The Works of Mencius

Book 7, Part 2 (cont.): Tsin Sin


Chapter 13.

Only by benevolence can the throne be got.

Mencius said, 'There are instances of individuals without benevolence, who have got possession of a single State, but there has been no instance of the throne's being got by one without benevolence.'

Chapter 14.

The different elements of a nation-- the People, tutelary Spirits, and Sovereign, in respect of their importance.

1. Mencius said, 'The people are the most important element in a nation; the spirits of the land and grain are the next; the sovereign is the lightest.

2. 'Therefore to gain the peasantry is the way to become sovereign; to gain the sovereign is the way to become a prince of a State; to gain the prince of a State is the way to become a great officer.

3. 'When a prince endangers the altars of the spirits of the land and grain, he is changed, and another appointed in his place.

4. 'When the sacrificial victims have been perfect, the millet in its vessels all pure, and the sacrifices offered at their proper seasons, if yet there ensue drought, or the waters overflow, the spirits of the land and grain are changed, and others appointed in their place.'

Chapter 15.

That Po-î and Hûi of Liû-Hsiâ were sages proved by the permanence of their influence.

Mencius said, 'A sage is the teacher of a hundred generations:-- this is true of Po-î and Hûi of Liû-Hsiâ. Therefore when men now bear the character of Po-î, the corrupt become pure, and the weak acquire determination. When they hear the character of Hûi of Liû-Hsiâ, the mean become generous, and the niggardly become liberal. Those two made themselves distinguished a hundred generations ago, and after a hundred generations, those who hear of them, are all aroused in this manner. Could such effects be produced by them, if they had not been sages? And how much more did they affect those who were in contiguity with them, and felt their inspiring influence!'

Chapter 16.

The relation of benevolence to man.

Mencius said, 'Benevolence is the distinguishing characteristic of man. As embodied in man's conduct, it is called the path of duty.'

Chapter 17.

How Confucius's leaving Lû and Ch'î was different.

Mencius said, 'When Confucius was leaving Lû, he said, "I will set out by-and-by;"-- this was the way in which to leave the State of his parents. When he 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;-- this was the way in which to leave a strange State.'

Chapter 18.

The reason of Confucius's being in straits between Ch'an and Ts'âi.

Mencius said, 'The reason why the superior man was reduced to straits between Ch'an and Ts'âi was because neither the princes of the time nor their ministers sympathized or communicated with him.'

Chapter 19.

Mencius comforts Mo Ch'î under calumny by the reflection that it was the ordinary lot of distinguished men.

1. Mo Ch'î said, 'Greatly am I from anything to depend upon from the mouths of men.'

2. Mencius observed, 'There is no harm in that. Scholars are more exposed than others to suffer from the mouths of men.

3. 'It is said, in the Book of Poetry,

"My heart is disquieted and grieved,
I am hated by the crowd of mean creatures."

This might have been said by Confucius. And again,

"Though he did not remove their wrath,
He did not let fall his own fame."

This might be said of king Wan.'

Chapter 20.

How the ancients led on men by their example, while the reulers of Mencius's time tried to urge men contrary to their example.

Mencius said, 'Anciently, men of virtue and talents by means of their own enlightenment made others enlightened. Nowadays, it is tried, while they are themselves in darkness, and by means of that darkness, to make others enlightened.'

Chapter 21.

That the cultivation of of the mind may not be intermitted.

Mencius said to the disciple Kâo, 'There are the footpaths along the hills;-- if suddenly they be used, they become roads; and if, as suddenly they are not used, the wild grass fills them up. Now, the wild grass fills up your mind.'

Chapter 22.

An absurd remark of the disciple Kâo about the music of Yü and king Wan.

1. The disciple Kâo said, 'The music of Yü was better than that of king Wan.'

2. Mencius observed, 'On what ground do you say so?' and the other replied, 'Because at the pivot the knob of Yü's bells is nearly worn through.'

3. Mencius said, 'How can that be a sufficient proof? Are the ruts at the gate of a city made by a single two-horsed chariot?'

Chapter 23.

How Mencius knew where to stop and maintain his own dignity in his intercourse with the princes.

1. When Ch'î was suffering from famine, Ch'an Tsin said to Mencius, 'The people are all thinking that you, Master, will again ask that the granary of T'ang be opened for them. I apprehend you will not do so a second time.'

2. Mencius said, 'To do it would be to act like Fang Fû. There was a man of that name in Tsin, famous for his skill in seizing tigers. Afterwards he became a scholar of reputation, and going once out to the wild country, he found the people all in pursuit of a tiger. The tiger took refuge in a corner of a hill, where no one dared to attack him, but when they saw Fang Fû, they ran and met him. Fang Fû immediately bared his arms, and descended from the carriage. The multitude were pleased with him, but those who were scholars laughed at him.'