1. Mencius said,
'Opportunities of time vouchsafed by Heaven are not equal to
advantages of situation afforded by the Earth, and advantages of
situation afforded by the Earth are not equal to the union
arising from the accord of Men.
2. 'There is a
city, with an inner wall of three lî in circumference, and an
outer wall of seven.-- The enemy surround and attack it, but
they are not able to take it. Now, to surround and attack it,
there must have been vouchsafed to them by Heaven the
opportunity of time, and in such case their not taking it is
because opportunities of time vouchsafed by Heaven are not equal
to advantages of situation afforded by the Earth.
3. 'There is a
city, whose walls are distinguished for their height, and whose
moats are distinguished for their depth, where the arms of its
defenders, offensive and defensive, are distinguished for their
strength and sharpness, and the stores of rice and other grain
are very large. Yet it is obliged to be given up and abandoned.
This is because advantages of situation afforded by the Earth
are not equal to the union arising from the accord of Men.
4. 'In accordance
with these principles it is said, "A people is bounded in, not
by the limits of dykes and borders; a State is secured, not by
the strengths of mountains and rivers; the kingdom is overawed,
not by the sharpness and strength of arms." He who finds the
proper course has many to assist him. He who loses the proper
course has few to assist him. When this,-- the being assisted by
few,-- reaches its extreme point, his own relations revolt from
the prince. When the being assisted by many reaches its highest
point, the whole kingdom becomes obedient to the prince.
5. 'When one to
whom the whole kingdom is prepared to be obedient, attacks those
from whom their own relations revolt, what must be the result?
Therefore, the true ruler will prefer not to fight; but if he do
fight, he must overcome.'
1. As Mencius was
about to go to court to see the king, the king sent a person to
him with this message,-- 'I was wishing to come and see you. But
I have got a cold, and may not expose myself to the wind. In the
morning I will hold my court. I do not know whether you will
give me the opportunity of seeing you then.' Mencius replied,
'Unfortunately, I am unwell, and not able to go to the court.'
2. Next day, he
went out to pay a visit of condolence to some one of the
Tung-kwoh family, when Kung-sun Ch'âu said to him, 'Yesterday,
you declined going to the court on the ground of being unwell,
and to-day you are going to pay a visit of condolence. May this
not be regarded as improper?' 'Yesterday,' said Mencius, 'I was
unwell; to-day, I am better:-- why should I not pay this visit?'
3. In the mean
time, the king sent a messenger to inquire about his sickness,
and also a physician. Mang Chung replied to them, 'Yesterday,
when the king's order came, he was feeling a little unwell, and
could not go to the court. To-day he was a little better, and
hastened to go to court. I do not know whether he can have
reached it by this time or not.' Having said this, he sent
several men to look for Mencius on the way, and say to him, 'I
beg that, before you return home, you will go to the court.'
4. On this,
Mencius felt himself compelled to go to Ching Ch'âu's, and there
stop the night. Mr. Ching said to him, 'In the family, there is
the relation of father and son; abroad, there is the relation of
prince and minister. These are the two great relations among
men. Between father and son the ruling principle is kindness.
Between prince and minister the ruling principle is respect. I
have seen the respect of the king to you, Sir, but I have not
seen in what way you show respect to him.' Mencius replied, 'Oh!
what words are these? Among the people of Ch'î there is no one
who speaks to the king about benevolence and righteousness. Are
they thus silent because they do not think that benevolence and
righteousness are admirable? No, but in their hearts they say,
"This man is not fit to be spoken with about benevolence and
righteousness." Thus they manifest a disrespect than which there
can be none greater. I do not dare to set forth before the king
any but the ways of Yâo and Shun. There is therefore no man of
Ch'î who respects the king so much as I do.'
5. Mr. Ching said,
'Not so. That was not what I meant. In the Book of Rites it is
said, "When a father calls, the answer must be without a
moment's hesitation. When the prince's order calls, the carriage
must not be waited for." You were certainly going to the court,
but when you heard the king's order, then you did not carry your
purpose out. This does seem as if it were not in accordance with
that rule of propriety.'
answered him, 'How can you give that meaning to my conduct? The
philosopher Tsang said, "The wealth of Tsin and Ch'û cannot be
equalled. Let their rulers have their wealth:-- I have my
benevolence. Let them have their nobility:-- I have my
righteousness. Wherein should I be dissatisfied as inferior to
them?" Now shall we say that these sentiments are not right?
Seeing that the philosopher Tsang spoke them, there is in them,
I apprehend, a real principle.-- In the kingdom there are three
things universally acknowledged to be honourable. Nobility is
one of them; age is one of them; virtue is one of them. In
courts, nobility holds the first place of the three; in
villages, age holds the first place; and for helping one's
generation and presiding over the people, the other two are not
equal to virtue. How can the possession of only one of these be
presumed on to despise one who possesses the other two?
