Front Page Titles (by Subject) Corolary I - The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy
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Corolary I - 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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From the proceeding accounts of divine providence, it plainly follows, that all is conducted by infinite wisdom, goodness, veracity, faithfulness and mercy: all therefore is right or perfect. But how is it right or perfect?
I. Not in such a sense, as if by the corruptions of mankind several miseries were not introduced into the world, without which it would be a much happier, a much better, and more perfect state; but because the<208> general laws by which all is governed, and whence proceed all the consequences of corruption among mankind, are excellent, are perfect, and cannot be changed but to the worse; being the choice of infinite wisdom and mercy, because they are the best. In a moral government, the consequences of vice and corruption must be very different from those of virtue. But consequences of all sorts in our system are the effects of general laws, admirably calculated for the best, and by the observance of which the greater good in the whole will be effectually accomplished. The government of the world is perfect, because all the powers, and all the consequences of all the powers, and laws of powers belonging to it, are such as they ought to be in order to greater good, the sole end of an infinitely wise and good being in all his administration. Yet after all,
II. Let it be remembered, that when all that is, is said to be perfect and right, it is only said to be so as a part of an excellent or perfect whole, carried on by providence for the greater good in the sum of things. All is perfect, considered as a part of an advancing scheme, which is absolutely good. But considered as a whole ending with this life of man, it is not then perfect, but very imperfect. And therefore it cannot end in that manner; but it must be only a part that hath a much further respect even to an immortal life to come. The work, the contrivance of an infinitely perfect being must be perfect; and upon supposition, that this life is not the whole of providence with regard to man, but a part only, as it plainly appears to be, we can sufficiently account for every thing. What therefore remains to be concluded, but as instinct or natural hope prompts us to expect, and as the scripture fully assures us, “that this is not the whole of our existence, the whole of providence with regard to us, but a part, a very small part only.” There must be, in the nature of things, a very great difference between<209> a part of a whole considered as a part, and considered as a whole; What, in the later sense or view, would be very imperfect, very incomplete, nay, very bad, may, in the other sense or view, be very perfect and good. Now as the arguments à priori, which prove a divine providence over-ruling all, plainly lead to this consequence, that the present state cannot be the whole, but only a part of an excellent whole, which is gradually advancing: so if we abstract from all those arguments, and confine ourselves merely to what we see of things, and argue only à posteriori, it is plain, that our present state hath no appearance of a whole, but, on the contrary, hath all the appearances or signs of its being but a part; and if we consider it as a part, it hath all the evidences and signs of a well administered part, so far especially as virtue, or the improvement of moral beings, are concerned. It must therefore be such a well governed part of an excellent whole, if we can at all reason from analogy; for whence can we conclude good order in the whole, but from what we see of good and wise government? And what else can we infer from thence, but the continuance of perfectly good order for ever, or throughout the whole?
III. This is the doctrine of experience, of reason and revelation; and hence we may easily see what we ought to think of what the scripture says of evils and miseries introduced into the world by means of sin and corruption; while at the same time all is affirmed to be good, as all the parts of the government of an infinitely wise and good being must be: as, for instance, of the deluge, whether universal or partial, whether the effect of a comet, or of whatever other cause, (for all which enquiries the ways of speaking about it in scripture leave sufficient latitude;) for it and every event must be the effect of good general laws; the universe being so governed. Upon the whole therefore, from the beginning, order hath been kept in nature,<210> and also in man. And therefore tho’ the apostle not only groans, but represents all good men, nay, the whole creation, as groaning for the immortality which is to succeed this state;a yet he expressly asserts, that even in this present state all things work together for the good of the pious and virtuous; and that present miseries are, in a great measure, the effects of the corruption of mankind; so that whatever obscurity there may be in some particular phrases in these parallel passages, they in general amount to no more than what may be said of an architect, or master of a house, who, tho’ he longs earnestly to have the building finished, and to be free from all the evils and incumbrances which attend the carrying on of his scheme, is however highly pleased with the foundation that is laid, and the work so far as it is advanced; and is only earnest to have it compleated, that he may enjoy all the pleasures and advantages of it: or, more properly still, of a founder of a state, who rejoicing in the hopes of compleating at last his noble scheme, bears patiently with all the evils and hardships attending the laying the first foundation, and yet earnestly longs for the completion of it, and the happiness that will then accrue to him, and all the members of that state.
This Corolary is necessary to prevent mistakes, and clear up the true sense in which the present unfinished state of things may be properly called a perfectly good part of providence. It is such, because it is a proper part of a perfectly good whole; or is such a part as plainly manifests, that the whole which is carried on is good, being governed by excellent general laws, which produce the greater good in the whole.
Now all this being very obvious from what hath been said, may it not be inferred,<211>
[a. ]Rom. viii. 20, &c. 2 Cor. iv. 17, &c.