The Works of Mencius

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


Chapter 24.

How the superior man subjects the gratification of his natural appetites to the will of Heaven, and pursues the doing of good without thinking that the amount which he can do may be limited by that will.

1. Mencius said, 'For the mouth to desire sweet tastes, the eye to desire beautiful colours, the ear to desire pleasant sounds, the nose to desire fragrant odours, and the four limbs to desire ease and rest;-- these things are natural. But there is the appointment of Heaven in connexion with them, and the superior man does not say of his pursuit of them, "It is my nature."

2. 'The exercise of love between father and son, the observance of righteousness between sovereign and minister, the rules of ceremony between guest and host, the display of knowledge in recognising the talented, and the fulfilling the heavenly course by the sage;-- these are the appointment of Heaven. But there is an adaptation of our nature for them. The superior man does not say, in reference to them, "It is the appointment of Heaven."'

Chapter 25.

The character of the disciple Yo-chang. Different degrees of attainment in character, which are to be aimed at.

1. Hâo-shang Pû-hâi asked, saying, 'What sort of man is Yo-chang?' Mencius replied, 'He is a good man, a real man.'

2. 'What do you mean by "A good man," "A real man?"'

3. The reply was, 'A man who commands our liking is what is called a good man.

4. 'He whose goodness is part of himself is what is called real man.

5. 'He whose goodness has been filled up is what is called beautiful man.

6. He whose completed goodness is brightly displayed is what is called a great man.

7. 'When this great man exercises a transforming influence, he is what is called a sage.

8. 'When the sage is beyond our knowledge, he is what is called a spirit-man.

9. 'Yo-chang is between the two first characters, and below the four last.'

Chapter 26.

Receovered heretics should be received without casting their old errors in their teeth.

1. Mencius said, 'Those who are fleeing from the errors of Mo naturally turn to Yang, and those who are fleeing from the errors of Yang naturally turn to orthodoxy. When they so turn, they should at once and simply be received.

2. 'Those who nowadays dispute with the followers of Yang and Mo do so as if they were pursuing a stray pig, the leg of which, after they have got it to enter the pen, they proceed to tie.'

Chapter 27.

The just exactions of the government are to be made discriminatingly and considerately.

Mencius said, 'There are the exactions of hempen-cloth and silk, of grain, and of personal service. The prince requires but one of these at once, deferring the other two. If he require two of them at once, then the people die of hunger. If he require the three at once, then fathers and sons are separated.'

Chapter 28.

The precious things of a prince, and the danger of overlooking them for other things.

Mencius said, 'The precious things of a prince are three;-- the territory, the people, the government and its business. If one value as most precious pearls and jade, calamity is sure to befall him.'

Chapter 29.

How Mencius predicted beforehand the death of P'an-ch'ang Kwo.

Pan-ch'ang Kwo having obtained an official situation in Ch'î, Mencius said, 'He is a dead man, that Pan-ch'ang Kwo!' Pan-chang Kwo being put to death, the disciples asked, saying, 'How did you know, Master, that he would meet with death?' Mencius replied, 'He was a man, who had a little ability, but had not learned the great doctrines of the superior man. He was just qualified to bring death upon himself, but for nothing more.'

Chapter 30.

The generous spirit of Mencius in dispensing his instructions.

1. When Mencius went to T'ang, he was lodged in the Upper palace. A sandal in the process of making had been placed there in a window, and when the keeper of the place came to look for it, he could not find it.

2. On this, some one asked Mencius, saying, 'Is it thus that your followers pilfer?' Mencius replied, 'Do you think that they came here to pilfer the sandal?' The man said, 'I apprehend not. But you, Master, having arranged to give lessons, do not go back to inquire into the past, and you do not reject those who come to you. If they come with the mind to learn, you receive them without any more ado.'

Chapter 31.

A man has only to give development to the principles of good which are in him, and show themselves in some things, to be entirely good and correct.

1. Mencius said, 'All men have some things which they cannot bear;-- extend that feeling to what they can bear, and benevolence will be the result. All men have some things which they will not do;-- extend that feeling to the things which they do, and righteousness will be the result.

2. 'If a man can give full development to the feeling which makes him shrink from injuring others, his benevolence will be more than can be called into practice. If he can give full development to the feeling which refuses to break through, or jump over, a wall, his righteousness will be more than can be called into practice.

3. 'If he can give full development to the real feeling of dislike with which he receives the salutation, "Thou," "Thou," he will act righteously in all places and circumstances.

4. 'When a scholar speaks what he ought not to speak, by guile of speech seeking to gain some end; and when he does not speak what he ought to speak, by guile of silence seeking to gain some end;-- both these cases are of a piece with breaking through a neighbour's wall.'

Chapter 32.

Against aiming at what is remote, and neglecting what is near. What are good words and good principles.

1. Mencius said, 'Words which are simple, while their meaning is far-reaching, are good words. Principles which, as held, are compendious, while their application is extensive, are good principles. The words of the superior man do not go below the girdle, but great principles are contained in them.

2. 'The principle which the superior man holds is that of personal cultivation, but the kingdom is thereby tranquillized.

3. 'The disease of men is this:-- that they neglect their own fields, and go to weed the fields of others, and that what they require from others is great, while what they lay upon themselves is light.'

Chapter 33.

The perfect virtue of the highest sages, and how others follow after it.

1. Mencius said, 'Yâo and Shun were what they were by nature; T'ang and Wû were so by returning to natural virtue.

2. 'When all the movements, in the countenance and every turn of the body, are exactly what is proper, that shows the extreme degree of the complete virtue. Weeping for the dead should be from real sorrow, and not because of the living. The regular path of virtue is to be pursued without any bend, and from no view to emolument. The words should all be necessarily sincere, not with any desire to do what is right.

3. 'The superior man performs the law of right, and thereby waits simply for what has been appointed.'