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1These were the words of the Master 2: 'When the superior is easily served, his inferiors are easily known 3, and in this case punishments are not numerous (in the state).'
The Master said, 'When (the superior) loves the worthy as (the
people of old loved him of) the black robes (Shih, I, vii, ode 1), and hates
the bad as Hsiang-po (hated them;--II, v, ode 6), then without the frequent
conferring of rank the people are stimulated to be good, and without the use of
punishments they are all obedient to his orders. It is said in the Tâ Yâ (III,
i, ode 1, 7),
The Master said, 'If the people be taught by lessons of virtue, and uniformity sought to be given to them by the rules of ceremony, their minds will go on to be good. If they be taught by the laws, and uniformity be sought to be given to them by punishments, their minds will be thinking of how they can escape (the punishment;--Analects, II, iii). Hence, when the ruler of the people loves them as his sons, they feel to him as a parent; when he binds them to himself by his good faith, they do not turn away from him; when he presides over them with courtesy, their hearts are docile to him. It is said in the Punishments of Fû (Shû, V, xxvii, 3), "Among the people of Miâo they did not use orders simply, but the restraints of punishment. They made the five punishments engines of oppression, calling them the laws." In this way their people became bad, and (their rulers) were cut off for ever (from the land).'
The Master said, 'Inferiors, in serving their superiors, do not follow what they command, but what they do. When a ruler loves anything, those below him are sure to do so much more. Therefore the superior should by all means be careful in what he likes and dislikes. This will make him an example to the people 4.'
The Master said, 'When Yü had been on the throne three years,
the humanity of the common people was in accordance with his;--was it necessary
that all (at court) should be perfectly virtuous? It is said in the Book of
Poetry (II, v, ode 7, 1),
The Master said, 'When superiors are fond of showing their
humanity, inferiors strive to outstrip one another in their practice of it.
Therefore those who preside over the people should cherish the clearest aims
and give the most correct lessons, honouring the requirement of their humanity
by loving the people as their sons; then the people will use their utmost
efforts with themselves to please their superiors. It is said in the Book of
Poetry (III, iii, ode 2, 2),
The Master said, 'The king's words are (at first) as threads
of silk; but when given forth, they become as cords. Or they are (at first) as
cords; but when given forth, they become as ropes. Therefore the great man does
not take the lead in idle speaking. The superior does not speak words which may
be spoken indeed but should not be embodied in deeds; nor does he do actions
which may be done in deed but should not be expressed in words. When this is
the case, the words of the people can be carried into action without risk, and
their actions can be spoken of without risk. It is said in the Book of Poetry
(III, iii, ode 2, 8),
The Master said, 'The superior man leads men on (to good) by
his words, and keeps them (from evil) by (the example of) his conduct. Hence,
in speaking, he must reflect on what may be the end of his words, and examine
whether there may not be some error in his conduct; and then the people will be
attentive to their words, and circumspect in their conduct. It is said in the
Book of Poetry (III, iii, ode 2, 5),
The Master said, 'When the heads of the people use no
(improper) variations in their dress, and their manners are always easy and
unconstrained, and they seek thus to give uniformity to the people, the virtue
of the people does become uniform. It is said in the Book of Poetry (II, viii,
ode i, i),
The Master said, 'When (the ruler) above can be known by men
looking at him, and (his ministers) below can have their doings related and
remembered, then the ruler has no occasion to doubt his ministers, and the
ministers are not led astray by their ruler. The Announcement of Yin says (Shû,
IV, vi, 3), "There were I, Yin, and Thang; both possessed the same pure
virtue." It is said in the Book of Poetry (I, xiv, ode 3, 3),
The Master said, 'When the holders of states and clans give
distinction to the righteous and make it painful for the bad, thus showing the
people the excellence (they should cultivate), then the feelings of the people
do not swerve (to what is evil). It is said in the Book of Poetry (II, vi, ode
The Master said, "when the highest among men has doubts and
perplexities, the common people go astray. When (the ministers) below him are
difficult to be understood, the toil of the ruler is prolonged. Therefore when
the ruler exhibits clearly what he loves, and thus shows the people the style
of manners (they should aim at), and is watchful against what he dislikes, and
thereby guards the people against the excesses (of which they are in danger),
then they do not go astray.'When the ministers are exemplary in their conduct, and do not
set a value on (fine) speeches; when they do not try to lead (the ruler) to
what is unattainable, and do not trouble him with what cannot be (fully) known,
then he is not toiled. It is said in the Book of Poetry (III, ii, ode 10,
The Master said, 'When (the measures of) government do not take effect, and the lessons of the ruler do not accomplish their object, (it is because) the giving of rank and emoluments is unfit to stimulate the people to good, and (the infliction of) punishments and penalties is unfit to make them ashamed (of evil). Therefore (the ruler) above must not be careless in punishing, nor lightly confer rank. It is said in the Announcement to the Prince of Khang (Shû, V, ix, 8), "Deal reverently and understandingly in your infliction of punishments;" and in the Punishments of Fû (Shû, V, xxvii, 12), "He spreads abroad his lessons to avert punishments."'
