The illustration of illustrious virtue.
1. In the Announcement to K'ang, it is said, "He was able to make his virtue illustrious."
2. In the Tâi Chiâ, it is said, "He contemplated and studied the illustrious decrees of Heaven."
3. In the Canon of the emperor (Yâo), it is said, "He was able to make illustrious his lofty virtue."
4. These passages all show how those sovereigns made themselves illustrious.
The renovation of the people.
1. On the bathing tub of T'ang, the following words were engraved:-- "If you can one day renovate yourself, do so from day to day. Yea, let there be daily renovation."
2. In the Announcement to K'ang, it is said, "To stir up the new people."
3. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Although Châu was an ancient State, the ordinance which lighted on it was new."
4. Therefore, the superior man in everything uses his utmost endeavors.
On resting in the highest excellence.
1. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "The royal domain of a thousand lî is where the people rest."
2. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "The twittering yellow bird rests on a corner of the mound." The Master said, "When it rests, it knows where to rest. Is it possible that a man should not be equal to this bird?"
3. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Profound was king Wan. With how bright and unceasing a feeling of reverence did he regard his resting places!" As a sovereign, he rested in benevolence. As a minister, he rested in reverence. As a son, he rested in filial piety. As a father, he rested in kindness. In communication with his subjects, he rested in good faith.
4. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Look at that winding course of the Ch'î, with the green bamboos so luxuriant! Here is our elegant and accomplished prince! As we cut and then file; as we chisel and then grind: so has he cultivated himself. How grave is he and dignified! How majestic and distinguished! Our elegant and accomplished prince never can be forgotten." That expression -- "As we cut and then file," indicates the work of learning. "As we chisel and then grind," indicates that of self-culture. "How grave is he and dignified!" indicates the feeling of cautious reverence. "How commanding and distinguished!" indicates an awe-inspiring deportment. "Our elegant and accomplished prince never can be forgotten," indicates how, when virtue is complete and excellence extreme, the people cannot forget them.
5. In the Book of Poetry, it is said, "Ah! the former kings are not forgotten." Future princes deem worthy what they deemed worthy, and love what they loved. The common people delight in what delighted them, and are benefited by their beneficial arrangements. It is on this account that the former kings, after they have quitted the world, are not forgotten.
Explanation of the root and the branches.
The Master said, "In hearing litigations, I am like any other body. What is necessary is to cause the people to have no litigations." So, those who are devoid of principle find it impossible to carry out their speeches, and a great awe would be struck into men's minds;-- this is called knowing the root.
On the investigation of things, and carrying knowledge to the utmost extent.
1. This is called knowing the root.
2. This is called the perfecting of knowledge.
On having the thoughts sincere.
1. What is meant by "making the thoughts sincere," is the allowing no self-deception, as when we hate a bad smell, and as when we love what is beautiful. This is called self-enjoyment. Therefore, the superior man must be watchful over himself when he is alone.
2. There is no evil to which the mean man, dwelling retired, will not proceed, but when he sees a superior man, he instantly tries to disguise himself, concealing his evil, and displaying what is good. The other beholds him, as if he saw his heart and reins;-- of what use is his disguise? This is an instance of the saying -- "What truly is within will be manifested without." Therefore, the superior man must be watchful over himself when he is alone.
3. The disciple Tsang said, "What ten eyes behold, what ten hands point to, is to be regarded with reverence!"
4. Riches adorn a house, and virtue adorns the person. The mind is expanded, and the body is at ease. Therefore, the superior man must make his thoughts sincere.