34. Next on the west is Po Ch'ien, styled Tsze-hsi, or, in the
current copies of the 'Narratives of the School,' Tsze-ch'iai (伯虔,
字子皙 [al. 子析] or 子楷), a native of Lu, fifty years younger than
35. Following Tsze-hsun is Kung-sun Lung [al. Ch'ung] styled
Tsze-shih (公孫龍 [al. 寵], 字子石), whose birth is assigned by
different writers to Wei, Ch'u, and Chao (趙). He was fifty-three
years younger than Confucius. We have the following account:--
'Tsze-kung asked Tsze-shih, saying, "Have you not learned the
Book of' Poetry?" Tsze-shih replied, "What leisure have I to do
so? My parents require me to be filial; my brothers require me to
be submissive; and my friends require me to be sincere. What
leisure have I for anything else?" "Come to my Master," said Tsze-
kung, "and learn of him."'
Sze-ma Ch'ien here observes: 'Of the thirty-five disciples
which precede, we have some details. Their age and other
particulars are found in the Books and Records. It is not so,
however, in regard to the fifty-two which follow.'
36. Zan Chi, styled Tsze-ch'an [al. Chi-ch'an and Tsze-ta] (冉
季, 字子產 [al. 季產 and 子達), a native of Lu, whose place is the
11th, west, next to Po Ch'ien.
37. Kung-tsu Kau-tsze or simply Tsze, styled Tsze-chih (公
祖勾茲 [or simply 茲], 字子之), a native of Lu. His tablet is the 23rd,
east, in the outer court.
38. Ch'in Tsu, styled Tsze-nan (秦祖, 字子南), a native of
Ch'in. His tablet precedes that of the last, two places.
39. Ch'i-tiao Ch'ih, styled Tsze-lien (漆雕哆 [al. 侈], 字子斂), a
native of Lu. His tablet is the 13th, west.
40. Yen Kao, styled Tsze-chiao (顏高字子驕). According to the
'Narratives of the School,' he was the same as Yen K'o (刻, or 剋),
who drove the carriage when Confucius rode in Wei after the duke
and Nan-tsze. But this seems doubtful. Other
authorities make his name Ch'an (產), and style him Tsze-tsing (子
精). His tablet is the 13th, east.
41. Ch'i-tiao Tu-fu [al. . Ts'ung], styled Tsze-yu, Tsze-ch'i,
and Tsze-wan (漆雕徒父 [al. 從], 字子有 or 子友 [al. 子期 and 子文]), a
native of Lu, whose tablet precedes that of Ch'i-tiao Ch'ih.
42. Zang Sze-ch'ih, styled Tsze-t'u, or Tsze-ts'ung (壤 [al. 穰]
駟赤, 字子徒 [al. 子從]), a native of Ch'in. Some consider Zang-sze
(壤駟) to be a double surname. His tablet comes after that of No.
43. Shang Chai, styled Tsze-Ch'i and Tsze-hsiu (商澤, 字子季
[al. 子秀]), a native of Lu. His tablet is immediately after that of
Fan Hsu, No. 26.
44. Shih Tso [al. Chih and Tsze]-shu, styled Tsze-ming (石作
[al. 之 and 子], 蜀, 字子明). Some take Shih-tso (石作) as a double
surname. His tablet follows that of No. 42.
45. Zan Pu-ch'i, styled Hsuan (任不齊, 字選), a native of Ch'u,
whose tablet is next to that of No. 28.
46. Kung-liang Zu, styled Tsze-chang (公良孺 [al. 儒], 字子正),
a native of Ch'in, follows the preceding in the temples. The
'Sacrificial Canon' says:-- 'Tsze-chang was a man of worth and
bravery. When Confucius was surrounded and stopped in P'u, Tsze-
chang fought so desperately, that the people of P'u were afraid,
and let the Master go, on his swearing that he would not proceed
47. Hau [al. Shih] Ch'u [al. Ch'ien], styled Tsze-li [al. Li-ch'ih]
(后 [al. 石] 處 [al. 虔], 字子里 [al. 里之]), a native of Ch'i, having his
tablet the 17th, east.
