Front Page Titles (by Subject) Proposition VI - The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy
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Proposition VI - George Turnbull, The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy 
The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy, ed. and with an Introduction by Alexander Broadie (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2005).
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If the rule defined be really observed with respect to mankind, in their present state, we have ground to conclude, that it is an universal law in God’s moral government.
Now upon this head I would only observe two things.
I. That it hath been inferred to be a rule necessary to good administration, or that makes good administration, from the very nature of good, or even of equal administration of moral beings. It hath therefore been already proved, to be an universal rule in good and equal moral government. It hath not been inferred to be a rule in God’s government of man, from any thing particular in man’s frame; but from the consideration of properties, common to all moral beings; and from attributes of God, which must influence and guide his conduct universally: it hath therefore been deduced from such principles, as prove it to be an universal law. But,
II. If it can be once proved from experience, to be a rule that takes place, with respect to mankind here in their present state, as shall be proved immediately, it may from hence be inferred to be an universal law in all moral systems, if analogy be a good foundation to reason upon in any case.
Philosophers have so fully explained reasoning from analogy, with the other kinds of evidence, that I need not now do it; and that we must act upon presumptions founded upon analogy, no person who understands<68> the term, and the affairs of life, will deny. ’Tis therefore sufficient for my purpose to observe, that we may conclude, any rule, which by taking place among men, contributes to their dignity and happiness as moral agents, to take place also among all other moral beings: Or, 1. It is absurd to conclude, from the prevalence of gravitation, as far as experiment can reach, that it obtains universally, throughout the whole material system, even though all other appearances of the most remote celestial bodies to us, may be accounted for by it. For the one case is precisely parallel to the other: the former amounting only to this, that a rule which is found to prevail among mankind, or more properly speaking, in the government of mankind, which sufficiently accounts for the equity and goodness of the ways of providence towards man, may be concluded to prevail universally in all systems of beings, which are analogous to man, in respect of our moral powers; since that law being supposed to take place so universally, the administration of beings will be universally equal, just, nay good. And why is gravitation concluded to be an universal law, but because it obtains as far as we carry experiment; and gives an orderly, consistent, harmonious account of the most distant appearances. 2. But which is more, if this rule is found to obtain with respect to mankind, it may be justly concluded to be an universal law in all moral systems: Or all moral beings are analogous as moral beings, and yet not governed by a law, suited to the powers in which chiefly they are, or can be similar to one another. However different moral beings may be from one another in degrees, numbers, and extent of powers; yet beings which are of a moral nature must be like one another in this respect, that they have reason, and are capable of discerning the relations of objects; the fitnesses and unfitnesses of affections and actions, with respect to objects, persons, or other affections and actions, and of conducting<69> their behaviour by this moral sense or moral knowledge. Now to suppose beings so far alike, and yet the happiness and improvements of one sort of such analogous beings, and not of the other, to be conformable or proportionable to their conduct, to their choice and pursuits, is to suppose them to be unlike in the most essential, or at least the most important part belonging to the powers of reason and free agency, in which they are analogous. But why need we insist longer in reasoning from analogy, to prove a thing that is necessarily included, as hath been already shewn, in the very nature of a moral being; or without supposing which, no definition can be given of moral agents, that can distinguish them from inferior beings, who have no sphere of activity, no guiding or ruling principle in their constitution? I proceed therefore to enquire, whether experience be agreeable to what hath been inferred abstractly from the nature of things, concerning man, and all rational beings; that is, whether it be really in fact the rule in the government of mankind, “That whatsoever a man so weth, that shall he also reap.” For however convincive abstract reasonings may be, yet such is our make, who are framed to gather the principal part of our knowledge from experience, that no demonstration is more, if equally satisfactory to our mind, than plain indisputable experience: an admirable instance of the care of our Maker to adjust our frame to our circumstances.