1. What Heaven has conferred is called the Nature. An accordance with this nature is called the Path of Duty; the regulation of this path is called the System of Instruction. The path should not be left for an instant; if it could be left, it would not be the path. On this account the superior man does not wait till he sees things to be cautious, nor till he hears things to be apprehensive. There is nothing more visible than what is secret, and nothing more manifest than what is minute. Therefore the superior man is watchful over himself when he is alone. When there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, we call it the State of Equilibrium. When those feelings have been stirred, and all in their due measure and degree, we call it the State of Harmony. This Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all the human actings in the world; and this Harmony is the universal path in which they should all proceed. Let the State of Equilibrium and Harmony exist in perfection, and heaven and earth would have their right places, and do their proper work, and all things would be nourished and flourish.
2. Kung-nî said, ‘The superior man exhibits the state of equilibrium and harmony; the small man presents the opposite of those states. The superior man exhibits them, because he is the superior man, and maintains himself in them; the small man presents the opposite of them, because he is the small man, and exercises no apprehensive caution.’
3. The Master said, ‘Perfect is the state of equilibrium and harmony! Rare have they long been among the people who could attain to it!’
4. The Master said, ‘I know how it is that the Path is not walked in. The knowing go beyond it, and the stupid do not come up to it. The worthy go beyond it, and the unworthy do not come up to it. There is nobody but eats and drinks; but they are few who can distinguish the flavours of what they eat and drink.’
5. The Master said, ‘Ah! how is the path untrodden!’
6. The Master said, ‘Was not Shun grandly wise? Shun loved to question others, and to study their words though they might be shallow. He concealed what was bad in them, and displayed what was good. He laid hold of their two extremes, determined the mean between them, and used it in his government of the people. It was this that made him Shun!’
7. The Master said, ‘Men all say, "We are wise;" but being driven forward and taken in a net, a trap, or a pitfall, not one of them knows how to escape. Men all say, "We are wise;" but when they have chosen the state of equilibrium and harmony, they are not able to keep in it for a round month.’
8. The Master said, ‘This was the character of Hui:--Having chosen the state of equilibrium and harmony, when he found any one thing that was good, he grasped it firmly, wore it on his breast, and did not let it go.’
9. The Master said, ‘The kingdom, its states, and clans may be perfectly ruled; dignities and emoluments may be declined; but the state of equilibrium and harmony cannot be attained to.’
10. Dze-lû asked about fortitude. The Master said, ‘Do you mean the fortitude of the South, the fortitude of the North, or your fortitude?’ To show forbearance and gentleness in teaching others; and not to return conduct towards one’s self which is contrary to the right path:--this is the fortitude of the South, and the good man makes it his study. To lie under arms, and to die without regret:--this is the bravery of the North, and the bold make it their study. Therefore, the superior man cultivates a friendly harmony, and is not weak; how firm is he in his fortitude! He stands erect in the middle, and does not incline to either side; how firm is he in his fortitude! If right ways prevail in the government of his state, he does not change from what he was in retirement;--how firm is he in his fortitude! If bad ways prevail, he will die sooner than change;--how firm is he in his fortitude!’
11. The Master said, ‘To search for what is mysterious, and practise marvellous arts, in order to be mentioned with honour in future ages:--this is what I do not do. The good man tries to proceed according to the right path, but when he has gone half-way, he abandons it; I am not able so to stop. The superior man, acting in accordance with the state of equilibrium and harmony, may be all unknown and unregarded by the world, but he feels no regret:--it is only the sage who is able for this.
12. The way of the superior man reaches far and wide, and yet is secret. Common men and women, however ignorant, may intermeddle with the knowledge of it; but in its utmost reaches there is that which even the sage does not know. Common men and women, however much below the ordinary standard of character, can carry it into practice; but in its utmost reaches, there is that which even the sage cannot attain to. Great as heaven and earth are, men still find things in their action with which to be dissatisfied. Therefore, if the superior man were to speak of this way in its greatness, nothing in the world would be able to contain it; and if he were to speak of it in its smallness, nothing in the world would be found able to divide it. It is said in the Book of Poetry, “Up to heaven flies the hawk; Fishes spring in the deep," telling how the way is seen above and below. The way of the superior man may be found in its simple elements among common men and women, but in its utmost reaches, it is displayed in the operations of heaven and earth.’
