What the Great Learning teaches, is to illustrate illustrious
virtue; to renovate the people; and to rest in the highest excellence.
The point where to rest being known, the object of pursuit is then
determined; and, that being determined, a calm unperturbedness may
be attained to. To that calmness there will succeed a tranquil repose.
In that repose there may be careful deliberation, and that
deliberation will be followed by the attainment of the desired end.
Things have their root and their branches. Affairs have their end
and their beginning. To know what is first and what is last will
lead near to what is taught in the Great Learning.
The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue
throughout the kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing
to order well their states, they first regulated their families.
Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their
persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified
their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be
sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts,
they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of
knowledge lay in the investigation of things.
Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their
knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their
thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts
being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being
cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being
regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being
rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy.
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