Confucius exposes the presumptuous and impolitic conduct of the chief of the Chî family in proposing to attack a minor state,a dn rebukes Zan Yû and Tsze-lû for abetting the design.
1. The head of the Chî family was going to attack Chwan-yü.
2. Zan Yû and Chî-lû had an interview with Confucius, and said, "Our chief, Chî, is going to commence operations against Chwan-yü."
3. Confucius said, "Ch'iû, is it not you who are in fault here?
4. "Now, in regard to Chwan-yü, long ago, a former king appointed its ruler to preside over the sacrifices to the eastern Mang; moreover, it is in the midst of the territory of our state; and its ruler is a minister in direct connection with the sovereign:-- What has your chief to do with attacking it?"
5. Zan Yû said, "Our master wishes the thing; neither of us two ministers wishes it."
6. Confucius said, "Ch'iû, there are the words of Châu Zan, -- 'When he can put forth his ability, he takes his place in the ranks of office; when he finds himself unable to do so, he retires from it. How can he be used as a guide to a blind man, who does not support him when tottering, nor raise him up when fallen?'
7. "And further, you speak wrongly. When a tiger or rhinoceros escapes from his cage; when a tortoise or piece of jade is injured in its repository:-- whose is the fault?"
8. Zan Yû said, "But at present, Chwan-yü is strong and near to Pî; if our chief do not now take it, it will hereafter be a sorrow to his descendants."
9. Confucius said. "Ch'iû, the superior man hates those declining to say -- 'I want such and such a thing,' and framing explanations for their conduct.
10. "I have heard that rulers of states and chiefs of families are not troubled lest their people should be few, but are troubled lest they should not keep their several places; that they are not troubled with fears of poverty, but are troubled with fears of a want of contented repose among the people in their several places. For when the people keep their several places, there will be no poverty; when harmony prevails, there will be no scarcity of people; and when there is such a contented repose, there will be no rebellious upsettings.
11. "So it is. -- Therefore, if remoter people are not submissive, all the influences of civil culture and virtue are to be cultivated to attract them to be so; and when they have been so attracted, they must be made contented and tranquil.
12. "Now, here are you, Yû and Ch'iû, assisting your chief. Remoter people are not submissive, and, with your help, he cannot attract them to him. In his own territory there are divisions and downfalls, leavings and separations, and, with your help, he cannot preserve it.
13. "And yet he is planning these hostile movements within the state. -- I am afraid that the sorrow of the Chî-sun family will not be on account of Chwan-yü, but will be found within the screen of their own court."
The supreme authority ought ever to maintain its power. The violation of this rule always leads to ruin, which is speedier as the rank of the violator is lower.
1. Confucius said, "When good government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the son of Heaven. When bad government prevails in the empire, ceremonies, music, and punitive military expeditions proceed from the princes. When these things proceed from the princes, as a rule, the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in ten generations. When they proceed from the great officers of the princes, as a rule, the case will be few in which they do not lose their power in five generations. When the subsidiary ministers of the great officers hold in their grasp the orders of the state, as a rule the cases will be few in which they do not lose their power in three generations.
2. "When right principles prevail in the kingdom, government will not be in the hands of the great officers.
3. "When right principles prevail in the kingdom, there will be no discussions among the common people."
Illustration of the principles of the last chapter.
Confucius said, "The revenue of the state has left the ducal house now for five generations. The government has been in the hands of the great officers for four generations. On this account, the descendants of the three Hwan are much reduced."
Three friendships advantageous, and three injurious.
Confucius said, "There are three friendships which are advantageous, and three which are injurious. Friendship with the uplight; friendship with the sincere; and friendship with the man of much observation:-- these are advantageous. Friendship with the man of specious airs; friendship with the insinuatingly soft; and friendship with the glib-tongued:-- these are injurious."
Three sources of enjoyment advantageous, and three injurious.
Confucius said, "There are three things men find enjoyment in which are advantageous, and three things they find enjoyment in which are injurious. To find enjoyment in the discriminating study of ceremonies and music; to find enjoyment in speaking of the goodness of others; to find enjoyment in having many worthy friends:-- these are advantageous. To find enjoyment in extravagant pleasures; to find enjoyment in idleness and sauntering; to find enjoyment in the pleasures of feasting:-- these are injurious."
Three errors in regard to speech to be avoided in the presence of the great.
Confucius said, "There are three errors to which they who stand in the presence of a man of virtue and station are liable. They may speak when it does not come to them to speak;-- this is called rashness. They may not speak when it comes to them to speak;-- this is called concealment. They may speak without looking at the countenance of their superior;-- this is called blindness."