48. Ch'in Zan, styled K'ai (秦冉, 字開), a native of Ts'ai. He is
not given in the list of the 'Narratives of the School,' and on this
account his tablet was put out of the temples in the ninth year of
Chia-tsing. It was restored, however, in the second year of Yung-
chang, A.D. 1724, and is the 33rd, east, in the outer court.
49. Kung-hsia Shau, styled Shang [and Tsze-shang] (公夏首
[al. 守], 字乘 [and 子乘]), a native of Lu, whose tablet is next to that
of No. 44.
50. Hsi Yung-tien [or simply Tien], styled Tsze-hsi [al. Tsze-
chieh and Tsze-ch'ieh] (系容蒧 [or 點], 字子皙 [al. 子偕 and 子楷]), a
native of Wei, having his tablet the 18th, east.
51. Kung Chien-ting [al. Kung Yu], styled Tsze-chung (公肩 [al.
堅] 定 [al. 公有], 字子仲 [al. 中 and 忠]). His nativity is assigned to Lu,
to Wei, and to Tsin (晉). He follows No. 46.
52. Yen Tsu [al. Hsiang], styled Hsiang and Tsze-hsiang (顏祖
[al. 相], 字襄, and 子襄), a native of Lu, with his tablet following
that of No. 50.
53. Chiao Tan [al. Wu], styled Tsze-kea (鄡單 [al. 鄔＊], 字子
家), a native of Lu. His place is next to that of No. 51.
54. Chu [al. Kau] Tsing-ch'iang [and simply Tsing], styled
Tsze-ch'iang [al. Tsze-chieh and Tsze-mang] (句 [al. 勾 and 鉤] 井疆
[and simply 井], 字子疆 [al. 子界 and 子孟]), a native of Wei,
following No. 52.
55. Han [al. Tsai]-fu Hei, styled Tsze-hei [al. Tsze-so and
Tsze-su] (罕 [al. 宰] 父黑, 字子黑 [al. 子索 and 子素]), a native of Lu,
whose tablet is next to that of No. 53.
56. Ch'in Shang, styled Tsze-p'ei [al. P'ei-tsze and Pu-tsze]
(秦商, 字子丕 [al. 丕茲 and 不茲]), a native of Lu, or, according to
Chang Hsuan, of Ch'u. He was forty years younger than Confucius.
One authority, however, says he was only four years younger, and
that his father and Confucius's father were both celebrated for
their strength. His tablet is the 12th, east.
57. Shin Tang, styled Chau (申黨字周). In the 'Narratives of
the School' there is a Shin Chi, styled Tsze-chau (申續, 字子周). The
name is given by others as T'ang (堂 and 儻) and Tsu (續), with the
designation Tsze-tsu (子續). These are probably the same person
mentioned in the Analects as Shin Ch'ang (申棖). Prior to the Ming
dynasty they were sacrificed to as two, but in A.D. 1530, the
name Tang was expunged from the sacrificial list, and only that
of Ch'ang left. His tablet is the 31st, east.
58. Yen Chih-p'o, styled Tsze-shu [or simply Shu] (顏之僕, 字
子叔 [or simply 叔]), a native of Lu, who occupies the 29th place,
59. Yung Ch'i, styled Tsze-ch'i [al. Tsze-yen] (榮旂 [or 祈], 字
子旗 or 子祺 [al. 子顏]), a native of Lu, whose tablet is the 20th,
*Digitizer's note: The actual variant used by Legge is (鄔左即右).
60. Hsien Ch'ang, styled Tsze-ch'i [al. Tsze-hung] (縣成, 字子
棋 [al. 子橫]), a native of Lu. His place is the 22nd, east.
