Heaven Will Help the Virtuous
(Clearwisdom.net) Hong Mai was a well-known writer in China's Song Dynasty. He once recorded a story about Huang Cong. In the story, Huang did good deeds and was thus protected from trouble.
In the year 1119, during the time of Emperor Huizong, Huang Cong was appointed as the head of Minqing County in what today is Fujian Province. He worshiped gods during his daily life. Although a vegetarian himself, every day he bought a serving of meat for his mother. He was a righteous person with dignity, and was not afraid of power. He did not accept gifts from lower officers, nor did he bribe higher officers to please them. Corrupt officers thus hated him.
Taoism was very popular during that time in China's history, and many virtuous Taoists did many good deeds. People thus respected them. A high officer, Huang Mianzhong, was appointed the governor of Fujian Province. After hearing about donations to Taoists because of their good deeds, he was jealous and asked all counties to collect taxes from the Taoists. All the county heads--except Huang Cong--followed the order and collected large amounts of money from the Taoists.
Huang Cong thought that the Taoists were practicing truthfulness and promoting virtuousness, which was good for society and should not be suppressed. Plus, there was no law from the royal court that allowed collecting taxes from Taoists, so he did not follow Governor Huang's order. However, Governor Huang asked him several times about it, so Huang Cong took out 4 months of his own salary and paid for the Taoists' tax. Governor Huang was unhappy and disliked Huang Cong, but he could not do anything.
Later, an opportunity arose for Governor Huang to have his revenge. The emperor sent an officer to each area to evaluate the performance of local officials. Both the emissary and Governor Huang were corrupt and they hated Huang Cong.
After the inspection, the emissary went back to the capital and gave a bad report about Huang Cong to the royal officers. They all thought Huang Cong would be in trouble.
One day, the emissary was accompanying the emperor. Emperor Huizong suddenly asked him, "Among the 12 county heads you have met in Fujian Province, who is the most virtuous?" The emissary did not expect the emperor would ask this question, and his mind went blank. The emperor asked again, and the emissary could only remember one name--Huang Cong, so he hurriedly replied, "Huang Cong is virtuous! Huang Cong is virtuous!"
That same day, the emperor gave an order to promote Huang Cong one level higher, to district head.
After the emissary returned from the Royal Court, his mind went back to normal and he was able to speak easily. He regretted having said a good word for Huang Cong.
The emissary later told his family what happened. His family said, "That is strange. You did something just the opposite of what you wanted to." Soon afterwards, officials in the royal court also heard about this and discussed it. They concluded that Huang Cong was rewarded by heaven for his virtuousness. Even the emissary himself admitted it.