13. The Master said, ‘The path is not far from man. When men try to pursue a path which is far from what their nature suggests, it should not be considered the Path. It is said in the Book of Poetry “In hewing an axe-shaft, in hewing an axe-shaft, the pattern is not far off.” We grasp one axe-handle to hew the other; but if we look askance at it, we still consider it far off. Therefore the superior man governs men according to their humanity; and when they change what is wrong, he stops. Fidelity to one’s self and the corresponding reciprocity are not far from the path. What you do not like when done to yourself, do not do to others. In the way of the superior man there are four things, to not one of which have I, Khiû, as yet attained.--To serve my father as I would require my son to serve me, am not yet able; to serve my ruler as I would require my minister to serve me, I am not yet able; to serve my elder brother as I would require a younger brother to serve me, I am not yet able; to set the example in behaving to a friend as I would require him to behave to me, I am not yet able. In the practice of the ordinary virtues, and attention to his ordinary words, if the practice be in anything defective, the superior man dares not but exert himself; if his words be in any way excessive, he dares not allow himself in such license. His words have respect to his practice, and his practice has respect to his words. Is not the superior man characterised by a perfect sincerity?
14. ‘The superior man does what is proper to the position in which he is; he does not wish to go beyond it. In a position of wealth and honour, he does what is proper to a position of wealth and honour. In a position of poverty and meanness, he does what is proper to a position of poverty, and meanness. Situated among barbarous tribes, he does what is proper in such a situation. In a position of sorrow and difficulty, he does what is proper in such a position. The superior man can find himself in no position in which he is not himself. In a high situation, he does not insult or oppress those who are below him; in a low situation, he does not cling to or depend on those who are above him. He rectifies himself, and seeks for nothing from others; and thus none feel dissatisfied with him. Above, he does not murmur against Heaven; below, he does not find fault with men. Therefore the superior man lives quietly and calmly, waiting for the appointments of Heaven; while the mean man does what is full of risk, looking out for the turns of luck.’ The Master said, ‘In archery we have something like the way of the superior man. When the archer misses the centre of the target, he turns round and seeks for the cause of his failure in himself.
15. The way of the superior man may be compared to what takes place in travelling, when to go far we must traverse the space that is near, and in ascending a height we must begin from the lower ground. It is said in the Book of Poetry,
‘hildren and wife we love;
Union with them is sweet,
As lute's soft strain, that soothes our pain.
How joyous do we meet!
But brothers more than they
Can satisfy the heart.
'Tis their accord does peace afford,
And lasting joy impart.
For ordering of your homes,
For joy with child and wife,
Consider well the truth I tell;
This is the charm of life!’
16. The Master said, ‘How abundant and rich are the powers possessed and exercised by Spiritual Beings! We look for them, but do not see them; we listen for, but do not hear them; they enter into all things, and nothing is without them. They cause all under Heaven to fast and purify themselves, and to array themselves in their richest dresses in order to attend at their sacrifices. Then, like overflowing water, they seem to be over the heads, and on the left and right of their worshippers. It is said in the Book of Poetry,
“The Spirits come, but when and where,
No one beforehand can declare.
The more should we not Spirits slight,
But ever feel as in their sight."
‘Such is the manifestness of what is minute. Such is the impossibility of repressing the outgoings of sincerity!’
17. The Master said, ‘How greatly filial was Shun! His virtue was that of a sage; his dignity was that of the son of Heaven; his riches were all within the four seas; his ancestral temple enjoyed his offerings; his descendants preserved those to himself. Thus it was that with his great virtue he could not but obtain his position, his riches, his fame, and his long life. Therefore Heaven, in producing things, is sure to be bountiful to them according to their qualities. Thus it nourishes the tree that stands flourishing, and that which is ready to fall it overthrows. It is said in the Book of Poetry,
"What brilliant virtue does our king,
Whom all admire and love, display!
People and officers all sing,
The praise of his impartial sway.
Heaven to his sires the kingdom gave,
And him with equal favour views,
Heaven’s strength and aid will ever save,
The throne whose grant it oft renews."
