The 13th chapter of the Analects

1. A disciple of Confucius enquired how to conduct the government of country. Confucius answered, “Go before the people with your example; show them your exertion.” The disciple asked for something more. “Be indefatigable in that,” replied Confucius.

2. Another disciple, who was in the service of a powerful noble in Confucius’ native State, enquired how to conduct the government of the country.
Confucius answered, “Leave the initiative in the details of government to the responsible heads of the departments. Over-look small short-comings; and advance men of ability and worth.” “But,” answered the disciple, “how am I to know who are men of ability and worth?” “Advance those,” replied Confucius, “whom you already know there is then no fear that those whom you do not know will be neglected.”

3. A disciple, the intrepid Chung Yu, said to Confucius on one occasion when the reigning prince of a certain State was negotiating for Confucius to enter his service: “The prince is waiting, sir, to entrust the government of the country to you. Now what do you consider the first thing to be done?”
“If I must begin,” answered Confucius, “I would begin by defining the names of things.”
“Oh! Really,” replied the disciple, —“but you are too impractical. What has definition of names to do here?” “Sir,” replied Confucius, “you have really no manners. A gentleman, when he hears anything he does not understand, will always wait for an explanation.”
“Now, if names of things are not properly defined, words will not correspond to facts. When words do not correspond to facts, it is impossible to perfect anything. Where it is impossible to perfect anything, the arts and institutions of civilization cannot flourish. When the arts and institutions of civilization cannot flourish, law and justice cannot attain their ends; and when law and justice do not attain their ends, the people will be at a loss to know what to do. Therefore a wise and good man can always specify whatever he names; whatever he can specify, he can carry out. A wise and good man makes it a point always to be exact in the words he uses.”

4. A disciple of Confucius requested to be taught farming. Confucius answered, “For that I am not as good as an old farmer.”
The disciple then asked to be taught gardening. “For that,” replied Confucius, “I am not as good as an old gardener.”
After the disciple had left, Confucius remarked, “What a petty-minded man he is!”
“When the rulers of a country,” he then went on to say, “encourage education and good manners the people will never fail in respect! When the rulers encourage the love of justice, the people will never fail in obedience; when the rulers encourage good faith, the people will never fail in honesty. In such case, people from all quarters will flock to that country: —what need then has a ruler to know about husbandry?”

5. Confucius remarked, “A man who can recite three hundred pieces of poetry by heart, but who, when the conduct of the affairs of a nation is entrusted to him, can do nothing, and who, when sent on a public mission to a foreign country, has nothing to say for himself, —although such a man has much learning, of what use is it?”

6. Confucius remarked, “if a man is in order in his personal conduct, he will get served even without taking the trouble to give orders. But if a man is not in order in his personal conduct, he may give orders, but his orders will not be obeyed.”

7. Confucius remarked of the state of government of his own State and that of another State in his time: “The one is about the same as the other.”

8. Confucius remarked of a public character of the time that he was admirable in the way in which he ordered the economy of his home. Confucius said: “When he had saved something from his income, he would remark, ‘I have just made ends meet.’ Later on, when he had increased his saving, he would remark, ‘I have just managed to pay for all I require.’ Finally, when he had save a large surplus, he would remark, ‘Now I can just manage to get along pretty well.'”

9. When Confucius on his travels was on one occasion entering a certain State in company with a disciple who was driving the carriage for him, he remarked, “What a large population is here!”
“With such a large population,” asked the disciple, “what should be done?” “Enrich them,” answered Confucius. “And after that?” asked the disciple. “Educate them,” replied Confucius.

10. Confucius on one occasion remarked, “If I were given the conduct of the government of a country now, in one year I should have accomplished something; after three years, I should have put everything in order.”

11. Confucius went on to remark, “It is a common saying that if good honest men had the rule of a country for a hundred years, they could make deeds of violence impossible and could thus dispense with capital punishment. It is a very true saying?”

12. Confucius finally remarked, “If a really God-sent great man were to become Emperor now, it would still take a generation before the people could be moral.”

13. Confucius remarked, “If a man has really put his personal conduct in order, what is there in the government of a country that he should find any difficulty in it? But if a man has not put his personal conduct in order, how can he put in order the people of a country?”

14. On one occasion when a disciple who was In official employment returned from the palace, Confucius said to him, “Why are you so late?” “Oh!” answered the disciple, “We have just had State affairs.” “You mean ‘business’! For if there had been state affairs, although I am not now in office, I should still have been consulted.”