The Master said, 'When the great ministers are not on terms of friendly intimacy (with the ruler), and the common people consequently are not restful, this is because the loyalty (of the ministers) and the respect (of the ruler) are not sufficient, and the riches and rank conferred (on the former) are excessive. (The consequence is, that) the great ministers do not discharge their functions of government, and the ministers closer (to the ruler) form parties against them. Therefore the great ministers should by all means be treated with respect; they are examples to the people; and ministers nearer (to the ruler) should by all means be careful;--they direct the way of the people. Let not the ruler consult with inferior officers about greater, nor with those who are from a distance about those who are near to him, nor with those who are beyond the court about those who belong to it. If he act thus, the great ministers will not be dissatisfied; the ministers closer to him will not be indignant; and those who are more remote will not be kept in obscurity. The duke of Sheh in his dying charge said, "Do not by little counsels ruin great enterprises; do not for the sake of a favourite concubine provoke queen Kwang; do not for the sake of a favourite officer provoke your grave officers,--the Great officers or high ministers 5."'
The Master said, 'If the great man be not in affectionate
sympathy with (his officers) whom he considers worthy, but give his confidence
to others whom he despises, the people in consequence will not feel attached to
him, and the lessons which he gives them will be troublesome (and ineffective).
It is said in the Book of Poetry (II, ii, ode 8),
The Master said, 'A small man is drowned in the water; a superior man is drowned or ruined by his mouth; the great man suffers his ruin from the people;--all suffer from what they have played and taken liberties with. Water is near to men, and yet it drowns them. Its nature makes it easy to play with, but dangerous to approach;--men are easily drowned in it. The mouth is loquacious and troublesome; for words once uttered there is hardly a place of repentance;--men are easily ruined by it. The people, restricted in their humanity, have vulgar and rude minds; they should be respected, and should not be treated with contempt;--men are easily ruined by them. Therefore the superior man should by all means be careful in his dealings with them. It is said in the Thâi Kiâ (Shû, III, v, sect. 1, 5, 7), "Do not frustrate the charge to me, and bring on yourself your own overthrow. Be like the forester, who, when he has adjusted the string, goes to examine the end of the arrow, whether it be placed according to rule, and then lets go." It is said in the Charge to Yüeh (III, viii, sect. 2, 4), "It is the mouth which gives occasion to shame; they are the coat of mail and helmet which give occasion to war. The upper robes and lower garments (for reward) should not be taken (lightly from) their chests; before spear and shield are used, one should examine himself." It is said in the Thâi Kiâ (Shû, III, v, sect. 2, 3), "Calamities sent by Heaven may be avoided; but from those brought on by one's self there is no escape." It is said in the Announcement of Yin (Shû, III, v, sect. 1, 3), "I have seen it myself in Hsiâ with its western capital, that when its sovereigns went through a prosperous course to the end, their ministers also did the same."'
The Master said, 'To the people the ruler is as their heart;
to the ruler the people are as his body. When the heart is composed, the body
is at ease; when the heart is reverent, the body is respectful; when the heart
loves anything, the body is sure to rest in it. (So), when the ruler loves
anything, the people are sure to desire it. The body is the complement of the
heart, and a wound in it makes the heart also suffer. So the ruler is preserved
by the people, and perishes also through the people. It is said in an
The Master said, 'In the service by an inferior of his superior, if his personal character be not correct, his words will not be believed; and in this case their views will not be the same, and the conduct (of the superior) will not correspond (to the advice given to him) 7.'