Hence we may say that he who is greatly virtuous is sure to receive the appointment of Heaven.’
18. The Master said, ‘It is only king Wan of whom it can be said that he had no cause for grief! His father was king Kî, and his son was king Wû. His father laid the foundations of his dignity, and his son transmitted it. King Wû continued the line and enterprise of kings Thâi, Kî, and Wan. Once for all he buckled on his armour, and got possession of all under heaven; and all his life he did not lose the illustrious name of being that possessor. His dignity was that of the son of Heaven; his riches were all within the four seas; his ancestral temple enjoyed his offerings; and his descendants preserved those to himself. It was in his old age that king Wû received the appointment to the throne, and the duke of Kâu completed the virtuous achievements of Wan and Wû. He carried back the title of king to Thâi and Kî, sacrificing also to all the dukes before them with the ceremonies of the son of Heaven. And the practice was extended as a rule to all the feudal princes, the Great officers, all other officers, and the common people. If the father were a Great officer, and the son an inferior officer, the former was buried with the ceremonies due to a Great officer, and sacrificed to with those due by an inferior officer. If the father were an ordinary officer, and the son a Great officer, the burial was that of an ordinary officer, and the sacrifices those of a Great officer. The one year’s mourning extended up to Great officers; the three years’ mourning extended to the son of Heaven himself. In the mourning, for a father or mother no difference was made between the noble and the mean;--it was one and the same for all.’
19. The Master said, ‘How far-extending was the filial piety of king Wû and the duke of Kâu! Now filial piety is the skilful carrying out of the wishes of our forefathers, and the skilful carrying on of their undertakings. In spring and autumn they repaired and beautified the temple-halls of their ancestors, set forth their ancestral vessels, displayed their dresses, and presented the offerings of the several seasons. By means of the ceremonies of the ancestral temple, they maintained the order of their ancestors sacrificed to, here on the left, there on the right, according as they were father or son; by arranging the parties present according to their rank, they distinguished between the more noble and the less; by the arrangement of the various services, they made a distinction of the talents and virtue of those discharging them; in the ceremony of general pledging, the inferiors presented the cup to the superiors, and thus something was given to the lowest to do; at the concluding feast, places were given according to the hair, and thus was made the distinction of years. They occupied the places of their forefathers; practised their ceremonies; performed their music; showed their respect for those whom they honoured; and loved those whom they regarded with affection. Thus they served the dead as they served them when alive, and served the departed as they would have served them if they had been continued among them:-all this was the perfection of filial duty.
20. ‘By the ceremonies of the border sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, they served God, and by those of the ancestral temple they sacrificed to their forefathers. If one understood the ceremonies of the border sacrifices and the meaning of the sacrifices of the ancestral temple, it would be as easy for him to rule a state as to look into his palms.’
21. Duke Âi asked about government. The Master said, ‘The government of Wan and Wû is exhibited in the Records,--the tablets of wood and bamboo. Let there be the men, and their government would again flourish; but without the men, their government must cease. With the right men the growth of government is rapid, just as in the earth the growth of vegetation is rapid. Government is like an easily-growing rush. Therefore the exercise of government depends on getting the proper men. Such men are to be got by the ruler’s own character. That character is to be cultivated by his pursuing the right course. That course is to be cultivated by benevolence. Benevolence is the chief element in humanity, and the greatest exercise of it is in the love of relatives. Righteousness is the accordance of actions with what is right, and the greatest exercise of it is in the honour paid to the worthy. The decreasing measures in the love of relatives, and the steps in the honour paid to the worthy, are produced by the principle of propriety. When those in inferior situations do not obtain the confidence of their superiors, the people cannot be governed successfully. Therefore the wise ruler should not neglect the cultivation of his character. Desiring to cultivate his character, he should not, neglect to serve his parents. Desiring to serve his parents, he should not neglect to know men. Desiring to know men, he should not neglect to know Heaven. The universal path for all under heaven is fivefold, and the virtues by means of which it is trodden are three. There are ruler and minister; father and son; husband and wife; elder brother and younger; and the intercourse of friend and friend:--the duties belonging to these five relationships constitute the universal path for all. Wisdom, benevolence, and fortitude:--these three are the universal virtues of all. That whereby these are carried into exercise is one thing. Some are born with the knowledge of these duties; some know them by study; and some know them as the result of painful experience. But the knowledge being possessed, it comes to one and the same thing. Some practise them with the ease of nature; some for the sake of their advantage; and some by dint of strong effort. But when the work of them is done, it comes to one and the same thing.’