15. The reigning prince of Confucius’ native State enquired if the principle to make a country prosperous could be expressed in one single sentence. Confucius answered, “One cannot expect so much meaning from a single sentence. There is, however, a saying which the people have, ‘ To be a ruler of men is difficult and to be public servant is not easy.’ Now if one only knew that it a difficult to be a ruler of men, would not that alone almost make a country prosperous?”
The prince then asked if the principle to ruin a country could be expressed in one single sentence. Confucius answered, “So much meaning is not to be expected from one single sentence. There is, however, a saying among the people; ‘I find on pleasure in being a ruler of men, except in that whatsoever I order no man shall oppose.’ Now if what is ordered is right, it is well and good that on one oppose it; but if what is ordered is not right and no one opposes it, —is not that alone enough to ruin a country?”

16. The prince of a small principality asked what was essential in the government of a country. Confucius answered, “When there is good government in a country the people at home are happy, and the people in other countries will come.”

17. A disciple of Confucius who was appointed chief magistrate of an important town enquired what was essential in government. Confucius answered, “Do not be in a hurry to get things done. Do not consider petty advantages. If you are in a hurry to get things done, things will not be done thoroughly and well. If you consider petty advantages, you will never accomplish great things.”

18. The reigning prince of a small principality said to Confucius, “Among my people there are men to be found who are so upright that when a father steals a sheep the son is ready to bear witness against him.”
“In our country,” replied Confucius, “The upright men are different from that. They consider it consistent with true uprightness for a father to be silent regarding the misdeed of his son and for a son to be silent concerning the misdeed of his father.”

19. A disciple of Confucius enquired what was essential in a moral life. Confucius answered, “In dealing with yourself, be serious; in business, be earnest; in intercourse with other men, be conscientious. Although you may be living among barbarians and savages, these principles cannot be neglected.”

20. A disciple of Confucius enquired, “What must one be in order to be considered a gentleman?” Confucius answered, “He must be a man of strict personal honour; when sent on a public mission to any country he will not disgrace his mission. Such a man may be considered a gentleman.”
The disciple then asked for a type of gentleman next in degree to the one mentioned above. Confucius answered, “One whom the members of his family hold up as a good son and his fellow citizens hold up as a good citizen.”
The disciple went on to ask for a type of gentleman still next in degree. Confucius answered, “One who makes it a point to carry out what he says and to persist in what he undertakes, a dogged, stubborn little gentleman though he is; such a man may also be considered a type of gentleman next in degree.”
The disciple finally asked, saying, “But now what is your opining of the gentlemen now in the public service?” “They are,” replied Confucius, “only red-taped bureaucrats not worth taking into account.”

21. Confucius remarked, “If I cannot find equitable and reasonable men to have to do with, upon necessity I would choose men of enthusiastic or even fanatical character. Enthusiastic men are zealous and there are always limits which fanatical men would not pass.”

22. Confucius remarked, “The southern people have a saying, ‘A man without perseverance cannot be a doctor or a magician.’ How true! Again, it is said in the I-king, ‘The reputation for a virtue once acquired unless persevered in will lead to disgrace.'” Commenting on this, Confucius remarked, “It is much better not to assume the reputation for the virtue at all.”

23. Confucius remarked, “A wise man is sociable, but not familiar. A fool is familiar but not sociable.”

24. A disciple of Confucius enquired of him, saying, “What do you say of a man who is popular with all his fellow townsmen in a place?” “He is not necessarily a good man,” answered Confucius.
“What do you say then,” asked the disciple, “of a man who is unpopular with all his fellow townsmen?” “He is neither,” replied Confucius, “necessarily a good nor a bad man. A really good man is he who is popular with the good men of a place and unpopular with the bad men.”

25. Confucius remarked, “A wise and good man is easy to serve, but difficult to please. If you go beyond your duty to please him, he will not be pleased. But in his employment of men, he always takes into consideration their capacity. A fool, on the other hand, is easy to please, but difficult to serve. If you go beyond your duty to please him, he will be pleased. But in his employment of men, he expects them to be able to do everything.”

26. Confucius remarked, “A wise man is dignified, but not proud. A fool is proud, but not dignified.”

27. Confucius remarked, “A man of strong, resolute, simple character approaches nearly to the true moral character.”

28. A disciple of Confucius enquired, “What must a man be in order to be considered a gentleman?” Confucius answered, “He must be sympathetic, obliging and affectionate: sympathetic and obliging to his friends and affectionate to the members of his family.”

29. Confucius remarked, “A good honest man, after educating the people for seven years, will be able to lead them to war.”

30. Confucius remarked, “To allow a people to go to battle without first instructing them, is to betray them.”