61. Tso Zan-ying [or simply Ying], styled Hsing and Tsze-
hsing (左人郢 [or simply 郢], 字行 and 子行), a native of Lu. His
tablet follows that of No. 59.
62. Yen Chi, styled An [al. Tsze-sze] (燕伋 [or 級], 字恩 [al. 子
思) a native of Ch'in. His tablet is the 24th east.
63: Chang Kwo, styled Tsze-t'u (鄭國, 字子徒), a native of Lu.
This is understood to be the same with the Hsieh Pang, styled
Tsze-ts'ung (薛邦, 字子從), of the 'Narratives of the School.' His
tablet follows No. 61.
64. Ch'in Fei, styled Tsze-chih (秦非, 字子之), a native of Lu,
having his tablet the 31st, west.
65. Shih Chih-ch'ang, styled Tsze-hang [al. ch'ang] (施之常, 字
子恆 [al. 常]), a native of Lu. His tablet is the 30th, east.
66. Yen K'wai, styled Tsze-shang (顏噲, 字子聲), a native of
Lu. His tablet is the next to that of No. 64.
67. Pu Shu-shang, styled Tsze-ch'e (步叔乘 [in the
'Narratives of the School' we have an old form of 乘], 字子車), a
native of Ch'i. Sometimes for Pu (步) we find Shao (少). His tablet
is the 30th, west.
68. Yuan K'ang, styled Tsze-chi (原亢, 字子籍), a native of Lu.
Sze-ma Ch'ien calls him Yuan K'ang-chi, not mentioning any
designation. The 'Narratives of the School' makes him Yuan K'ang
(抗), styled Chi. His tablet is the 23rd, west.
69. Yo K'o [al. Hsin], styled Tsze-shang (樂欬, [al. 欣], 字子聲),
a native of Lu. His tablet is the 25th, east.
70. Lien Chieh, styled Yung and Tsze-yung [al. Tsze-ts'ao] (廉
潔, 字庸 and 子庸 [al. 子曹), a native of Wei, or of Ch'i. His tablet is
next to that of No. 68.
71. Shu-chung Hui [al. K'wai], styled Tsze-ch'i (叔仲會 [al. 噲],
字子期), a native of Lu, or, according to Chang Hsuan, of Tsin. He
was younger than Confucius by fifty-four years. It is said that he
and another youth, called K'ung Hsuan (孔琁), attended by turns
with their pencils, and acted as amanuenses to the sage, and when
Mang Wu-po expressed a doubt of their competency, Confucius
declared his satisfaction with them. He follows Lien Chieh in the
72. Yen Ho, styled Zan (顏何, 字冉), a native of Lu. The present
copies of the 'Narratives of the School' do not contain his name,
and in A.D. 1588 Zan was displaced from his place in the temples.
His tablet, however, has been restored during the present dynasty.
It is the 33rd, west.
73. Ti Hei, styled Che [al. Tsze-che and Che-chih] (狄黑, 字晢
[al. 子晢 and 晢之]), a native of Wei, or of Lu. His tablet is the 26th,
74. Kwei [al. Pang] Sun, styled Tsze-lien [al. Tsze-yin] (□
(kui1 刲左邦右) [al. 邦] 巽, 字子歛 [al. 子飲]), a native of Lu. His tablet
is the 27th, west.
75. K'ung Chung, styled Tsze-mieh (孔忠, 字子蔑). This was
the son, it is said, of Confucius's elder brother, the cripple Mang-
p'i. His tablet is next to that of No. 73. His sacrificial title is 'The
ancient Worthy, the philosopher Mieh.'
76. Kung-hsi Yu-zu [al. Yu], styled Tsze-shang (公西輿如 [al.
輿], 字子上), a native of Lu. His place is the 26th, west.
77. Kung-hsi Tien, styled Tsze-shang (公西蒧 [or 點], 字子上
[al. 子尚]), a native of Lu. His tablet is the 28th, east.
