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
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
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.
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?'
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 Shun?"
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 do so?"
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
9. 'In the
"Instructions of Î," it is said, "Heaven destroying Chieh
commenced attacking him in the palace of Mû. I commenced in
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.
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
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?'