22. The Master said, ‘To be fond of learning is near to wisdom; to practise with vigour is near to benevolence; to know to be ashamed is near to fortitude. He who knows these three things, knows how to cultivate his own character. Knowing how to cultivate his own character, he knows how to govern other men. Knowing how to govern other men, he knows how to govern the kingdom with its states and families.
23. ‘All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have nine standard rules to follow:--the cultivation of themselves; the honouring of the worthy; affection towards their relatives; respect towards their great ministers; kind and sympathetic treatment of the whole body of officers; dealing with the mass of the people as their children; encouraging the resort of all classes of artisans; indulgent treatment of men from a distance; and the kindly cherishing of the princes of the states.
24. ‘By the ruler’s cultivation of himself there is set up the example of the course which all should pursue; by his honouring of the worthy, he will be preserved from errors of judgment; by his showing affection towards his relatives, there will be no dissatisfaction among his uncles and brethren; by respecting the great ministers he will be kept from mistakes; by kindly treatment of the whole body of officers, they will be led to make the most grateful return for his courtesies; by dealing with the mass of the people as his children, they will be drawn to exhort one another to what is good; by encouraging the resort of artisans, his wealth for expenditure will be rendered sufficient; by indulgent treatment of men from a distance, they will come to him from all quarters; by his kindly cherishing of the princes of the states, all under heaven will revere him. The adjustment of all his thoughts, purification, arraying himself in his richest dresses, and the avoiding of every movement contrary to the rules of propriety;--this is the way in which the ruler must cultivate his own character. Discarding slanderers, keeping himself from the seductions of beauty, making light of riches and honouring virtue:--this is the way by which he will encourage the worthy. Giving his relatives places of honour, and large emolument, and entering into sympathy with them in their likes and dislikes:-this is the way by which he can stimulate affection towards relatives. Giving them numerous officers to discharge their functions and execute their orders:--this is the way by which he will stimulate his Great ministers. According to them a generous confidence, and making their emoluments large:-this is the way by which he will stimulate the body of his officers. Employing them only at the regular times and making the imposts light:-this is the way by which he will stimulate the people. Daily examinations and monthly trials, and rations and allowances in proportion to the work done:--this is the way in which he will stimulate the artisans. Escorting them on their departure, and meeting them on their coming, commending the good among them and showing pity to the incompetent:--this is the way in which he will manifest his indulgent treatment of men from a distance. Continuing families whose line of succession has been broken, reviving states that have ceased to exist, reducing confusion to order, supporting where there is peril; having fixed times for receiving the princes themselves and their envoys; sending them away after liberal treatment and with liberal gifts, and requiring from them small offerings on their coming: this is the way in which he will cherish with kindness the princes of the states.
25. ‘All who have the government of the kingdom with its states and families have these nine standard rules to attend to. That whereby they are carried into exercise is one thing. In all things success depends on previous preparation; without such preparation there is failure. If what is to be spoken be determined beforehand, there will be no stumbling in the utterance. If the things to be done be determined beforehand, there will be no difficulty with them. If actions to be performed be determined beforehand, there will be no difficulty with them. If actions to be performed be determined beforehand, there will be no sorrow or distress in connexion with them. If the courses to be pursued be determined beforehand, the pursuit of them will be inexhaustible .