7. 'Therefore a
prince who is to accomplish great deeds will certainly have
ministers whom he does not call to go to him. When he wishes to
consult with them, he goes to them. The prince who does not
honour the virtuous, and delight in their ways of doing, to this
extent, is not worth having to do with.
there was the behaviour of T'ang to Î Yin:-- he first learned of
him, and then employed him as his minister; and so without
difficulty he became sovereign. There was the behaviour of the
duke Hwan to Kwan Chung:-- he first learned of him, and then
employed him as his minister; and so without difficulty he
became chief of all the princes.
9. 'Now throughout
the kingdom, the territories of the princes are of equal extent,
and in their achievements they are on a level. Not one of them
is able to exceed the others. This is from no other reason, but
that they love to make ministers of those whom they teach, and
do not love to make ministers of those by whom they might be
10. 'So did T'ang
behave to Î Yin, and the duke Hwan to Kwan Chung, that they
would not venture to call them to go to them. If Kwan Chung
might not be called to him by his prince, how much less may he
be called, who would not play the part of Kwan Chung!'
1. Ch'an Tsin
asked Mencius, saying, 'Formerly, when you were in Ch'î, the
king sent you a present Of 2,400 taels of fine silver, and you
refused to accept it. When you were in Sung, 1,680 taels were
sent to you, which you accepted; and when you were in Hsieh,
1,200 taels were sent, which you likewise accepted. If your
declining to accept the gift in the first case was right, your
accepting it in the latter cases was wrong. If your accepting it
in the latter cases was right, your declining to do so in the
first case was wrong. You must accept, Master, one of these
2. Mencius said,
'I did right in all the cases.
3. 'When I was in
Sung, I was about to take a long journey. Travellers must be
provided with what is necessary for their expenses. The prince's
message was, 'A present against travelling-expenses." Why should
I have declined the gift?
4. 'When I was in
Hsieh, I was apprehensive for my safety, and taking measures for
my protection. The message was, "I have heard that you are
taking measures to protect yourself, and send this to help you
in procuring arms." Why should I have declined the gift?
5. 'But when I was
in Ch'i, I had no occasion for money. To send a man a gift when
he has no occasion for it, is to bribe him. How is it possible
that a superior man should be taken with a bribe?'
1. Mencius having
gone to P'ing-lû, addressed the governor of it, saying, 'If one
of your spearmen should lose his place in the ranks three times
in one day, would you, Sir, put him to death or not?' 'I would
not wait for three times to do so,' was the reply.
2. Mencius said,
'Well then, you, Sir, have likewise lost your place in the ranks
many times. In bad calamitous years, and years of famine, the
old and feeble of your people, who have been found lying in the
ditches and water-channels, and the able-bodied, who have been
scattered about to the four quarters, have amounted to several
thousand.' The governor replied, 'That is a state of things in
which it does not belong to me Chü-hsin to act.'
3. 'Here,' said
Mencius, 'is a man who receives charge of the cattle and sheep
of another, and undertakes to feed them for him;-- of course he
must search for pasture-ground and grass for them. If, after
searching for those, he cannot find them, will he return his
charge to the owner? or will he stand by and see them die?'
'Herein,' said the officer, 'I am guilty.'
4. Another day,
Mencius had an audience of the king, and said to him, 'Of the
governors of your Majesty's cities I am acquainted with five,
but the only one of them who knows his faults is K'ung Chü-hsin.'
He then repeated the conversation to the king, who said, 'In
this matter, I am the guilty one.'
1. Mencius said to
Ch'î Wâ, 'There seemed to be reason in your declining the
governorship of Ling-ch'iû, and requesting to be appointed chief
criminal judge, because the latter office would afford you the
opportunity of speaking your views. Now several months have
elapsed, and have you yet found nothing of which you might
2. On this, Ch'î
Wâ remonstrated on some matter with the king, and, his counsel
not being taken, resigned his office and went away.
3. The people of
Ch'î said, 'In the course which he marked out for Ch'î Wâ he did
well, but we do not know as to the course which he pursues for
4. His disciple
Kung-tû told him these remarks.
5. Mencius said,
'I have heard that he who is in charge of an office, when he is
prevented from fulfilling its duties, ought to take his
departure, and that he on whom is the responsibility of giving
his opinion, when he finds his words unattended to, ought to do
the same. But I am in charge of no office; on me devolves no
duty of speaking out my opinion:-- may not I therefore act
freely and without any constraint, either in going forward or in
2. Kung-sun Ch'âu.
said to Mencius, 'The position of a high dignitary of Ch'î is
not a small one; the road from Ch'î to T'ang is not short. How
was it that during all the way there and back, you never spoke
to Hwan about the matters of your mission?' Mencius replied,
'There were the proper officers who attended to them. What
occasion had I to speak to him about them?'