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LE LOW. PART I.
CHAPTER I. 1. Mencius said, “ The power of vision of Le Low, and skill of hand of Kung-shoo, without the
square, could not form squares and circles. The acute ear of the music-master Kfwang, without the pitch-tubes, could not determine correctly the five notes. The principles of Yaou and Shun, without a benevolent government, could not secure the tranquil order of the empire.
2. “ There are now princes who have benevolent hearts, and a reputation for benevolence, while yet the people do not receive any benefits from them, nor will they leave any example to future ages ;-all because they do not put into practice the ways of the ancient kings.
3. “Hence we have the saying :-/Virtue alone is not sufficient for the exercise of government; laws alone cannot carry themselves into practice.' 4. “ It is said in the Book of Poetry,
• Without transgression, without forgetfulness,
Following the ancient canons. Never has any one fallen into error, who followed the laws of the ancient kings.
5. “When the sages had used the vigour of their eyes, they called in to their aid the compass, the square, the level, and the line, to make things square, rourid, level, and straight:—the use of the instruments is inexhaustible. · When they had used their power of hear
ing to the utmost, they called in the pitch-tubes to their aid to determine the five notes : the use of those tubes is inexhaustible. When they had exerted to the utmost the thoughts of their hearts, they called in to their aid a government that could not endure to witness the sufferings of men :—and their benevolence overspread the empire.
6. 5. Hence we have the saying:—To raise a thing high, we must begin from the top of a mound or a hill; to dig to a great depth, we must commence in the low ground of a stream or a marsh. Can he be pronounced wise, who, in the exercise of government, does not proceed according to the ways of the former kings ?
7. “ Therefore only the benevolent ought to be in high stations. When a man destitute of benevolence is in a high station, he thereby disseminates his wickedness among all below him.
8. “When the prince has no principles by which he examines his administration, and his ministers have no laws by which they keep themselves in the discharge of their duties, then in the court obedience is not paid to principle, and in the office obedience is not paid to rule. Superiors violate the laws of righteousness, and inferiors violate the penal laws. It is only by a fortunate chance that a kingdom in such a case is preserved.
9. “ Therefore it is said, “It is not the exterior and interior walls being incomplete, and the supply of weapons offensive and defensive not being large, which constitutes the calamity of a kingdom. It is not the cultivable area not being extended, and stores and wealth not being accumulated, which occasions the ruin of a kingdom. When superiors do not observe the rules of propriety, and inferiors do not learn, then seditious people spring up, and that kingdom will perish in no time.
10. “ It is said in the Book of Poetry,
• When such an overthrow of Chow is being pro
duced by Heaven,
Be not ye so much at your ease ! 11. “At your ease; '—that is, dilatory.
12. “ And so dilatory may those officers be deemed, who serve their prince without righteousness, who take office and retire from it without regard to propriety, and who in their words disown the ways of the ancient kings.
13. “ Therefore it is said, “To urge one's sovereign to difficult achievements may be called showing respect for him. To set before him what is good and repress his perversities, may be called showing reverence for him. He who does not do these things, saying to himself,—My sovereign is incompetent to this, may be said to play the thief with him.””
II. 1. Mencius said, “ The compass and square produce perfect circles and squares. By the sages, the human relations are perfectly exhibited.
2. “He who as a sovereign would perfectly discharge the duties of a sovereign, and he who as a minister would perfectly discharge the duties of a minister, have only to imitate—the one Yaou, and the other Shun. He who does not serve his sovereign as Shun served Yaou, does not respect his sovereign, and he who does not rule his people as Yaou ruled his, injures his people.
3. “ Confucius said, “There are but two courses, which can be pursued, that of virtue and its opposite.'
4. “A sovereign who carries the oppression of his people to the highest pitch, will himself be slain, and his kingdom will perish. If one stop short of the highest pitch, his life will notwithstanding be in danger, and his kingdom will be weakened. He will be styled “The dark, or "The cruel, and though he may have-filial sons and affectionate grandsons, they will not be able in a hundred generations to change the designation.
5. “ This is what is intended in the words of the Book of Poetry,
• The beacon of Yin was not remote,
It was in the time of the sovereign of Hea."" III. 1. Mencius said, “It was by benevolence that the three dynasties gained the empire, and by not be ing benevolent that they lost it.
2. “ It is by the same means that the decaying and flourishing, the preservation and perishing of States are determined.
3. “ If the emperor be not benevolent, he cannot preserve the empire from passing from him. If the sovereign of a State be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his kingdom. If a high noble or great officer be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his ancestral temple. If a scholar or common man be not benevolent, he cannot preserve his four limbs.
4.““ Now they hate death and ruin, and yet delight in being not benevolent;—this is like hating to be drunk, and yet being strong to drink wine.”
IV. 1. Mencius said, “If a man love others, and no responsive attachment is shown to him, let him turn in
and examine his own benevolence. If he is trying to rule others, and his government is unsuccessful, let him turn inwards and examine his wisdom. If he treats others politely, and they do not return his politeness, let him turn inwards and examine his own feeling of respect.
2. “When we do not, by what we do, realize what we desire, we must turn inwards, and examine ourselves in every point. When a man's person is correct, the whole empire will turn to him with recognition and submission. 3. “It is said in the Book of Poetry,
• Be always studious to be in harmony with the
ordinances of God,
V. Mencius said, “ People have this common saying, --- The empire, the State, the fainily. The root of the empire is in the State. The root of the State is in the family. The root of the family is in the person of its head."
VI. Mencius said, “ The administration of government is not difficult;- it lies in not offending the great families. He whom the great families affect, will be affected by the whole State, and he whom any one State affects, will be affected by the whole empire. When this is the case, such an one's virtue and teachings will spread over all within the four seas like the rush of water."
VII. 1. Mencius said, “When right government prevails in the empire, princes of little virtue are submissive to those of great, and those of little worth, to those of great. When bad government prevails in the empire, princes of small power are submissive to those of great, and the weak to the strong. Both these cases are the rule of Heaven. They who accord with Heaven are preserved, and they who rebel against Heaven perish.
“ The duke King of Ts'e said, “Not to be able to command others, and at the same time to refuse to receive their commands, is to cut one's-self off from all intercourse with others. His tears flowed forth while he gave his daughter to be married to the prince of Woo.
3. “ Now the small States imitate the large, and yet are ashamed to receive their commands. This is like a scholar's being ashamed to receive the commands of his master.
4. “For a prince who is ashamed of this, the best plan is to imitate king Wan. Let one imitate king Wan, and in five years, if his State be large, or in seven years, if it be small, he will be sure to give laws to the empire.