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The Analects of Confucius


Yao said, "Oh! you, Shun, the Heaven-determined order of
succession now rests in your person. Sincerely hold fast the due Mean.
If there shall be distress and want within the four seas, the Heavenly
revenue will come to a perpetual end."
Shun also used the same language in giving charge to Yu.
T'ang said, "I the child Li, presume to use a dark-colored victim,
and presume to announce to Thee, O most great and sovereign God,
that the sinner I dare not pardon, and thy ministers, O God, I do
not keep in obscurity. The examination of them is by thy mind, O
God. If, in my person, I commit offenses, they are not to be
attributed to you, the people of the myriad regions. If you in the
myriad regions commit offenses, these offenses must rest on my
Chau conferred great gifts, and the good were enriched.
"Although he has his near relatives, they are not equal to my
virtuous men. The people are throwing blame upon me, the One man."
He carefully attended to the weights and measures, examined the body
of the laws, restored the discarded officers, and the good
government of the kingdom took its course.
He revived states that had been extinguished, restored families
whose line of succession had been broken, and called to office those
who had retired into obscurity, so that throughout the kingdom the
hearts of the people turned towards him.
What he attached chief importance to were the food of the people,
the duties of mourning, and sacrifices.
By his generosity, he won all. By his sincerity, he made the
people repose trust in him. By his earnest activity, his
achievements were great. By his justice, all were delighted.
Tsze-chang asked Confucius, saying, "In what way should a person
in authority act in order that he may conduct government properly?"
The Master replied, "Let him honor the five excellent, and banish away
the four bad, things;-then may he conduct government properly."
Tsze-chang said, "What are meant by the five excellent things?" The
Master said, "When the person in authority is beneficent without great
expenditure; when he lays tasks on the people without their
repining; when he pursues what he desires without being covetous; when
he maintains a dignified ease without being proud; when he is majestic
without being fierce."
Tsze-chang said, "What is meant by being beneficent without great
expenditure?" The Master replied, "When the person in authority
makes more beneficial to the people the things from which they
naturally derive benefit;-is not this being beneficent without great
expenditure? When he chooses the labors which are proper, and makes
them labor on them, who will repine? When his desires are set on
benevolent government, and he secures it, who will accuse him of
covetousness? Whether he has to do with many people or few, or with
things great or small, he does not dare to indicate any disrespect;-is
not this to maintain a dignified ease without any pride? He adjusts
his clothes and cap, and throws a dignity into his looks, so that,
thus dignified, he is looked at with awe;-is not this to be majestic
without being fierce?"
Tsze-chang then asked, "What are meant by the four bad things?"
The Master said, "To put the people to death without having instructed
them;-this is called cruelty. To require from them, suddenly, the full
tale of work, without having given them warning;-this is called
oppression. To issue orders as if without urgency, at first, and, when
the time comes, to insist on them with severity;-this is called
injury. And, generally, in the giving pay or rewards to men, to do
it in a stingy way;-this is called acting the part of a mere
The Master said, "Without recognizing the ordinances of Heaven, it
is impossible to be a superior man.
"Without an acquaintance with the rules of Propriety, it is
impossible for the character to be established.
"Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know men."

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