posted 16 Mar 2013, 02:50 by Jim Sheng   [ updated 18 Mar 2013, 19:14 ]
[By the Duke of Chou, who died 1105 B.C. This Edict was issued by order of King Ch'eng, the second actual sovereign of Chou dynasty. A. Giles said King Ch'eng was “the Duke's elder brother” in this book, this is not right. Duke of Chou was younger brother of King Wen. King Ch'eng was his nephew, the son of King Wu.]

THUS saith the King: -- "Make known these important commands in the State of Mei. 

"When our great and good father, King Wen, laid the foundations of our empire in the west, daily and nightly he warned his officials, saying, 'For sacrifice you may use wine.' And whenever God has favoured the people, it has been because wine was in use only at the great sacrifices. But whenever God has sent down His terrors, and the people have become disorganized and have lost their moral balance, this has always been due to indulgence in wine. So too when States, small and great alike, have similarly suffered, misuse of wine has always been the cause of their downfall. 

"Hearken, then, to these instructions, all you high officers and others! When you have done your duty in ministering to your parents and serving your sovereign, then you may drink and eat until you are tipsy and replete. Again, when after constant examination and a course of virtuous conduct you have ministered with sacrifices to the spirits, then you may proceed to indulge yourselves with festivity. Thus, you will be serving your sovereign, God will approve of your great virtue, and you will never be forgotten by the royal House. 

"The drunkenness of the last ruler of the House of Yin, and of his creatures, caused the resentment of the people to be heard on high; and God sent down calamity on Yin, because of these excesses God is not cruel; people bring punishment on themselves. 

"It is not a pleasure to me to issue these numerous commands. The ancients had a saying, 'A man should not seek to see himself in water, but as reflected in other people.' Ought we not then to look back to the House of Yin, which has now perished, in order to secure repose for our own times? 

"If persons congregate together to drink, let them all be seized and sent to me at the capital; I will put them to death. Those officers of the House of Yin who have always been accustomed to drink may be exempted from this penalty. Let them be taught ; and then, if they obey, they may be allowed to enjoy distinction. Otherwise, I will show no pity."