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not exclude myself from the society of men, and consort with beasts. Bad as the times are, I shall do all I can to recall men to virtue ; for in virtue are all things, and, if mankind would but once embrace it, and submit themselves to its discipline and laws, they would not want me or any body else to instruct them. It is the duty of a good man, first to perfect himself, and then to perfect others. Human nature,” he added, “ came to us from heaven pure and perfect; but in process of time, ignorance, the passions, and evil examples corrupted it. All consists in restoring it to its primitive beauty ; and to be perfect, we must reascend to that point from which we have fallen. Obey heaven, and follow the orders of him who governs it. Love your neighbour as yourself. Let your reason, and not your senses, be the rule of your conduct ; for reason will teach you to think wisely, to speak prudently, and to behave yourself worthily upon all occasions."
Confucius in the mean time, though he had withdrawn himself from kings and palaces, did not cease to travel about, and do what good he could among the people, and among mankind in general.
He is said to have had at least 3000 disciples ; 72 of whom were distinguished above the rest by their superior attainments, and 10 above them all by their comprehensive view and perfect kriowledge of his whole philosophy and doctrines. He divided his disciples into four classes, who applied themselves to cultivate and propagate his philosophy, each according to his particular distinction. The first class were to improve their minds by meditation, and to purify their hearts by virtue. The second were to cultivate the arts of reasoning justly, and of composing elegant and persuasive discourses. The study of the third class was, to learn the rules of good government, to give an idea of it to the mandarins, and to enable them to fill the public offices with honour. The last class was concerned in delivering the principles of morality in a concise and polished style to the people. These 10 chosen disciples were, as it were, the flower of Confucius' school.
He sent 600 of his disciples into different parts of the em, pire, to reform the manners of the people ; and, not satisfied with benefiting his own country only, he made frequent resolutions to pass the seas, and propagate his doctrine to the farthest parts of the world. Hardly any thing can be added to the purity of his morality. He seems rather to speak like a doctor of a revealed law, than a man who had no light but what the law of nature afforded him: and, as an evidence of his sincerity, he taught as forcibly hy example as by precept. In short, his gravity and sobriety, his rigorous abstinence, his contempt of riches, and what are commonly called the goods of this life, his continual attention and watchfulness over his actions, and, above all, that modesty and humility which are not to be found among the Grecian sages. He is said to have lived secretly three years, and to have spent the latter part of his life in sorrow. A few days before his last illness, he told his disciples with tears in his eyes, that he was overcome with griet at the sight of the disorders which prevailed in the empire : " The mountain,” said he, “ is fallen, the bigh machine is demolished, and the sages are all fled.” His meaning was, that the edifice of perfection, which he had endeavoured to raise was entirely overthrown. He began to languish from that time ; and the 7th day before bis death, he said, “ The kings reject my maxims; and since I am no longer useful on the earth, I may as well leave it.” After these words he fell into a lethargy, and at the end of seven days expired in the arms of his disciples, in his 73d year. Upon the first hearing of his death, Ngai cong, who then reigned in the kingdom of Lou, could not refrain from tears : “ The Tien is not satisfied with me,” cried he, “ since it has taken away my Confucius.” Confucius was lamented by the whole empire, which from that very moment began to honour him as a saint; and established such a veneration for his memory, as will probably last for ever in those parts of the world. Kings have built palaces for him in all the provinces, whither the learned go at certain times to pay him homage. There are to be seen upon several edifices, raised in honour of him, inscriptions in large characters, “ To the great master." “ To the head doctor.” “To the saint.” “To the teacher of emperors and kings." They built his sepulchre near the city Kio fou, on the banks of the river Su, where he was wont to assemble his disciples ; and they have since inclosed it with walls, which look like a small city to this day.
Confucius did not trust altogether to the memory of his disciples for the preservation of his philosophy ; but composed several books : and though these books were greatly admired for the doctrines they contained, and the fine principles of morality they taught, yet such was the unparalleled modesty of this philosopher, that he never assumed the least honour about them. He ingenuously confessed, that the doctrine was not his own, but was much more ancient; and that he had done nothing more than collect it from those wise translators Yao and Chun, who lived 1500 years before him. These books are held in the highest esteem and veneration, because they contain all that he had collected relating to the ancient laws, which are looked upon as the most perfect rule of government. The number of these classical and canonical books, for so it seems they are called, is four. The first is entitled, “ Ta Hio, the Grand Science, or the School of the Adults." It is this that beginners ought to study first, because it is, as it were, the porch of the temple of wisdom and virtue. It treats of the care we ought to take in governing ourselves, that we may be able afterwards to govern others : and of perseverance in the chief good, which, according to him, is nothing but a conformity of our actions to right reason. The author calls this book “ Ta Hio, or the Grand Science,” because it was chiefly designed for princes and grandees, who ought to govern their people wisely. “ The whole science of princes,” says Confucius, “ consists in cultivating and perfecting the reasonable nature they have received from Tien, and in restoring that light and primitive clearness of judgment, which has been weakened and obscured by various passions, that it may be afterwards in a capacity to labour for the perfection of others. " To succeed then," says he, we should begin within ourselves : and to this end it is necessary to have an insight into the nature of things, and to gain the knowledge of good and evil; to determine the will towards a love of this good, and hatred of this evil; to preserve integrity of heart, and to regulate the manners according to reason. When a man has thus renewed himself, there will be then less difficulty in renewing others : by this means concord and union reign in families, kingdoms are governed according to the laws, and the whole empire enjoys peace and tranquillity.”