The Master said, 'Words should be capable of proof by
instances, and conduct should be conformed to rule; when the case is so, a
man's aim cannot be taken from him while he is alive, nor can his good name be
taken away when he is dead. Therefore the superior man, having heard much,
verifies it by inquiry, and firmly holds fast (what is proved); he remembers
much, verifies it by inquiry, and makes it his own; when he knows it exactly,
he carries the substance of it into practice. It is said in the Kün-khan (Shû,
V, xxi, 5), "Going out and coming in, seek the judgment of the people about
things, till you find a general agreement upon them." It is said in the Book of
Poetry (I, xiv, ode 3, i),
The Master said, 'It is only the superior man who can love what is correct, while to the small man what is correct is as poison. Therefore the friends of the superior man have the definite aims which they pursue, and the definite courses which they hate. In consequence, those who are near at hand have no perplexities of thought about him, and those who are far off, no doubts. It is said in the Book of Poetry (I, i, ode 1, 1),"For our prince a good mate."'
The Master said, 'When a man on light grounds breaks off his
friendship with the poor and mean, and only on great grounds with the rich and
noble, his love of worth cannot be great, nor does his hatred of evil clearly
appear. Though men may say that he is not influenced by (the love of) gain, I
do not believe them. It is said in the Book of Poetry (III, ii, ode 3,
The Master said, 'The superior man will not voluntarily remain
to share in private acts of kindness not offered on grounds of virtue. In the
Book of Poetry it is said (II, i, ode 1, 1),
The Master said, 'If there be a carriage (before you), you are sure (by-and-by) to see the cross-board (in front); if there be a garment, you are sure (in the same way) to see (the traces of) its being worn; if one speaks, you are sure to hear his voice; if one does anything, you are sure to see the result. It is said in the Book of Poetry (I, i, ode 2, 2),"I will wear them without being weary of them."'
The Master said, 'When one says anything, and immediately
proceeds to act it out, his words cannot embellish it; and when one does
anything, and immediately proceeds to describe it, the action cannot be
embellished. Hence the superior man saying little, and acting to prove the
sincerity of his words, the people cannot make the excellence of their deeds
greater than it is, nor diminish the amount of their badness
8. It is said in the Book of Poetry (III, iii, ode 2,
The Master said, 'The people of the south have a saying that
"A man without constancy cannot be a diviner either with the tortoise-shell or
the stalks." This was probably a saying handed down from antiquity. If such a
man cannot know the tortoise-shell and stalks, how much less can he know other
9? It is said in the Book of
Poetry (II, v, ode 1, 3),
1. See the introductory notice, vol. xxvii, pp. 45, 46.
2. Thus the Book begins as if it were another section of the preceding Treatise.
3. They are 'easily known,' there being nothing in the ruler's method to make them deceitful.
4. This again looks very much as if this Treatise were a continuation of the last.
5. This is an error. The dying counsels referred to were not given by any duke of Sheh (a dependency of Khû), but by Wan-fû, duke of Zâi, to king Mû of Kâu. They are found with some slight alterations in the Apocryphal Books of Kâu (逸周書), Book VIII, article 1. Confucius would not have fallen into such a mistake.
6. This is from an ode not in the Shih, and only preserved, so far, here. The three concluding lines, however, are also found in the Shih, II, iv, ode 7, 6.
7. The meaning of this latter part is matter of dispute.
8. The excellence and the badness would seem, in the text, to belong to the conduct of the superior man; but to predicate badness of him would be too daring. To justify the view which appears in my translation, the Khien-lung editors, in their expansion of the meaning, after 'the people,' interpolate 'who come under the transforming influence of his example.'
9. I cannot make anything but this of this sentence, though Khung Ying-tâ takes it differently. The whole paragraph is evidently very corrupt, and even the Khien-lung editors have put forth all their strength upon it in vain.
10. We have here a quotation from the Shû, IV, viii, sect. 2; but it is very different from the textus receptus. All the commentators and critics are at fault upon it; see vol. iii, pp. 115, 116.
11. See the symbolism of the 3rd and 5th lines of the Hang or 32nd Hexagram, vol. xvi, pp. 125-128.
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