Tsze-lu asked about government. The Master said, "Go before the
people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs."
He requested further instruction, and was answered, "Be not weary
Chung-kung, being chief minister to the head of the Chi family,
asked about government. The Master said, "Employ first the services
your various officers, pardon small faults, and raise to office men of
virtue and talents."
Chung-kung said, "How shall I know the men of virtue and talent,
so that I may raise them to office?" He was answered, "Raise
those whom you know. As to those whom you do not know, will others
Tsze-lu said, "The ruler of Wei has been waiting for you, in order
with you to administer the government. What will you consider the
first thing to be done?"
The Master replied, "What is necessary is to rectify names."
"So! indeed!" said Tsze-lu. "You are wide of the mark!
there be such rectification?"
The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yu! A superior man, in
regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
"If names be not correct, language is not in accordance with the
truth of things. If language be not in accordance with the truth of
things, affairs cannot be carried on to success.
"When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and
do not flourish. When proprieties and music do not flourish,
punishments will not be properly awarded. When punishments are not
properly awarded, the people do not know how to move hand or foot.
"Therefore a superior man considers it necessary that the names he
uses may be spoken appropriately, and also that what he speaks may
be carried out appropriately. What the superior man requires is just
that in his words there may be nothing incorrect."
Fan Ch'ih requested to be taught husbandry. The Master said, "I am
not so good for that as an old husbandman." He requested also to be
taught gardening, and was answered, "I am not so good for that as
Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, "A small man, indeed,
Fan Hsu! If a superior man love propriety, the people will not dare
not to be reverent. If he love righteousness, the people will not dare
not to submit to his example. If he love good faith, the people will
not dare not to be sincere. Now, when these things obtain, the
people from all quarters will come to him, bearing their children on
their backs; what need has he of a knowledge of husbandry?"
The Master said, "Though a man may be able to recite the three
hundred odes, yet if, when intrusted with a governmental charge, he
knows not how to act, or if, when sent to any quarter on a mission, he
cannot give his replies unassisted, notwithstanding the extent of
his learning, of what practical use is it?"
The Master said, "When a prince's personal conduct is correct, his
government is effective without the issuing of orders. If his personal
conduct is not correct, he may issue orders, but they will not be
The Master said, "The governments of Lu and Wei are brothers."
The Master said of Ching, a scion of the ducal family of Wei, that
he knew the economy of a family well. When he began to have means,
he said, "Ha! here is a collection-!" When they were a little
increased, he said, "Ha! this is complete!" When he had become
he said, "Ha! this is admirable!"
When the Master went to Weil Zan Yu acted as driver of his carriage.
The Master observed, "How numerous are the people!"
Yu said, "Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be done
for them?" "Enrich them, was the reply.
"And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done?"
Master said, "Teach them."
The Master said, "If there were any of the princes who would
employ me, in the course of twelve months, I should have done
something considerable. In three years, the government would be
The Master said, "'If good men were to govern a country in
succession for a hundred years, they would be able to transform the
violently bad, and dispense with capital punishments.' True indeed
is this saying!"
The Master said, "If a truly royal ruler were to arise, it would
stir require a generation, and then virtue would prevail."
The Master said, "If a minister make his own conduct correct, what
difficulty will he have in assisting in government? If he cannot
rectify himself, what has he to do with rectifying others?"
The disciple Zan returning from the court, the Master said to him,
"How are you so late?" He replied, "We had government
Master said, "It must have been family affairs. If there had been
government business, though I am not now in office, I should have been
consulted about it."
The Duke Ting asked whether there was a single sentence which
could make a country prosperous. Confucius replied, "Such an effect
cannot be expected from one sentence.
"There is a saying, however, which people have -'To be a prince is
difficult; to be a minister is not easy.'
"If a ruler knows this,-the difficulty of being a prince,-may
there not be expected from this one sentence the prosperity of his
The duke then said, "Is there a single sentence which can ruin a
country?" Confucius replied, "Such an effect as that cannot be
expected from one sentence. There is, however, the saying which people
have-'I have no pleasure in being a prince, but only in that no one
can offer any opposition to what I say!'
"If a ruler's words be good, is it not also good that no one
oppose them? But if they are not good, and no one opposes them, may
there not be expected from this one sentence the ruin of his
The Duke of Sheh asked about government.
The Master said, "Good government obtains when those who are near
are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted."
Tsze-hsia! being governor of Chu-fu, asked about government. The
Master said, "Do not be desirous to have things done quickly; do
look at small advantages. Desire to have things done quickly
prevents their being done thoroughly. Looking at small advantages
prevents great affairs from being accomplished."
The Duke of Sheh informed Confucius, saying, "Among us here there
are those who may be styled upright in their conduct. If their
father have stolen a sheep, they will bear witness to the fact."
Confucius said, "Among us, in our part of the country, those who
upright are different from this. The father conceals the misconduct of
the son, and the son conceals the misconduct of the father.
Uprightness is to be found in this."
Fan Ch'ih asked about perfect virtue. The Master said, "It is, in
retirement, to be sedately grave; in the management of business, to be
reverently attentive; in intercourse with others, to be strictly
sincere. Though a man go among rude, uncultivated tribes, these
qualities may not be neglected."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to
entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said, "He who in
conduct of himself maintains a sense of shame, and when sent to any
quarter will not disgrace his prince's commission, deserves to be
called an officer."
Tsze-kung pursued, "I venture to ask who may be placed in the next
lower rank?" And he was told, "He whom the circle of his
pronounce to be filial, whom his fellow villagers and neighbors
pronounce to be fraternal."
Again the disciple asked, "I venture to ask about the class still
next in order." The Master said, "They are determined to be
what they say, and to carry out what they do. They are obstinate
little men. Yet perhaps they may make the next class."
Tsze-kung finally inquired, "Of what sort are those of the present
day, who engage in government?" The Master said "Pooh! they
many pecks and hampers, not worth being taken into account."
The Master said, "Since I cannot get men pursuing the due medium,
whom I might communicate my instructions, I must find the ardent and
the cautiously-decided. The ardent will advance and lay hold of truth;
the cautiously-decided will keep themselves from what is wrong."
The Master said, "The people of the south have a saying -'A man
without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor.' Good!
"Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace."
The Master said, "This arises simply from not attending to the
The Master said, "The superior man is affable, but not adulatory;
the mean man is adulatory, but not affable."
Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What do you say of a man who is loved by
all the people of his neighborhood?" The Master replied, "We
for that accord our approval of him." "And what do you say of
who is hated by all the people of his neighborhood?" The Master
said, "We may not for that conclude that he is bad. It is better
than either of these cases that the good in the neighborhood love him,
and the bad hate him."
The Master said, "The superior man is easy to serve and difficult
please. If you try to please him in any way which is not accordant
with right, he will not be pleased. But in his employment of men, he
uses them according to their capacity. The mean man is difficult to
serve, and easy to please. If you try to please him, though it be in a
way which is not accordant with right, he may be pleased. But in his
employment of men, he wishes them to be equal to everything."
The Master said, "The superior man has a dignified ease without
pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease."
The Master said, "The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the
are near to virtue."
Tsze-lu asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to
him to be called a scholar?" The Master said, "He must be
thus,-earnest, urgent, and bland:-among his friends, earnest and
urgent; among his brethren, bland."
The Master said, "Let a good man teach the people seven years, and
they may then likewise be employed in war."
The Master said, "To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to