78. Ch'in Chang [al. Lao], styled Tsze-k'ai (琴張 [al. 牢], 字子
開), a native of Wei. His tablet is the 29th, west.
79. Ch'an K'ang, styled Tsze-k'ang [al. Tsze-ch'in] (陳亢, 字子
亢 [al. 子禽]), a native of Ch'an. See notes on Ana. I. x.
80. Hsien Tan [al. Tan-fu and Fang], styled Tsze-hsiang (縣亶
[al. 亶父 and 豐], 字子象), a native of Lu. Some suppose that this is
the same as No. 53. The advisers of the present dynasty in such
matters, however, have considered them to be different, and in
1724, a tablet was assigned to Hsien Tan, the 34th, west.
The three preceding names are given in the 'Narratives of
The research of scholars has added about twenty others.
81. Lin Fang, styled Tsze-ch'iu (林放, 字子邱), a native of Lu.
The only thing known of him is from the Ana. III. iv. His tablet
was displaced under the Ming, but has been restored by the
present dynasty. It is the first, west.
82. Chu Yuan, styled Po-yu (蘧瑗, 字伯玉), an officer of Wei,
and, as appears from the Analects and Mencius, an intimate
friend of Confucius. Still his tablet has shared the same changes
as that of Lin Fang. It is now the first, east.
83 and 84. Shan Ch'ang (申棖) and Shan T'ang (申堂). See No.
85. Mu P'i (牧皮), mentioned by Mencius, VII. Pt. II. xxxvii. 4.
His entrance into the temple has been under the present dynasty.
His tablet is the 34th, east.
86. Tso Ch'iu-ming or Tso-ch'iu Ming (左丘明) has the 32nd
place, east. His title was fixed in A.D. 1530 to be 'The Ancient
Scholar,' but in 1642 it was raised to that of 'Ancient Worthy.' To
him we owe the most distinguished of the annotated editions of
the Ch'un Ch'iu. But whether he really was a disciple of Confucius,
and in personal communication with him, is much debated.
The above are the only names and surnames of those of the
disciples who now share in the sacrifices to the sage. Those who
wish to exhaust the subject, mention in addition, on the authority
of Tso Ch'iu-ming, Chung-sun Ho-chi (仲孫何忌), a son of Mang Hsi
(see p. 63), and Chung-sun Shwo (仲孫說), also a son of Mang Hsi,
supposed by many to be the same with No. 17; Zu Pei, (孺悲),
mentioned in the Analects, XVII. xx, and in the Li Chi, XVIII. Sect.
II. ii. 22; Kung-wang Chih-ch'iu (公罔之裘) and Hsu Tien (序點),
mentioned in the Li Chi, XLIII. 7; Pin-mau Chia (賓牟賈), mentioned
in the Li Chi, XVII. iii. 16; K'ung Hsuan (孔琁) and Hai Shu-lan (惠叔
蘭), on the authority of the 'Narratives of the School;' Ch'ang Chi
(常季), mentioned by Chwang-tsze; Chu Yu (鞫語), mentioned by
Yen-tsze (晏子); Lien Yu (廉瑀) and Lu Chun (魯峻), on the authority
of 文翁石室; and finally Tsze-fu Ho (子服何), the Tsze-fu Ching-po
(子服景伯) of the Analects, XIV. xxxviii.
LIST OF THE PRINCIPAL WORKS WHICH HAVE BEEN CONSULTED IN
THE PREPARATION OF THIS VOLUME.
CHINESE WORKS, WITH BRIEF NOTICES.
十三經註疏, 'The Thirteen Ching, with Commentary and
Explanations.' This is the great repertory of ancient lore upon the
Classics. On the Analects, it contains the 'Collection of
Explanations of the Lun Yu,' by Ho Yen and others (see p. 19), and
'The Correct Meaning,' or Paraphrase of Hsing Ping (see p. 20). On
the Great Learning and the Doctrine of the Mean, it contains the
comments and glosses of Chang Hsuan, and of K'ung Ying-ta (孔穎
達) of the T'ang dynasty.
