1. WHOEVER is born into the world is in part possessor of the world by fact of his birth. All come into the p. 475b world naked and helpless, and they deserve our assistance because of helplessness. To help the helpless is the highest virtue.
2. Two wise men are greater than one; a nation of wise men, what could be greater than this? Yet all men come into the world knowing nothing; to give them great wisdom is to make the nations wise and great. To open the avenues on every side to great learning, this is the foundation for a great kingdom
3. To have the soil tilled, is this not greater than hunting and fishing? To throw the lands open in the east and west, north and south, to the tiller of the soil, this is the foundation of plenty. When the poor and ignorant are supplied with what to eat and to wear, with a place to live, there is little crime, but great virtue; and such are great strength in that kingdom.
4. To hold more land than one can till is to sin against them that have none, who have not wherewith to live or to earn a living. Yea, such a one is an enemy to the nation.
5. There are two kinds of governments: one is government for the government; and the other is government for the people. The latter government the people will endorse, and by their wills make mighty. The former government seeketh to make itself mighty at the expense of the people. Such a government is in the throes of death.
6. To make government and people one, as to prosperity and peace; this is the highest government. For the government to render unto the people bountifully, as to land and water, and as to great learning, and to music, this is the wisest, best government.
7. What man is there that loveth not liberty, the chief of all desires? Can a government abridge this without crippling itself or forfeiting the love and co-operation of its people? To bestow liberty, and maintain it unto all people, this is the greatest good thing a government can do.
8. But who shall say what is liberty, and the end thereof? A man shall not have liberty that offendeth his neighbor, or depriveth him of virtuous livelihood. No man should run naked; nor should a man have liberty to go into another's field and take his harvest. How, then, shall the government take a man's possessions against his will? But he who hath received great p. 476b learning will not offend by nakedness, nor by taking that which is another's.
9. What, then, is greater than for a government to bestow great learning on the people? It is not enough to say to the poor: Here is land; feed yourselves. But men of great learning shall be sent amongst them, showing them how to till the soil, and how to build, and to keep themselves pure in soul and body. For great learning is not in the books only; nay, there be men of great knowledge as to books, who are themselves gluttons and debauchees, and bigots, and tyrants, and base authority. Such men have not great learning; in fact, but great vanity.
10. Two kingdoms, lying side by side; in the one are great philosophers and colleges, but the multitude are in want; in the other kingdom there are no philosophers as such, nor colleges; but the multitude have plenty: The latter is a kingdom of greater learning than the former. For of what consisteth great learning, but in knowing how to live wisely? A few philosophers are not a nation, to bestow such knowledge on the people as will enable them to live wisely and be happy to a good old age, this is the labor of the best, great government.
11. It is a common saying that such and such a king is a great king, because, forsooth, he hath founded colleges. And this is no small matter. But how much greater is the king who founded a thousand poor families, and taught them how to live wisely?
12. To make a law to prevent liberty; to bind slaves more rigidly, is to weaken the nation; to weaken the kingdom. For, see ye, a man had ten servants, and they were free; then he bound nine of them with chains, and complained because they served him not well. He was a fool.
13. To labor for one's self at the expense of the state, is to rob the state; to horde up possessions is to rob the poor. What treasure hath any man that he can take out of the world? Better is it to give it whilst one may, for to-morrow we die, leaving it to them that earnt it not.
14. The highest peace is the peace of the soul, which cometh of consciousness of having done the wisest and best in all things according to one's own light. For after all, is not the p. 477b earth-life but the beginning, wherein we are as in a womb, molding our souls into the condition which will come upon us after death? In which case we should with alacrity seize upon the passing of time and appropriate it to doing righteous works to one another.
Next: Book of the Arc of Bon.: Chapter VIII