Chen Ziqin said to Zigong, “You show reverence to Confucius, but how could he be more worthy than you?”
Zigong replied, “A gentleman can be judged wise or unwise on the basis of a single comment—this is why one cannot fail to be careful in one’s speech. One cannot equal the Master anymore than one can climb a stairway to the heavens. Had the Master acquired control of a state or noble family, then, as they say: ‘When he raised them up, they would stand; when he led them forward they would advance; when he comforted them they would come; and when he moved them they would become harmonious.’ His birth was glorious and his death was universally mourned. How could anyone equal him?”Confucius, & Slingerland, E. (2003). Analects: With selections from traditional commentaries. Hackett Publishing.
Chen Ziqin said to Zigong, You are being too modest. How could Zhongni be a worthier man than you?
Zigong said, The gentleman speaks one word and shows that he is wise, speaks one word and shows that he is unwise. Therefore, he must be careful how he speaks. Our Master can no more be equaled than one can mount a stairway to the sky. If our Master were to preside over a state or a powerful family, then, as the saying has it, If he raised them, they would stand; if he led, they would go forward; if he chose peace, they would flock around; if he moved, they would move in harmony. In life he is glorious; in death, deeply mourned. How, then, could he be equaled?Confucius, & Watson, B. (2007). The Analects of Confucius. Columbia University Press.