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 person."
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
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.