Yao said, “Oh, you Shun! The orderly succession of Heaven now rests upon your shoulders. Hold faithfully to the mean. If those within the Four Seas should fall into hardship and poverty, Heaven’s emoluments will be cut off from you forever.”
Shun charged Yu with the same words.
[Tang] said, “I, your little child Lü, dare to offer up a black bull in sacrifice, and make so bold as to plainly declare to you, my Most August Sovereign Lord, that I do not dare to pardon those who have committed offenses. Your servant, Lord, conceals nothing; examine my actions with your mind, oh Lord. If I should personally commit an offense, let not the punishment be visited upon the inhabitants of the myriad regions; if the inhabitants of the myriad regions commit offenses, let the punishment be visited upon me personally.”
The Zhou were generously endowed, rich in excellent men.
[King Wu said,] “Though I may have many close kinsmen, it is better to employ Good men. If any of the Hundred Clans commit a transgression, let the punishment be visited upon me alone.”
He was scrupulous about weights and measures, carefully examined models and regulations, restored neglected official posts, and the administration of the four quarters was thereby carried out.
He restored destroyed states, re-established interrupted lines of succession, raised lost people back into prominence, and the hearts and minds of all the people in the world turned to him.
He gave weight to the people, food, mourning, and sacrifice.
Generous, he won over the masses. Trustworthy, the people put their faith in him. Diligent, he was successful. Just, [the people] were pleased.Confucius, & Slingerland, E. (2003). Analects: With selections from traditional commentaries. Hackett Publishing.
Yao said, Ah, you, Shun—the destiny decreed by Heaven rests with you. Hold sincerely to the center. If those within the four seas suffer hardship and want, Heaven’s bounty will end forever.
And Shun voiced the same command [when he ceded the throne] to Yu.
[Tang] said, I, the little one, Lu, venture to sacrifice this black ox, I venture to report clearly to the most august Lord above. The guilty one I have not ventured to pardon, but I do nothing to hinder the Lord’s officials. May they be chosen in accordance with the Lord’s will. If there is blame on my part, let the ten thousand regions not suffer. If the ten thousand regions have any blame, let that blame rest on me.
Zhou has received great gifts; good persons are enriched. Although Zhou has kinsmen, they cannot equal persons of humaneness. If the people have any fault, may the blame be upon me alone.
Carefully adjust the weights and measures; clarify the laws and regulations; restore offices that have been discontinued—then the governing of the four directions will proceed. Reestablish states that have been wiped out; appoint heirs to successions that have come to an end; promote men who have gone into hiding—then the people of the empire will give their hearts to you. What is to be held in esteem: the people, food, mourning, and sacrifice.
Be tolerant, and you win over the multitude. Be trustworthy, and the people will trust you. Be diligent, and your work will go well. Be fair, and the people will rejoice.Confucius, & Watson, B. (2007). The Analects of Confucius. Columbia University Press.