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The Book of Filial Duty, by Ivan Chen, [1908], at



The good Emperors of old ruled the Empire by means of filial duty, and dared not neglect the ministers of their vassal states. How much less

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the dukes, marquises, earls, viscounts, and barons! They thereby gained the goodwill of all their vassal states, which sent their deputies to represent them in any sacrifice offered to the ancestors of their Supreme Master. This is what we mean by saying that the good Emperors of old governed the world by filial duty.

As to the vassal states, their rulers dared not treat widowers and widows with insolence; how then could they dare act so towards the literary class and the people? Hence they gained the good-will of their subjects, and the latter would join them in offering sacrifices to their ancestors.

Now we may say a word about a family. If the head of a family do not act haughtily towards his servant, he cannot act so to his wife and children. Hence he will gain the goodwill of all his people, and they will help him in the fulfilment of his filial duty. In such a family the parents must feel happy when they are living, and their spirits must come to enjoy the sacrifice when they are dead. By the principle of filial duty the whole world can be made happy and all calamities and dangers can be averted. Such was the government of the Empire by the enlightened rulers of old, in accordance with the principle of filial duty.

In the Shih Ching it is thus written: "If you adorn yourself with the highest virtue, the whole world will follow you."

Next: Chapter IX: Government by the Sage