新刻批點四書讀本, 'A new edition of the Four Books,
Punctuated and Annotated, for Reading.' This work was published
in the seventh year of Tao-kwang (1827) by a Kao Lin (高琳). It is
the finest edition of the Four Books which I have seen, in point of
typographical execution. It is indeed a volume for reading. It
contains the ordinary 'Collected Comments' of Chu Hsi on the
Analects, and his 'Chapters and Sentences' of the Great Learning
and Doctrine of the Mean. The editor's own notes are at the top
and bottom of the page, in rubric.
四書朱子本義匯參, 'The Proper Meaning of the Four Books as
determined by Chu Hsi, Compared with, and Illustrated from,
other Commentators.' This is a most voluminous work, published
in the tenth year of Ch'ien-lung, A.D. 1745, by Wang Pu-ch'ing (王
步青), a member of the Han-lin College. On the Great Learning and
the Doctrine of the Mean, the 'Queries' (或問) addressed to Chu Hsi
and his replies are given in the same text as the standard
四書經註集證, 'The Four Books, Text and Commentary, with
Proofs and Illustrations.' The copy of this Work which I have was
edited by a Wang T'ing-chi (汪廷機), in the third
year of Chia-ch'ing, A.D. 1798. It may be called a commentary on
the commentary. The research in all matters of Geography,
History, Biography, Natural History, &c., is immense.
四書諸儒輯要, 'A Collection of the most important Comments
of Scholars on the Four Books.' By Li P'ei-lin (李沛霖); published in
the fifty-seventh K'ang-hsi year, A.D. 1718. This Work is about as
voluminous as the 匯參, but on a different plan. Every chapter is
preceded by a critical discussion of its general meaning, and the
logical connexion of its several paragraphs. This is followed by
the text, and Chu Hsi's standard commentary. We have then a
paraphrase, full and generally perspicuous. Next, there is a
selection of approved comments, from a great variety of authors;
and finally, the reader finds a number of critical remarks and
ingenious views, differing often from the common interpretation,
which are submitted for his examination.
四書翼註論文, 'A Supplemental Commentary, and Literary
Discussions, on the Four Books.' By Chang Chan-t'ao [al. T'i-an] (張
甄陶 [al. 惕菴]), a member of the Han-lin college, in the early part,
apparently, of the reign of Ch'ien-lung. The work is on a peculiar
plan. The reader is supposed to be acquainted with Chu Hsi's
commentary, which is not given; but the author generally supports
his views, and defends them against the criticisms of some of the
early scholars of this dynasty. His own exercitations are of the
nature of essays more than of commentary. It is a book for the
student who is somewhat advanced, rather than for the learner. I
have often perused it with interest and advantage.
四書遵註合講, 'The Four Books, according to the Commentary,
with Paraphrase.' Published in the eighth year of Yung Chang, A.D.
1730, by Wang Fu [al. K'eh-fu] (翁復 [al. 克夫]). Every page is
divided into two parts. Below, we have the text and Chu Hsi's
commentary. Above, we have an analysis of every chapter,
followed by a paraphrase of the several paragraphs. To the
paraphrase of each paragraph are subjoined critical notes,
digested from a great variety of scholars, but without the
mention of their names. A list of 116 is given who are thus laid
under contribution. In addition, there are maps and illustrative
figures at the commencement; and to each Book there are prefixed
biographical notices, explanations of peculiar allusions, &c.
