|"Postumously edited by Li Jiugong’s son, Leontius Li Yifen, who later became the language teacher of Maigrot .... the Shensi lu (Album of Cautious Thoughts), a book on practical morality .... arranged according to three relationships of the individual: to the Lord of Heaven (jingzhu 敬主 or hetian 和天), to others (airen 愛人 or heren 和人) and to oneself (xiuji 修己 or heji 和己). Li’s pupose was to harmonize these three relationships since they could not be separated and were different ways of “fitting in with the will of the Lord Heaven” (chunhe zhuming 純和主命). --Cf. Standaert, Handbook of Christianity in China, v.1, p. 423, 657.|
JapSin I, 34/37, 1
Shensi lu 慎思錄.
By Li Jiugong 李九功.
Three ji 集 (collections) in one volume. Chinese bamboo paper.
On the cover there is a Latin inscription: “Christianae Considerationes et Annotationes in libros classicos Sinarum a Christiano li kieu kum.”The title page reads: “A work of Mr. Li Qixu of Futang | Shensi 慎思 | Property of Lüzhuang tang 綠庄堂.” The back of this folio gives a list of those who had helped in the publication of this book, all natives of Shangyang 上洋 (Shanghai): Gong Junrui 龔君瑞, Yao Mingqing 姚明卿, Zhang Junsheng 張君盛, Qu Erxing 瞿爾馨, Hou Dingyuan 候定遠•, Qian Mengqing 錢孟卿, Li Xianyuan 李仙源, Wang Renhui 王彥輝 and Yang Madou (Matthew) 楊瑪竇.
There are prefaces by Liu Yunde 劉蘊德and Yan Zanhua 嚴贊化 of Qingzhang 清漳 (Fujian), an introduction by the author’s son Li Yifen 李奕芬 (zi Suoliang 所良) and a postscript by Jia Yue 嘉約, at the end of which there is a square black wooden seal with the four characters: 木天清望 (Mutian qingwang).
On folio 1a of the first collection one reads: “Written by Li Jiugong, zi Qixu, of Futang, compiled by his son Yifen 奕芬, approved by He Dechuan 何德川 of the Extreme West 遠西 (Antonio de Gouvea, 1592–1677).”
The proofreaders were Zhu Shi 祝石 (zi 子堅) of Gushui 瀔水 (Jiangsu), He Ruda 何如答 (zi 維馨) of Aojiang 鼇江 (Fujian), Zou Shao 鄒劭 (zi 邁菴) of Gu Wu 古吳 (Jiangsu), Wang Qian 王謙 (Duomo 多默 [Thomas]) of Nanjian 南劍 (Sichuan), Chen Kesheng 陳克生 (zi 孔昭) of Jin‘an 晉安 (Fujian) and Lu Xiyan 陸希言 (zi 思默, Dominicus, Chinese Jesuit brother, 1630–1704) of Yunjian 雲間 (Jiangsu). The final proofreading was done by Li Jiugong’s disciples, namely Guo Hongye 郭鴻業 (zi 君業) of the same town and Li Zhaofan 李昭璠 (zi 聖望) of Guangdong.
There are commentaries on the margins of some of the folios. In the third collection there are punctuations in red ink.
In the previous number we gave a short biography of Li Jiugong. The present book is one of the posthumous collections of his writings published by his son. In the introduction Li Yifen states that his aged father used to pass his sleepless nights reflecting and praying. At dawn he would then jot down the fruit of his meditation, which he gave the title Shensi (Untrammelled thinking). The writing was done casually and without order. In 1681 (Kangxi 20), when the old man died, a number of his writings remained unedited, such as the Wenda huichao 問答彙抄 (see next number) and the Zuoyu guangshi 座隅廣識. It was then decided to publish these three collections in one volume. The book consists of 137 paragraphs and successively treats:
1. Reconciliation with God (forty-two paragraphs).
2. Reconciliation with oneself (forty paragraphs).
3. Reconciliation with one’s neighbor (fifty-five paragraphs).
In folio 11 of the first collection Li Jiugong gives a list of Catholic books that one must read. He was convinced that the Gospel had been preached in China since the time of the Apostle St. Thomas and gives a number of proofs from discoveries of crosses in different regions and in diverse epochs of Chinese history.
In folio 1b of the third collection Li Jiugong clearly exposes the errors of contemporary pagan traditions: the postponement of burial, the drowning of infant girls and the practice of sodomy. In the following folios he strongly opposes concubinage. On the other hand, he considers it morally wrong for a woman to take her own life in order to prove fidelity to her deceased husband or fiance (collection 2, folios 11b–13a).
In folios 13b–14b of the third collection Li Jiugong tells us that the only liking he had in life was for reading books, particularly Catholic books.
From my youth to my old age I never gave up reading . . . A new book for me is a new friend and the books that I have read are all old friends . . . I never worry that my friends may leave me. On the contrary, I am afraid that some time or another I shall have to leave them (his books). First, I have to let them go when I am on my sick bed. Then, I have to put them aside when my eyes get very tired, and finally, when I am on the move I can not help parting from them. May the Good Lord grant me good health and good sight in my old age that I may enjoy a peaceful life, thus enabling me to avoid the above mentioned inconveniences. What could be happier than to be able to keep up my friendship and to spend the rest of my life in this happy state?Cf. Courant 7227.
Source: Albert Chan, SJ, Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 30-32.
JapSin I, 166.d
Shensi lu 慎思錄.
By Li Jiugong 李九功.
Three collections (ji 集). Chinese paper known as yukouzhi 玉口紙.
One volume. Printing blocks kept at the Lüzhuangtang 綠庄堂. No date or place of publication.
The cover bears the title in Chinese, with a Portuguese and a Latin inscription: “Composto pelo Pay do Li So Leam celebre | Siam Cum do Sôr Maigrot” (Composed by the father of Li So Leam [Li Suoliang 李所良], the well-known xianggong [相公] of his Lordship [Bishop] Maigrot). “Christianae considerationes, et annotationes | in libros classicos sinarum | a christiano Li Kieu Kum.”This is a duplicate of Jap-Sin I, 34/37.1. Only the order of the prefaces is different and the folios 11–14 of the third ji are printed on white paper.
Source: Albert Chan, S.J., Chinese Books and Documents in the Jesuit Archives in Rome, pp. 221-222.
Library note: An unrelated Japanese work of the same title also deals with Confucian philosophy and conduct of life. See: Kaibara Ekiken 貝原益軒 (1630-1714), Shinshiroku 慎思錄.