How Confucius differed from and was superior to all other sages.
1. Mencius said, 'Po-î would not allow his eyes to look on a bad sight, nor his ears to listen to a bad sound. He would not serve a prince whom he did not approve, nor command a people whom he did not esteem. In a time of good government he took office, and on the occurrence of confusion he retired. He could not bear to dwell either in a court from which a lawless government emanated, or among lawless people. He considered his being in the same place with a villager, as if he were to sit amid mud and coals with his court robes and court cap. In the time of Châu he dwelt on the shores of the North sea, waiting the purification of the kingdom. Therefore when men now hear the character of Po-î, the corrupt become pure, and the weak acquire determination.
2. 'Î Yin said, "Whom may I not serve? My serving him makes him my sovereign. What people may I not command? My commanding them makes them my people." In a time of good government he took office, and when confusion prevailed, he also took office. He said, "Heaven's plan in the production of mankind is this:-- that they who are first informed should instruct those who are later in being informed, and they who first apprehend principles should instruct those who are slower in doing so. I am the one of Heaven's people who has first apprehended;-- I will take these principles and instruct the people in them." He thought that among all the people of the kingdom, even the common men and women, if there were any who did not share in the enjoyment of such benefits as Yâo and Shun conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch;-- for he took upon himself the heavy charge of the kingdom.
3. 'Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was not ashamed to serve an impure prince, nor did he think it low to be an inferior officer. When advanced to employment, he did not conceal his virtue, but made it a point to carry out his principles. When dismissed and left without office, he did not murmur. When straitened by poverty, he did not grieve. When thrown into the company of village people, he was quite at ease and could not bear to leave them. He had a saying, "You are you, and I am I. Although you stand by my side with breast and arms bare, or with your body naked, how can you defile me?" Therefore when men now hear the character of Hûi of Liü-hsiâ, the mean become generous, and the niggardly become liberal.
4. 'When Confucius was leaving Ch'î, he strained off with his hand the water in which his rice was being rinsed, took the rice, and went away. When he left Lû, he said, "I will set out by-and-by:"-- it was right he should leave the country of his parents in this way. When it was proper to go away quickly, he did so; when it was proper to delay, he did so; when it was proper to keep in retirement, he did so; when it was proper to go into office, he did so:-- this was Confucius.'
5. Mencius said,'Po-î among the sages was the pure one; Î Yin was the one most inclined to take office; Hûi of Liû-hsiâ was the accommodating one; and Confucius was the timeous one.
6. 'In Confucius we have what is called a complete concert. A complete concert is when the large bell proclaims the commencement of the music, and the ringing stone proclaims its close. The metal sound commences the blended harmony of all the instruments, and the winding up with the stone terminates that blended harmony. The commencing that harmony is the work of wisdom. The terminating it is the work of sageness.
7. 'As a comparison for wisdom, we may liken it to skill, and as a comparison for sageness, we may liken it to strength;-- as in the case of shooting at a mark a hundred paces distant. That you reach it is owing to your strength, but that you hit the mark is not owing to your strength.'
The arrangement of dignities and emoluments according to the dynasty of Châu.
1. Pêi-kung Î asked Mencius, saying, 'What was the arrangement of dignities and emoluments determined by the House of Châu?'
2. Mencius replied, 'The particulars of that arrangement cannot be learned, for the princes, disliking them as injurious to themselves, have all made away with the records of them. Still I have learned the general outline of them.
3. 'The SON OF HEAVEN constituted one dignity; the KUNG one; the HÂU one; the PÂI one; and the TSZE and the NAN each one of equal rank:-- altogether making five degrees of rank. The RULER again constituted one dignity; the CHIEF MINISTER one; the GREAT OFFICERS one; the SCHOLARS OF THE FIRST CLASS one; THOSE OF THE MIDDLE CLASS one; and THOSE OF THE LOWEST CLASS one:-- altogether making six degrees of dignity.
4. 'To the Son of Heaven there was allotted a territory of a thousand lî square. A Kung and a Hâu had each a hundred lî square. A Pâi had seventy lî, and a Tsze and a Nan had each fifty lî. The assignments altogether were of four amounts. Where the territory did not amount to fiftylî, the chief could not have access himself to the Son of Heaven. His land was attached to some Hâu-ship, and was called a FÛ-YUNG.
5. 'The Chief ministers of the Son of Heaven received an amount of territory equal to that of a Hâu; a Great officer received as much as a Pâi; and a scholar of the first class as much as a Tsze or a Nan.
6. 'In a great State, where the territory was a hundred lî square, the ruler had ten times as much income as his Chief ministers; a Chief minister four times as much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the first class; a scholar of the first class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; the scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the government offices, had for their emolument as much as was equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields.
7. 'In a State of the next order, where the territory was seventy lî square, the ruler had ten times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a Chief minister three times as much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the first class; a scholar of the first class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; the scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the government offices, had for their emolument as much as was equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields.
8. 'In a small State, where the territory was fifty lî square, the ruler had ten times as much revenue as his Chief minister; a Chief minister had twice as much as a Great officer; a Great officer twice as much as a scholar of the highest class; a scholar of the highest class twice as much as one of the middle; a scholar of the middle class twice as much as one of the lowest; scholars of the lowest class, and such of the common people as were employed about the government offices, had the same emolument;-- as much, namely, as was equal to what they would have made by tilling the fields.
9. 'As to those who tilled the fields, each husbandman received a hundred mâu. When those mâu were manured, the best husbandmen of the highest class supported nine individuals, and those ranking next to them supported eight. The best husbandmen of the second class supported seven individuals, and those ranking next to them supported six; while husbandmen of the lowest class only supported five. The salaries of the common people who were employed about the government offices were regulated according to these differences.'