Mencius : Chapter 18 |
1. Wan Chang said, 'Was it the case that Yâo gave the throne to Shun?' Mencius
said, 'No. The sovereign cannot give the throne to another.'
2. 'Yes;-- but Shun had the throne. Who gave it to him?' 'Heaven gave it to
him,' was the answer.
3. '" Heaven gave it to him:"-- did Heaven confer its appointment on him with
4. Mencius replied, 'No. Heaven does not speak. It simply showed its will by his
personal conduct and his conduct of affairs.'
5. '"It showed its will by his personal conduct and his conduct of affairs:"--
how was this?' Mencius's answer was, 'The sovereign can present a man to Heaven,
but he cannot make Heaven give that man the throne. A prince can present a man
to the sovereign, but he cannot cause the sovereign to make that man a prince. A
great officer can present a man to his prince, but he cannot cause the prince to
make that man a great officer. Yâo presented Shun to Heaven, and Heaven accepted
him. He presented him to the people, and the people accepted him. Therefore I
say, "Heaven does not speak. It simply indicated its will by his personal
conduct and his conduct of affairs."'
6. Chang said, 'I presume to ask how it was that Yâo presented Shun to Heaven,
and Heaven accepted him; and that he exhibited him to the people, and the people
accepted him.' Mencius replied, 'He caused him to preside over the sacrifices,
and all the spirits were well pleased with them;-- thus Heaven accepted him. He
caused him to preside over the conduct of affairs, and affairs were well
administered, so that the people reposed under him;-- thus the people accepted
him. Heaven gave the throne to him. The people gave it to him. Therefore I said,
"The sovereign cannot give the throne to another."
7. 'Shun assisted Yâo in the government for twenty and eight years;-- this was
more than man could have done, and was from Heaven. After the death of Yâo, when
the three years' mourning was completed, Shun withdrew from the son of Yâo to
the south of South river. The princes of the kingdom, however, repairing to
court, went not to the son of Yâo, but they went to Shun. Litigants went not to
the son of Yâo, but they went to Shun. Singers sang not the son of Yâo, but they
sang Shun. Therefore I said, "Heaven gave him the throne." It was after these
things that he went to the Middle Kingdom, and occupied the seat of the Son of
Heaven. If he had, before these things, taken up his residence in the palace of
Yâo, and had applied pressure to the son of Yâo, it would have been an act of
usurpation, and not the gift of Heaven.
8. 'This sentiment is expressed in the words of The Great Declaration,-- "Heaven
sees according as my people see; Heaven hears according as my people hear."'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'People say, "When the disposal of the
kingdom came to Yü, his virtue was inferior to that of Yâo and Shun, and he
transmitted it not to the worthiest but to his son." Was it so?' Mencius
replied, 'No; it was not so. When Heaven gave the kingdom to the worthiest, it
was given to the worthiest. When Heaven gave it to the son of the preceding
sovereign, it was given to him. Shun presented Yü to Heaven. Seventeen years
elapsed, and Shun died. When the three years' mourning was expired, Yü withdrew
from the son of Shun to Yang-ch'ang. The people of the kingdom followed him just
as after the death of Yâo, instead of following his son, they had followed Shun.
Yü presented Yî to Heaven. Seven years elapsed, and Yü died. When the three
years' mourning was expired, Yî withdrew from the son of Yü to the north of
mount Ch'î. The princes, repairing to court, went not to Yî, but they went to
Ch'î. Litigants did not go to Yî, but they went to Ch'î, saying, "He is the son
of our sovereign;" the singers did not sing Yî, but they sang Ch'î, saying, "He
is the son of our sovereign."
2. 'That Tan-chû was not equal to his father, and Shun's son not equal to his;
that Shun assisted Yâo, and Yü assisted Shun, for many years, conferring
benefits on the people for a long time; that thus the length of time during
which Shun, Yü, and Yî assisted in the government was so different; that Ch'î
was able, as a man of talents and virtue, reverently to pursue the same course
as Yü; that Yî assisted Yü only for a few years, and had not long conferred
benefits on the people; that the periods of service of the three were so
different; and that the sons were one superior, and the other superior:-- all
this was from Heaven, and what could not be brought about by man. That which is
done without man's doing is from Heaven. That which happens without man's
causing is from the ordinance of Heaven.
3. 'In the case of a private individual obtaining the throne, there must be in
him virtue equal to that of Shun or Yü; and moreover there must be the
presenting of him to Heaven by the preceding sovereign. It was on this account
that Confucius did not obtain the throne.
4. 'When the kingdom is possessed by natural succession, the sovereign who is
displaced by Heaven must be like Chieh or Châu. It was on this account that Yî,
Î Yin, and Châu-kung did not obtain the throne.
5. 'Î Yin assisted T'ang so that he became sovereign over the kingdom. After the
demise of T'ang, T'âi-ting having died before he could be appointed sovereign,
Wâ'i-ping reigned two years, and Chung-zin four. T'âi-chiâ was then turning
upside down the statutes of T'ang, when Î Yin placed him in T'ung for three
years. There T'âi-chiâ repented of his errors, was contrite, and reformed
himself. In T'ung be came to dwell in benevolence and walk in righteousness,
during those threee years, listening to the lessons given to him by Î Yin. Then
Î Yin again returned with him to Po.
6. 'Châu-kung not getting the throne was like the case of Yî and the throne of
Hsiâ, or like that of Î Yin and the throne of Yin.
7. 'Confucius said, "T'ang and Yü resigned the throne to their worthy ministers.
The sovereign of Hsiâ and those of Yin and Châu transmitted it to their sons.
