1. Mencius said,
'Shun was born in Chû-fang, removed to Fû-hsiâ, and died in
Ming-t'iâo;-- a man near the wild tribes on the east.
2. 'King Wan was
born in Châu by mount Ch'î, and died in Pî-ying;-- a man near
the wild tribes on the west.
3. 'Those regions
were distant from one another more than a thousand lî, and the
age of the one sage was posterior to that of the other more than
a thousand years. But when they got their wish, and carried
their principles into practice throughout the Middle Kingdom, it
was like uniting the two halves of a seal.
4. 'When we
examine those sages, both the earlier and the later, their
principles are found to be the same.'
1. When Tsze-ch'an
was chief minister of the State of Chang, he would convey people
across the Chan and Wei in his own carriage.
2. Mencius said,
'It was kind, but showed that he did not understand the practice
3. 'When in the
eleventh month of the year the foot-bridges are completed, and
the carriage-bridges in the twelfth month, the people have not
the trouble of wading.
4. 'Let a governor
conduct his rule on principles of equal justice, and, when he
goes abroad, he may cause people to be removed out of his path.
But how can he convey everybody across the rivers?
5. 'It follows
that if a governor will try to please everybody, he will find
the days not sufficient for his work.'
1. Mencius said to
the king Hsüan of Ch'î, 'When the prince regards his ministers
as his hands and feet, his ministers regard their prince as
their belly and heart; when he regards them as his dogs and
horses, they regard him as another man; when he regards them as
the ground or as grass, they regard him as a robber and an
2. The king said,
'According to the rules of propriety, a minister wears mourning
when he has left the service of a prince. How must a prince
behave that his old ministers may thus go into mourning?'
replied,'The admonitions of a minister having been followed, and
his advice listened to, so that blessings have descended on the
people, if for some cause he leaves the country, the prince
sends an escort to conduct him beyond the boundaries. He also
anticipates with recommendatory intimations his arrival in the
country to which he is proceeding. When he has been gone three
years and does not return, only then at length does he take back
his fields and residence. This treatment is what is called a
"thrice-repeated display of consideration." When a prince acts
thus, mourning will be worn on leaving his service.
the remonstrances of a minister are not followed, and his advice
is not listened to, so that no blessings descend on the people.
When for any cause he leaves the country, the prince tries to
seize him and hold him a prisoner. He also pushes him to
extremity in the country to which he has gone, and on the very
day of his departure, takes back his fields and residence. This
treatment shows him to be what we call "a robber and an enemy."
What mourning can be worn for a robber and an enemy?'
'Acts of propriety which are not really proper, and acts of
righteousness which are not really righteous, the great man does
'Those who keep the Mean, train up those who do not, and those
who have abilities, train up those who have not, and hence men
rejoice in having fathers and elder brothers who are possessed
of virtue and talent. If they who keep the Mean spurn those who
do not, and they who have abilities spurn those who have not,
then the space between them-- those so gifted and the ungifted--
will not admit an inch.'
Mencius said, 'Men
must be decided on what they will NOT do, and then they are able
to act with vigour in what they ought to do.'
'What future misery have they and ought they to endure, who talk
of what is not good in others!'
great man does not think beforehand of his words that they may
be sincere, nor of his actions that they may be resolute;-- he
simply speaks and does what is right.'
Mencius said, 'The
superior man makes his advances in what he is learning with deep
earnestness and by the proper course, wishing to get hold of it
as in himself. Having got hold of it in himself, he abides in it
calmly and firmly. Abiding in it calmly and firmly, he reposes a
deep reliance on it. Reposing a deep reliance on it, he seizes
it on the left and right, meeting everywhere with it as a
fountain from which things flow. It is on this account that the
superior man wishes to get hold of what he is learning as in
1. The disciple
Hsü said, 'Chung-nî often praised water, saying, "0 water! 0
water!" What did he find in water to praise?'
replied, 'There is a spring of water; how it gushes out! It
rests not day nor night. It fills up every hole, and then
advances, flowing onto the four seas. Such is water having a
spring! It was this which he found in it to praise.
3. 'But suppose
that the water has no spring.-- In the seventh and eighth when
the rain falls abundantly, the channels in the fields are all
filled, but their being dried up again may be expected in a
short time. So a superior man is ashamed of a reputation beyond
1. Mencius said,
'That whereby man differs from the lower animals is but small.
The mass of people cast it away, while superior men preserve it.
2. 'Shun clearly
understood the multitude of things, and closely observed the
relations of humanity. He walked along the path of benevolence
and righteousness; he did not need to pursue benevolence and
1. Mencius said, 'Yü
hated the pleasant wine, and loved good words.
2. 'T'ang held
fast the Mean, and employed men of talents and virtue without
regard to where they came from.
3. 'King Wan
looked on the people as he would on a man who was wounded, and
he looked towards the right path as if he could not see it.
4. King Wû did not
slight the near, and did not forget the distant.
5. 'The duke of
Châu desired to unite in himself the virtues of those kings,
those founders of the three dynasties, that he might display in
his practice the four things which they did. If he saw any thing
in them not suited to his time, he looked up and thought about
it, from daytime into the night, and when he was fortunate
enough to master the difficulty, he sat waiting for the
2. 'The Shang of
Tsin, the Tâo-wû of Ch'û, and the Ch'un Ch'iû of Lû were books
of the same character.
3. 'The subject of
the Ch'un Ch'iû was the affairs of Hwan of Chî and Wan of Tsin,
and its style was the historical. Confucius said, "Its righteous
decisions I ventured to make."'
1. Mencius said,
'The influence of a sovereign sage terminates in the fifth
generation. The influence of a mere sage does the same.
2. 'Although I
could not be a disciple of Confucius himself, I have endeavoured
to cultivate my virtue by means of others who were.'