How the prosperity and ruin of a country may depend on the ruler's view of his position, his feeling its difficulty, or only cherishing a headstrong will.
1. 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.
2. "There is a saying, however, which people have -- 'To be a prince is difficult; to be a minister is not easy.'
3. "If a ruler knows this, -- the difficulty of being a prince, -- may there not be expected from this one sentence the prosperity of his country?"
4. 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!'
5. "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 country?"
Good government seen from its effects.
1. The duke of Sheh asked about government.
2. The Master said, "Good government obtains, when those who are near are made happy, and those who are far off are attracted."
Haste and small advantages not to be desired in governing.
Tsze-hsiâ, being governor of Chü-fû, asked about government. The Master said, "Do not be desirous to have things done quickly; do not 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."
Natural duty and uprightness in collision.
1. 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."
2. Confucius said, "Among us, in our part of the country, those who are 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."
Characteristics of perfect virtue.
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."
Different classes of men who in their several degrees may be styled officers, and the inferiority of the mass of the officers of Confucius's time.
1. Tsze-kung asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to entitle him to be called an officer? The Master said, "He who in his 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."
2. 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 relatives pronounce to be filial, whom his fellow villagers and neighbors pronounce to be fraternal."
3. Again the disciple asked, "I venture to ask about the class still next in order." The Master said, "They are determined to be sincere in what they say, and to carry out what they do. They are obstinate little men. Yet perhaps they may make the next class."
4. Tsze-kung finally inquired, "Of what sort are those of the present day, who engage in government?" The Master said "Pooh! they are so many pecks and hampers, not worth being taken into account."
Confucius obliged to content himself with the ardent and cautious as disciples.
The Master said, "Since I cannot get men pursuing the due medium, to 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 importance of fixity and constancy of mind.
1. The Master said, "The people of the south have a saying -- 'A man without constancy cannot be either a wizard or a doctor.' Good!
2. "Inconstant in his virtue, he will be visited with disgrace."
3. The Master said, "This arises simply from not attending to the prognostication."
The different manners of the superior and the mean man.
The Master said, "The superior man is affable, but not adulatory; the mean man is adulatory, but not affable."
How, to judge of a man from the likings and dislikings of others, we must know the characteristics of those others.
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 may not for that accord our approval of him." "And what do you say of him 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."
Difference between the superior and the mean man in their relation to those employed by them.
The Master said, "The superior man is easy to serve and difficult to 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 different air and bearing of the superior and the mean man.
The Master said, "The superior man has a dignified ease without pride. The mean man has pride without a dignified ease."
Natural qualities which are favorable to virtue.
The Master said, "The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue."
Qualities that mark the scholar in social intercourse.
Tsze-lû asked, saying, "What qualities must a man possess to entitle 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."
How the government of a good ruler will prepare the people for war.
The Master said, "Let a good man teach the people seven years, and they may then likewise be employed in war."
That people must be taught, to prepare them for war.
The Master said, "To lead an uninstructed people to war, is to throw them away."