The Works of Mencius

Book 7, Part 2: Tsin Sin


Chapter I.

A strong condemnation of king Hûi of Liang, for sacrificing to his ambition his people and even his son.

1. Mencius said, 'The opposite indeed of benevolent was the king Hûi of Liang! The benevolent, beginning with what they care for, proceed to what they do not care for. Those who are the opposite of benevolent, beginning with what they do not care for, proceed to what they care for.'

2. 'Kung-sun Ch'âu said, 'What do you mean?' Mencius answered, 'The king Hûi of Liang, for the matter of territory, tore and destroyed his people, leading them to battle. Sustaining a great defeat, he would engage again, and afraid lest they should not be able to secure the victory, urged his son whom he loved till he sacrificed him with them. This is what I call-- "beginning with what they do not care for, and proceeding to what they care for."'

Chapter 2.

How all the fightings recorded in the Ch'un-ch'iû were unrighteous:-- a warning to the contending States of Mencius's time.

1. Mencius said, 'In the "Spring and Autumn" there are no righteous wars. Instances indeed there are of one war better than another.

2. '"Correction" is when the supreme authority punishes its subjects by force of arms. Hostile States do not correct one another.'

Chapter 3.

With what reservation Mencius read the Shû-ching.

1. Mencius said, 'It would be better to be without the Book of History than to give entire credit to it.

2. 'In the "Completion of the War," I select two or three passages only, which I believe.

3. '"The benevolent man has no enemy under heaven. When the prince the most benevolent was engaged against him who was the most the opposite, how could the blood of the people have flowed till it floated the pestles of the mortars?"'

Chapter 4.

Counsel to princes not to allow themselves to be deceived by men who would advise them to war.

1. Mencius said, 'There are men who say-- "I am skilful at marshalling troops, I am skilful at conducting a battle!"-- They are great criminals.

2. 'If the ruler of a State love benevolence, he will have no enemy in the kingdom.

3. When T'ang was executing his work of correction in the south, the rude tribes on the north murmured. When he was executing it in the east, the rude tribes on the west murmured. Their cry was-- "Why does he make us last?"

4. 'When king Wû punished Yin, he had only three hundred chariots of war, and three thousand life-guards.

5. 'The king said, "Do not fear. Let me give you repose. I am no enemy to the people!" On this, they bowed their heads to the earth, like the horns of animals falling off.

6. '"Royal correction" is but another word for rectifying. Each State wishing itself to be corrected, what need is there for fighting?'

Chapter 5.

Real attainment must be made by the learner for himself.

Mencius said, 'A carpenter or a carriage-maker may give a man the circle and square, but cannot make him skilful in the use of them.'

Chapter 6.

The equinamity of Shun in poverty and as sovereign.

Mencius said, 'Shun's manner of eating his parched grain and herbs was as if he were to be doing so all his life. When he became sovereign, and had the embroidered robes to wear, the lute to play, and the two daughters of Yâo to wait on him, he was as if those things belonged to him as a matter of course.'

Chapter 7.

How the thought of its consequences should make men careful of their conduct.

Mencius said, 'From this time forth I know the heavy consequences of killing a man's near relations. When a man kills another's father, that other will kill his father; when a man kills another's elder brother, that other will kill his elder brother. So he does not himself indeed do the act, but there is only an interval between him and it.'

Chapter 8.

The benevolence and selfishness of ancient and modern rule contrasted.

1. Mencius said, 'Anciently, the establishment of the frontier-gates was to guard against violence.

2. 'Nowadays, it is to exercise violence.'

Chapter 9.

A man's influence depends on his personal example and conduct.

Mencius said, 'If a man himself do not walk in the right path, it will not be walked in even by his wife and children. If he order men according to what is not the right way, he will not be able to get the obedience of even his wife and children.'

Chapter 10.

Corrupt times are provided against by established virtue.

Mencius said, 'A bad year cannot prove the cause of death to him whose stores of gain are large; an age of corruption cannot confound him whose equipment of virtue is complete.'

Chapter 11.

A man's true disposition will often appear in small matters, when a love of fame may have carried him over great difficulties.

Mencius said, 'A man who loves fame may be able to decline a State of a thousand chariots; but if he be not really the man to do such a thing, it will appear in his countenance, in the matter of a dish of rice or a platter of soup.'

Chapter 12.

Three things important in the administration of a State.

1. Mencius said, 'If men of virtue and ability be not confided in, a State will become empty and void.

2. 'Without the rules of propriety and distinctions of right, the high and the low will be thrown into confusion.

3. 'Without the great principles of government and their various business, there will not be wealth sufficient for the expenditure.'