新增四書補註附考備旨, 'The Four Books, with a
Complete Digest of Supplements to the Commentary, and
additional Suggestions. A new edition, with Additions.' By Tu
Ting-chi (杜定基). Published A.D. 1779. The original of this Work
was by Tang Lin (鄧林), a scholar of the Ming dynasty. It is perhaps
the best of all editions of the Four Books for a learner. Each page
is divided into three parts. Below, is the text divided into
sentences and members of sentences, which are followed by short
glosses. The text is followed by the usual commentary, and that
by a paraphrase, to which are subjoined the Supplements and
Suggestions. The middle division contains a critical analysis of
the chapters and paragraphs; and above, there are the necessary
biographical and other notes.
四書味根錄, 'The Four Books, with the Relish of the Radical
Meaning.' This is a new Work, published in 1852. It is the
production of Chin Ch'ang, styled Chi'u-t'an (金澂, 字秋潭), an
officer and scholar, who, returning, apparently to Canton
province, from the North in 1836, occupied his retirement with
reviewing his literary studies of former years, and employed his
sons to transcribe his notes. The writer is fully up in all the
commentaries on the Classics, and pays particular attention to
the labours of the scholars of the present dynasty. To the
Analects, for instance, there is prefixed Chiang Yung's History of
Confucius, with criticisms on it by the author himself. Each
chapter is preceded by a critical analysis. Then follows the text
with the standard commentary, carefully divided into sentences,
often with glosses, original and selected, between them. To the
commentary there succeeds a paraphrase, which is not copied by
the author from those of his predecessors. After the paraphrase
we have Explanations (解). The book is beautifully printed, and in
small type, so that it is really a multum in parvo, with
日講四書義解, 'A Paraphrase for Daily Lessons, Explaining the
Meaning of the Four Books.' This work was produced in 1677, by a
department of the members of the Han-lin college, in obedience to
an imperial rescript. The paraphrase is full, perspicuous, and
御製周易折中; 書經傳說彙纂; 詩經傳說彙纂; 禮記義疏; 春秋傳說彙纂.
These works form together a superb edition of the Five Ching,
published by imperial authority
in the K'ang-hsi and Yung-chang reigns. They contain the standard
views (傳); various opinions (說); critical decisions of the editors
(晏) ; prolegomena; plates or cuts; and other apparatus for the
毛西河先生全集, 'The Collected Writings of Mao Hsi-ho.' See
prolegomena, p. 20. The voluminousness of his Writings is
understated there. Of 經集, or Writings on the Classics, there are
236 sections, while his 文集, or other literary compositions,
amount to 257 sections. His treatises on the Great Learning and
the Doctrine of the Mean have been especially helpful to me. He is
a great opponent of Chu Hsi, and would be a much more effective
one, if he possessed the same graces of style as that 'prince of
四書拓餘說, 'A Collection of Supplemental Observations on
the Four Books.' The preface of the author, Ts'ao Chih-shang (曹之
升), is dated in 1795, the last year of the reign of Ch'ien-lung. The
work contains what we may call prolegomena on each of the Four
Books, and then excursus on the most difficult and disputed
passages. The tone is moderate, and the learning displayed
extensive and solid. The views of Chu Hsi are frequently well
defended from the assaults of Mao Hsi-ho. I have found the Work
鄉黨圖考, 'On the Tenth Book of the Analects, with Plates.'
This Work was published by the author, Chiang Yung (江永), in the
twenty-first Ch'ien-lung year, A.D. 1761, when he was seventy-
six years old. It is devoted to the illustration of the above portion
of the Analects, and is divided into ten sections, the first of
which consists of woodcuts and tables. The second contains the
Life of Confucius, of which I have largely availed myself in the
preceding chapter. The whole is a remarkable specimen of the
minute care with which Chinese scholars have illustrated the
四書釋地; 四書釋地續; 四書釋地又續; 四書釋地三續. We may call
these volumes-- 'The Topography of the Four Books; with three
Supplements.' The Author's name is Yen Zo-ch'u (閻若璩). The first
volume was published in 1698, and the second in 1700. I have not
been able to find the dates of publication of the other two, in
which there is more biographical and general matter than
topographical. The author apologizes for the inappropriateness of
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