The secret of success in governing is the unwearied example of the rulers:-- a lesson to Tsze-lû.
1. Tsze-lû asked about government. The Master said, "Go before the people with your example, and be laborious in their affairs."
2. He requested further instruction, and was answered, "Be not weary (in these things)."
The duties chiefly to be attended to by a head minister:-- a lesson to Zan Yung.
1. Chung-kung, being chief minister to the head of the Chi family, asked about government. The Master said, "Employ first the services of your various officers, pardon small faults, and raise to office men of virtue and talents."
2. 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 to office those whom you know. As to those whom you do not know, will others neglect them?"
The supreme importance of names being correct.
1. Tsze-lû 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?"
2. The Master replied, "What is necessary is to rectify names."
3. "So! indeed!" said Tsze-lû. "You are wide of the mark! Why must there be such rectification?"
4. The Master said, "How uncultivated you are, Yû! A superior man, in regard to what he does not know, shows a cautious reserve.
5. "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.
6. "When affairs cannot be carried on to success, proprieties and music will 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.
7. "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."
A ruler has not to occupy himself with what is properly the business of the people.
1. 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 an old gardener."
2. Fan Ch'ih having gone out, the Master said, "A small man, indeed, is Fan Hsü!
3. "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?"
Literary acquirements useless without practical ability.
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?"
His personal conduct all in all to a ruler.
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 followed."
The similar condition of the States of Lû and Wei.
The Master said, "The governments of Lû and Wei are brothers."
The contentment of the officer Ching, and his indifference on getting rich.
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 rich, he said, "Ha! this is admirable!"
A people numerous, well-off, and educated, is the great achievement of government.
1. When the Master went to Wei, Zan Yû acted as driver of his carriage.
2. The Master observed, "How numerous are the people!"
3. Yû said, "Since they are thus numerous, what more shall be done for them?" "Enrich them," was the reply.
4. "And when they have been enriched, what more shall be done?" The Master said, "Teach them."
Confucius's estimate of what he could do, if employed to administer the government of a State.
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 perfected."
What a hundred years of good government could effect.
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!"
In what time a royal ruler could transform the kingdom.
The Master said, "If a truly royal ruler were to arise, it would still require a generation, and then virtue would prevail."
That he be personally correct essential to an officer of government.
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?"
An ironical admonition to Zan Yû on the usurping tendencies of the Chî family.
The disciple Zan returning from the court, the Master said to him, "How are you so late?" He replied, "We had government business." The 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."