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Book of Documents 尚書

商書 高宗肜日 Shang Shu - Day of the Supplementary Sacrifice to Gao

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On the day of the supplementary sacrifice of Gao Zong, there appeared a crowing pheasant. Zu Ji said, 'To rectify this affair, the king must first be corrected.' He delivered accordingly a lesson to the king, saying, 'In its inspection of men below, Heaven's first consideration is of their righteousness, and it bestows on them (accordingly) length of years or the contrary. It is not Heaven that cuts short men's lives; they bring them to an end themselves. Some men who have not complied with virtue will yet not acknowledge their offences, and when Heaven has by evident tokens charged them to correct their conduct, they still say, "What are these things to us?" Oh! our Majesty's business is to care reverently for the people. And all (your ancestors) were the heirs of (the kingdom by the gift of Heaven; in attending to the sacrifices (to them), be not so excessive in those to your father.'

English translation: James Legge

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