26. ‘When those in inferior situations do not obtain the confidence of their superiors, the people cannot be governed successfully. There is a way to obtain the confidence of the superior;--if one is not believed in by his friends, he will not obtain the confidence of his superior. There is a way to secure being believed in by his friends;-if he be not in submissive accord with his parents, he will not be believed in by his friends. There is a way to secure submissive accord with parents;--if one, on turning his thoughts in on himself, finds that he has not attained to the perfection of his nature, he will not be in submissive accord with his parents. There is a way to secure the perfection of the nature;--if a man have not a clear understanding of what is good, he will not attain to that perfection. Perfection of nature is characteristic of Heaven. To attain to that perfection belongs to man. He who possesses that perfection hits what is right without any effort, and apprehends without any exercise of thought;--he is the sage who naturally and easily embodies the right way. He who attains to perfection is he who chooses what is good, and firmly holds it fast. He extensively studies what is good; inquires accurately about it; thinks carefully over it; clearly discriminates it; and vigorously practises it. While there is anything he has not studied, or in what he has studied there is anything he cannot understand, he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything he has not asked about, or anything in what he has asked about that he does not know, he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything he has not thought over, or anything in what be has thought about that he does not know, he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything which he has not tried to discriminate, or anything in his discrimination that is not clear, he will not intermit his labour. While there is anything which he has not practised, or any want of vigour so far as he has practised, he will not intermit his labour. If another man succeed by one effort, he will use a hundred efforts; if another succeed by ten, he will use a thousand. Let a man proceed in this way, and though stupid, he is sure to become intelligent; though weak, he is sure to become strong.’
27. The understanding of what is good, springing from moral perfection, is to be ascribed to the nature; moral perfection springing from the understanding of what is good is to be ascribed to instruction. But given the perfection, and there shall be the understanding; given the understanding, and there shall be the perfection.
28. It is only he of all under heaven who is entirely perfect that can give its full development to his nature. Able to give its full development to his own nature, he can also give the same to the nature of other men. Able to give its full development to the nature of other men, he can also give the same to the natures of animals and things. Able to give their full development to these, he can assist the transforming and nourishing operations of heaven and earth. Capable of assisting those transforming and nourishing operations, he can form a ternion with heaven and earth.
29. Next to the above is he who cultivates to the utmost the shoots of goodness in his nature, till he becomes morally perfect. This perfection will then obtain embodiment; embodied, it will be manifested; manifested, it will become brilliant; brilliant, it will go forth in action; going forth in action, it will produce changes; producing changes, it will effect transformations. It is only he of all under heaven who is entirely perfect that can transform.
30. It is characteristic of him who is entirely perfect that he can foreknow. When a state or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be lucky omens, and when it is about to perish, there are sure to be unlucky omens. They will be seen in the tortoise-shell and stalks; they will affect the movements of the four limbs. When calamity or happiness is about to come, the good is sure to be foreknown by him, and the evil also. Hence, he who is entirely perfect is like a Spirit.
31. Perfection is seen in its possessor’s self-completion; and the path which is its embodiment, in its self-direction. Perfection is seen in the beginning and end of all creatures and things. Without this perfection there would be no creature or thing. Therefore the superior man considers perfection as the noblest of all attainments.
32. He who is perfect does not only complete himself; his perfection enables him to complete all other beings also. The completion of himself shows the complete virtue of his nature; the completion of other beings shows his Wisdom. The two show his nature in good operation, and the way in which the union of the external and internal is effected. Hence, whenever he exercises it, the operation is right.
33. Thus it is that entire perfection is unresting; unresting, it continues long; continuing long, it evidences itself; evidencing itself, it reaches far; reaching far, it becomes large and substantial; large and substantial, it becomes high and brilliant.
34. By being large and substantial it contains all things. By being high and brilliant, it overspreads all things. By reaching far and continuing long, it completes all things. By its being so large and substantial, it makes its possessor the coequal of earth; by its height and brilliancy, it makes him the co-equal of heaven; by its reaching far and continuing long, it makes him infinite.
35. Such being his characteristics, without any manifestation he becomes displayed; without any movement he effects changes; without any exertion he completes. The way of heaven and earth may be completely described in one sentence.
36. They are without any second thought, and so their production of things is inexhaustible.
37. The characteristics of heaven and earth are to be large; to be substantial; to be high; to be brilliant; to be far-reaching; to be long-continuing.
38. There now is this heaven; it is only this bright shining spot, but when viewed in its inexhaustible extent, the sun, moon, stars, and constellations of the zodiac are suspended in it, and all things are overspread by it. There is this earth; it is only a handful of soil, but when regarded in its breadth and thickness, it sustains mountains like the Hwâ and the Yo, without feeling the weight, and contains the rivers and seas without their leaking away. There is this mountain; it looks only the size of a stone, but when contemplated in all its altitude the grass and trees are produced on it, birds and beasts dwell on it, and the precious things which men treasure up are found in it. There is this water; it appears only a ladleful, but, when we think of its unfathomable depths, the largest tortoises, iguanas, iguanadons, dragons, fishes, and turtles are produced in them, and articles of value and sources of wealth abound in them.
39. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘The ordinances of Heaven, How profound are they and unceasing!’ intimating that it is thus that Heaven is Heaven. And again:-- ‘Oh! how illustrious was the singleness of the virtue of king Wan!’ intimating that it was thus that king Wan was the accomplished king, by his singleness unceasing.
40. How great is the course of the sage! Like an overflowing flood it sends forth and nourishes all things! It rises up to the height of heaven.
41. How complete is its greatness! It embraces the three hundred usages of ceremony, and the three thousand modes of demeanour. It waits for the right man, and then it is trodden. Hence it is said, ‘If there be not perfect virtue, the perfect path cannot be exemplified.’
42. Therefore the superior man honours the virtuous nature, and pursues the path of inquiry and study regarding it; seeking to carry it out in its breadth and greatness, so as to omit none of the exquisite and minute points which it embraces; raising it to its greatest height and brilliancy, so as to be found in the way of equilibrium and harmony. He cherishes his old knowledge so as continually to be acquiring new, and thus manifests an honest, generous, earnestness in the esteem and practice of all propriety.
43. Therefore, when occupying a high situation he is not proud, and in a low situation he is not insubordinate. If the state is well-governed, his words are able to promote its prosperity; and if it be ill-governed, his silence is sufficient to secure forbearance for himself.
44. Is not this what is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘Intelligent is he and wise, Protecting his own person?’
45. The Master said, ‘Let a man who is ignorant be fond of using his own judgment: let one who is in a low situation be fond of arrogating a directing power; let one who is living in the present age go back to the ways of antiquity;--on all who act thus calamity is sure to come.’
46. To no one but the son of Heaven does it belong to discuss the subject of ceremonial usages; to fix the measures; and to determine the names of the written characters.
47. Now, throughout the whole kingdom, carriages have all wheels of the same breadth of rim, all writing is with the same characters; and for conduct there are the same rules.
48. One may occupy the throne, but if he have not the proper virtue, he should not presume to make ceremonies or music. One may have the virtue, but if he have not the throne, he in the same way should not presume to make ceremonies or music.
49. The Master said, ‘I might speak of the ceremonies of Hsiâ, but Khî could not sufficiently attest my words. I have learned the ceremonies of Yin, and they are preserved in Sung. I have learned the ceremonies of Kâu, and they are now used. I follow Kâu.’
50. If he who attains to the sovereignty of all the kingdom attach the due importance to those three points, there are likely to be few errors among the people.
51. However excellent may have been the regulations of those of former times, they cannot be attested. Not being attested, they cannot command credence. Not commanding credence, the people would not follow them. However excellent might be those of one in an inferior station, they would not be honoured. Not honoured, they would not command credence. Not commanding credence, the people would not follow them.
52. Therefore the course of the superior man is rooted in his own character and conduct, and attested by the multitudes of the people. He examines his institutions by comparison with those of the founders of the three dynasties, and finds them without mistake. He sets them up before heaven and earth, and there is nothing in them contrary to their mode of operation. He presents himself with them before Spiritual Beings, and no doubts about them arise. He is prepared to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages hence, and has no misgivings. That he can present himself with them before Spiritual Beings, without any doubts about them arising, shows that he knows Heaven; that he is prepared to wait for the rise of a sage a hundred ages hence, without any misgivings, shows that he knows men.
53. Therefore the movements of the superior man mark out for ages the path for all under heaven; his actions are the law for ages for all under heaven; and his words are for ages the pattern for all under heaven. Those who are far from him look longingly for him, and those who are near are never weary of him.
54. It is said in the Book of Poetry IV, ‘There in their own states are they loved, Nor tired of are they here; Their fame through lapse of time shall grow, Both day and night, more clear.’
Never has a superior man obtained an early renown throughout the kingdom who did not correspond to this description.
