The Master said, 'Anciently, when the intelligent kings by means of filial piety ruled all under heaven, they did not dare to receive with disrespect the ministers of small states;--how much less would they do so to the dukes, marquises, counts, and barons!' Thus it was that they got (the princes of) the-myriad states with joyful hearts (to assist them) in-the (sacrificial) services to their royal predecessors 3.
'The rulers of states did not dare to slight wifeless men and widows;--how much less would they slight their officers and the people! Thus it was that they got all their people with joyful hearts (to assist them) in serving the rulers, their predecessors 1.
'The heads of clans did not dare to slight their servants and concubines;--how much less would they slight their wives and sons! Thus it was that they got their men with joyful hearts (to assist them) in the service of their parents.
'In such a state of things, while alive, parents reposed in (the glory of) their sons; and, when sacrificed to, their disembodied spirits enjoyed their offerings 2. Therefore all under heaven peace and harmony prevailed; disasters and calamities did not occur; misfortunes and rebellions did not arise.
'It is said in the Book of Poetry 3,
474:3 Under the Kâu dynasty there were five orders of nobility, and the states belonging to their rulers varied proportionally in size. There were besides many smaller states attached to these. The feudal lords at stated times appeared at the royal court, and one important duty which then devolved on them was to take part in the sacrificial services of the sovereign in the ancestral temple.
475:1 These services were also the sacrifices in the ancestral temples of the rulers of the states and of the chiefs of clans,--the feudal princes and the ministers and great officers of chapters 3 and 4.
475:2 In the Chinese Repository we read here:--'Parents enjoyed tranquillity while they lived, and after their decease sacrifices were offered to their disembodied spirits.' To the same effect P. Cibot:--'Les pères et mères étoient heureux pendant la vie, et après leur mort leurs âmes étoient consolées par des Tsî (sacrifices).' I believe that I have caught the meaning more exactly.
475:3 See the Shih, III, iii, ode 2, stanza 2.