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Book of Documents 《尚書》

周書 微子之命 Zhou Shu - Charge to the Count of Wei


The king speaks to the following effect: 'Ho! eldest son of the king of Yin, examining into antiquity, (I find) that the honouring of the virtuous (belongs to their descendants) who resemble them in worth, and (I appoint) you to continue the line of the kings your ancestors, observing their ceremonies and taking care of their various relics. Come (also) as a guest to our royal House, and enjoy the prosperity of our kingdom, for ever and ever without end.
'Oh! your ancestor, Tang the Successful, was reverent and sage, (with a virtue) vast and deep. The favour and help of great Heaven lighted upon him, and he grandly received its appointment, to soothe the people by his gentleness, and remove the wicked oppressions from which they were suffering. His achievements affected his age, and his virtue was transmitted to his posterity. And you are the one who pursue and cultivate his plans; this praise has belonged to you for long. Reverently and carefully have you discharged your filial duties; gravely and respectfully you behave to spirits and to men. I admire your virtue, and pronounce it great and not to be forgotten. God will always enjoy your offerings; the people will be reverently harmonious (under your sway). I raise you therefore to the rank of high duke, to rule this eastern part of our great land.
'Be reverent. Go and diffuse abroad your instructions. Be carefully observant of your robes and (other accompaniments of) your appointment; follow and observe the proper statutes - so as to prove a bulwark to the royal House. Enlarge (the fame of) your meritorious ancestor; be a law to your people - so as for ever to preserve your dignity. (So also) shall you be a help to me, the One man; future ages will enjoy (the benefit of) your virtue; all the states will take you for a pattern; and thus you will make our dynasty of Zhou never weary of you.
Oh! go, and be prosperous. Do not disregard my charge.'

English translation: James Legge

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