The second classical or canonical book is called " Tchong Yong, or the Immutable Mean ;” and treats of the mean which ought to be observed in all things. Tchong signifies mean, and by Yong is understood that which is constant, eternal, immutable. He undertakes to prove, that every wise man, and chietly those who have the care of governing the world, should follow this mean, which is the essence of virtue. He enters upon his subject by defining human nature, and its passions ; then he brings several examples of virtue and piety, as fortitude, prudence, and filial duty, which are proposed as so many patterns to be imitated in keeping this mean. In the next place he shews, that this njean, and the practice of it, is the right and true path which a wise man should pursue, in order to attain the highest pitch of virtue. The third book " Yun Lu, or the Book of Maxims," is a collection of sententious and moral discourses, and is divided into 20 articles, containing only the questions, answers, and sayings of Con
fucius and his disciples, on virtue, good works, and the art of governing well; the tenth article excepted, in which the disciples of Confucius particularly describe the outward deportment of their master. There are some maxims and moral sentences in this collection, equal to those of the seven wise men of Greece, which have always been so much admired. The fourth book gives an idea of a perfect government ; it is called ". Meng Tsee or the Book of Montius ;" because, though numbered among the classical and canonical books, it is more properly the work of his disciple Montius. To these four books they add two others, which have almost an equal reputation ; the first is called “ Hiao King," that is, “ of Filial Reverence," and contains the answers which Confucius made to his disciple Tseng, concerning the respect which is due to parents. The second is called “ Sias Hio," that is, “the Science, or the School of Children ;” which is a collection of sentences and examples taken from ancient and mod. ern authors.
There is a tradition in China, that when Confucius was complimented upon the excellency of his philosophy, and his own conformity thereto, he modestly declined the honour that was done him, and said, that “ he greatly fell short of the most perfect degree of virtue, but that in the west the most holy was to be found.” Most of the missionaries who relate this are firmly persuaded that Confucius foresaw the coming of the Messiah, and meant to predict it in this short sentence ; but whether he did or not, it is certain that it has always made a very strong impression upon the learned in China ; and the emperor Mimti, who reigned 65 years after the birth of Christ, was so touched with this saying of Confucius, together with a dream, in which he saw the image of a holy person coming from the west, that he fitted out a fleet, with orders to sail till they had found him, and to bring back at least his image and his writings. The persons sent upon this expedition, not daring to venture farther, went ashore upon a little island not far from the Red Sea, where they found the statue of Fo, who had infected the Indies with his doctrines 300 vears before the birth of Confucius. This they carried back to China, together with the metemsychosis, and the reveries of this Indian philosopher. The disciples of Confucius at first opposed these newly imported doctrines with all the vigour imaginable, inveighing vehemently against Mimti, who introduced them, and denouncing the judgment of heaven on such emperors as should support them. But all their endeavours were vain ; the torrent bore hard against them; and the pure religion and sound morality of Confucius were soon corrupted, and in a manner overwhelmed, by the prevailing idolatries and superstitions which were introduced with the idol Fo.
From the pure system of morals laid down by Confucius, the common people of China, however, at length wholly departed. Yet we have the authority of Mr. Bell for the assertion that, in that fine country there is still a most respectable sect of Theists, who worship the one God, whom they call Zin, the Heaven, or Highest Lord, and pay no religious homage to the images of their countrymen. This sect has existed, says he, longer than Christianity, and is still most in vogue; being embraced by the Emperor himself, and most of the grandees and men of learning. But the common people are generally idolators.
There is a very inconsiderable sect, called Cross-Wor. shippers, who pay divine adoration to the holy cross, though they have lost all other marks of Christianity. When Mr. Bell published his Travels in 1762, the Christians in China were supposed to amount to one hundred thousand of both sexes. He was told the Chinese had some atheists among them.
The Chinese have, however, fallen in with many of the common errors and practices of idolatry. Captain Hamilton, in his quaint style and manner, thus describes the gods, clergy, and devotion of the Chinese :
Their temples are built all after one form : but as in other countries, very different in beauty and magnitude. Their josses, or demi-gods, are some of human shape, some of monstrous figures; but in the province of Fokein they are more devoted to the worship of goddesses than gods. Quanheim has the most votaries. She is placed in state, sitting on a cushion with rich robes, and her little son standing before her, with a charged trident in his right hand, ready to throw at the effenders of the laws of humanity and nature, and also at those who make no free-will offerings to his mother. The Chinese who have seen the Roman Catholic churches and wor. ship, say that she is the Chinese Virgin Mary.
There is another goddess, called Matson, who swam from a far country, through many seas, and came in one night to China, and took up her residence there. She sits on a platform, with a cushion laid on it, and her head is covered with blue wool instead of hair. She is the protectress of navigation ; for which reason pone go a voyage, but they first make a sacrifice of boiled hogs' heads, and bread baked in the steam of boiling water. It is set before the image when reeking hot,