The principle of righteousness was the same in all the cases."'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'People say that Î Yin sought an
introduction to T'ang by his knowledge of cookery. Was it so?'
2. Mencius replied, 'No, it was not so. Î Yin was a farmer in the lands of the
prince of Hsin, delighting in the principles of Yâo and Shun. In any matter
contrary to the righteousness which they prescribed, or contrary to their
principles, though he had been offered the throne, he would not have regarded
it; though there had been yoked for him a thousand teams of horses, he would not
have looked at them. In any matter contrary to the righteousness which they
prescribed, or contrary to their principles, he would neither have given nor
taken a single straw.
3. 'T'ang sent persons with presents of silk to entreat him to enter his
service. With an air of indifference and self-satisfaction he said, "What can I
do with those silks with which T'ang invites me? Is it not best for me to abide
in the channelled fields, and so delight myself with the principles of Yâo and
4. 'T'ang thrice sent messengers to invite him. After this, with the change of
resolution displayed in his countenance, he spoke in a different style,--
"Instead of abiding in the channelled fields and thereby delighting myself with
the principles of Yâo and Shun, had I not better make this prince a prince like
Yâo or Shun, and this people like the people of Yâo or Shun ? Had I not better
in my own person see these things for myself?
5. '"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 to do so. I
am one of Heaven's people who have first apprehended;-- I will take these
principles and instruct this people in them. If I do not instruct them, who will
6. 'He thought that among all the people of the kingdom, even the private men
and women, if there were any who did not enjoy such benefits as Yâo and Shun
conferred, it was as if he himself pushed them into a ditch. He took upon
himself the heavy charge of the kingdom in this way, and therefore he went to
T'ang, and pressed upon him the subject of attacking Hsiâ and saving the people.
7. 'I have not heard of one who bent himself, and at the same time made others
straight;-- how much less could one disgrace himself, and thereby rectify the
whole kingdom? The actions of the sages have been different. Some have kept
remote from court, and some have drawn near to it; some have left their offices,
and some have not done so:-- that to which those different courses all agree is
simply the keeping of their persons pure.
8. 'I have heard that Î Yin sought an introduction to T'ang by the doctrines of
Yâo and Shun. I have not heard that he did so by his knowledge of cookery.
9. 'In the "Instructions of Î," it is said, "Heaven destroying Chieh commenced
attacking him in the palace of Mû. I commenced in Po."'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, saying, 'Some say that Confucius, when he was in
Wei, lived with the ulcer-doctor, and when he was in Ch'î, with the attendant,
Ch'î Hwan;-- was it so?' Mencius replied, 'No; it was not so. Those are the
inventions of men fond of strange things.
2. 'When he was in Wei, he lived with Yen Ch'âu-yû. The wives of the officer Mî
and Tsze-lû were sisters, and Mî told Tsze-lû, "If Confucius will lodge with me,
he may attain to the dignity of a high noble of Wei." Tsze-lû informed Confucius
of this, and he said, "That is as ordered by Heaven." Confucius went into office
according to propriety, and retired from it according to righteousness. In
regard to his obtaining office or not obtaining it, he said, "That is as
ordered." But if he had lodged with the attendant Chî Hwan, that would neither
have been according to righteousness, nor any ordering of Heaven.
3. 'When Confucius, being dissatisfied in Lû and Wei, had left those States, he
met with the attempt of Hwan, the Master of the Horse, of Sung, to intercept and
kill him. He assumed, however, the dress of a common man, and passed by Sung. At
that time, though he was in circumstances of distress, he lodged with the
city-master Ch'ang, who was then a minister of Châu, the marquis of Ch'an.
4. 'I have heard that the characters of ministers about court may be discerned
from those whom they entertain, and those of stranger officers, from those with
whom they lodge. If Confucius had lodged with the ulcer-doctor, and with the
attendant Chî Hwan, how could he have been Confucius?'
1. Wan Chang asked Mencius, 'Some say that Pâi-lî Hsî sold himself to a
cattle-keeper of Ch'in for the skins of five rams, and fed his oxen, in order to
find an introduction to the duke Mû of Ch'in;-- was this the case?' Mencius
said, 'No; it was not so. This story was invented by men fond of strange things.
2. 'Pâi-lî Hsî was a man of Yü. The people of Tsin, by the inducement of a round
piece of jade from Ch'ûi-chî, and four horses of the Ch'ü breed, borrowed a
passage through Yü to attack Kwo. On that occasion, Kung Chih-ch'î remonstrated
against granting their request, and Pâi-lî Hsî did not remonstrate.
3. 'When he knew that the duke of Yü was not to be remonstrated with, and,
leaving that State, went to Ch'in, he had reached the age of seventy. If by that
time he did not know that it would be a mean thing to seek an introduction to
the duke Mû of Ch'in by feeding oxen, could he be called wise? But not
remonstrating where it was of no use to remonstrate, could he be said not to be
wise? Knowing that the duke of Yü would be ruined, and leaving him before that
event, he cannot be said not to have been wise. Being then advanced in Ch'in, he
knew that the duke Mû was one with whom he would enjoy a field for action, and
became minister to him;-- could he, acting thus, be said not to be wise? Having
become chief minister of Ch'in, he made his prince distinguished throughout the
kingdom, and worthy of being handed down to future ages;-- could he have done
this, if he had not been a man of talents and virtue? As to selling himself in
order to accomplish all the aims of his prince, even a villager who had a regard
for himself would not do such a thing; and shall we say that a man of talents
and virtue did it?'
Mencius : Chapter 18