55. Kung-nî handed down the views of Yâo and Shun as if they had been his ancestors, and elegantly displayed the ways of Wan and Wû, taking them as his model. Above, he adopted as his law the seasons of heaven; and below, he conformed to the water and land.
56. He may be compared to heaven and earth in their supporting and containing, their overshadowing and curtaining all things. He may be compared to the four seasons in their alternating progress, and to the sun and moon in their successive shining. All things are nourished together without their injuring one another; the courses of the seasons and of the sun and moon proceed without any collision among them. The smaller energies are like river-currents; the greater energies are seen in might transformations. It is this which makes heaven and earth so great.
57. It is only he possessed of all sagely qualities that can exist under heaven, who shows himself quick in apprehension, clear in discernment, of far-reaching intelligence and all-embracing knowledge, fitted to exercise rule; magnanimous, generous, benign, and mild, fitted to exercise forbearance; impulsive, energetic, firm, and enduring, fitted to maintain a strong hold; self-adjusted, grave, never swerving from the mean, and correct, fitted to command respect; accomplished, distinctive, concentrative, and searching, fitted to exercise discrimination.
58. All-embracing is he and vast, deep and active as a fountain, sending forth in their due seasons these qualities.
59. All-embracing is he and vast like heaven. Deep and active as a fountain, he is like an abyss. He shows himself, and the people all revere him; he speaks, and the people all believe him; he acts, and the people all are pleased with him. In this way his fame overspreads the Middle kingdom, and extends to all barbarous tribes. Wherever ships and carriages reach; wherever the strength of man penetrates; wherever the heavens overshadow and the earth sustains; wherever the sun and moon shine; wherever frosts and dews fall; all who have blood and breath unfeignedly honour and love him. Hence it is said, ‘He is the equal of Heaven.’
60. It is only he among all under heaven who is entirely perfect that can adjust and blend together the great standard duties of all under heaven, establish the great fundamental principles of all, and know the transforming and nourishing operations of heaven and earth.
61. How shall this individual have any one beyond himself on whom he depends? Call him man in his ideal, how earnest is he! Call him an abyss, how deep is he! Call him Heaven, how vast is he!
62. Who can know him but he who is indeed quick in apprehension and clear in discernment, of sagely wisdom, and all-embracing knowledge, possessing heavenly virtue?
63. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘Over her embroidered robe she wears a plain garment;’ expressing how the wearer disliked the display of the beauty of the robe. Just so, it is the way of the superior man to prefer the concealment of his virtue, while it daily becomes more illustrious, and it is the way of the small man to seek notoriety, while he daily goes more and more to ruin.
64. It is characteristic of the superior man, appearing insipid, yet not to produce satiety; preferring a simple negligence, yet to have his accomplishments recognised; seeming mild and simple, yet to be discriminating. He knows how what is distant lies in what is near. He knows where the wind proceeds from. He knows how what is minute becomes manifested. He, we may be assured, will enter the innermost recesses of virtue.
65. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘Though they dive to the bottom, and lie there, they are very clearly seen.’ Therefore the superior man internally examines his heart, that there may be nothing wrong there, and no occasion for dissatisfaction with himself.
66. That wherein the superior man cannot be equalled is simply this,--his work which other men do not see. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘When in your chamber, ‘neath its light, Maintain your conscience pure and bright.’
67. Therefore the superior man, even when he is not acting, has the feeling of reverence; and when he does not speak, he has the feeling of truthfulness. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘These offerings we set forth without a word,
Without contention, and with one accord, to beg the presence of the honoured lord.’
68. Therefore the superior man does not use rewards, and the people are stimulated to virtue; he does not show anger, and the people are awed more than by hatchets and battle-axes. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘What is most distinguished is the being virtuous; It will secure the imitation of all the princes.’
69. Therefore the superior man being sincerely reverential, the whole kingdom is made tranquil. It is said in the Book of Poetry, ‘I am pleased with your intelligent virtue, Not loudly proclaimed, nor pourtrayed.’
70. The Master said, ‘Among the appliances to transform the people, sounds and appearances may seem to have a trivial effect. But it is said in another ode, “Virtue is light as a hair.” But a hair will still admit of comparison as to its size. In what is said in another ode, “The doings of high Heaven,
have neither sound nor odour,” We have the highest description of transforming virtue.’