Front Page Titles (by Subject) Proposition II - The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy
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Proposition II - 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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Our future state, which immediately succeeds to this life, is a state of rewards and punishments, in which it shall be rendered to every one according to the deeds he hath done in the body, whether they be good or evil.
Not only is a future state asserted in the christian revelation, but this future state is affirmed to be a state of rewards and punishments, i.e. as the scripture explains it, a state in which it shall be rendered to every one “ according to the deeds he hath done in the body”; according to the deeds done in this present life: a state in which every one shall reap the fruit of his doings, whether good or evil: a state in which he who hath in this life sown to the flesh shall reap corruption, and he who hath sown to the spirit shall reap the fruits of the spirit, the fruits of virtue, the fruits of righteousness, and a well formed mind; the fruits of joy and peace,<396> which virtue alone can give. Thus it is the sacred writings speak in innumerable places.a “Be not deceived, says St. Paul, God is not mocked”: the rule of his government, resulting from his immutable moral rectitude, which cannot therefore be changed nor frustrated is, “That whatever a man soweth in this life, that shall he reap in the life to come. God will then render unto every one according to his doings.” Now, what do these and such like equivalent phrases amount to, but that this present state is our state of education, trial and discipline, to which our succeeding state shall be exactly proportioned and correspondent: Or that as this is the state in which we have opportunity of forming our minds to knowledge and love of virtue, or moral perfection, so our future state shall be correspondent to the state of mind formed and acquired in this our present school of discipline and improvement. The state of our rational powers and affections formed in this state, shall be the rule and measure, the foundation and source of our condition in our succeeding state: our after-harvest, as the apostle speaks, shall be answerable to this our seed-time; to this our present state of culture. “As we sow, so shall we reap.” Harvest cannot precede seed-time. The effect cannot take place before or without the cause. The end cannot prevent the means. The effect of education and culture cannot go before education and culture, or take place without it. The happiness which is the result of a good temper and disposition of soul, of a well-improved mind, of moral perfection, or virtue arrived by proper diligence in improving it to a certain degree of excellence, cannot take place till the mind is well-improved; or is by due exercise and discipline arrived at that degree of moral perfection. But, saith the holy scripture, whatever may be the outward situation of the virtuous mind in this state of education<397> and discipline, yet in a future state, duly improved, virtues shall have their natural and compleat effect, and produce unspeakable happiness, by being then placed in circumstances suited to such perfection, and proper to give it due happiness, by affording it suitable means, occasions, and subjects of exercise. In order to compleat happiness, there must be powers and objects adjusted to one another. Powers cannot make happy, unless there are objects suited to them. Nor can objects make happy, unless there are powers congruous or suitable to them. But virtuous powers, or more properly speaking, powers which render capable of virtuous qualities, and their proper exercises and employments, must be formed and advanced to a perfect state by gradual culture, and the exercises which such gradual improvement require. And therefore, in the nature of things, they cannot receive happiness from objects suited to their perfect state, till they are brought to that state. But when they are arrived, by due culture, to an improved state, which they cannot be brought to previously to culture or probation and discipline, then, saith the scripture, God the righteous judge and governor of the world, will render to virtue according to its perfection; that is, place it in circumstances suited to its improvement. The harvest, in this part of God’s government, shall be congruous to the seed-time, correspondent to the husbandry and good culture. Now, what idea can we form of a future state, more agreeable to the perfections of a just, a wise, a benevolent ruler of the world, and more agreeable to the nature of rational creatures, and their powers, than such a future state as hath been described, in which a well-improved mind shall reap the full and compleat harvest of its goods owing, its good culture, its good labours, its noble and glorious acquisitions: a state in which, as the scripture speaks, glory, honour and immortal life shall be rendered to those who bya patient<398> continuance in well-doing have sought after, contended for, and rendered themselves capable of the happiness which can only result from highly improved rational faculties; the happiness which can only flow from a pure and sanctified mind; or the empire of reason over all the passions. But if the reward, the recompence, the fruit, the harvest of a well-formed mind, and a well spent life, be joy, peace and happiness; what must be the reward, the fruit, the harvest of an impure corrupted mind, a defiled conscience, a life spent in degrading, abusing and prostituting the powers which constitute the dignity of mankind, and his capacity of moral happiness, instead of refining and exalting ourselves to a capacity and fitness for rational felicity! Must not opposite causes have opposite or contrary effects in the moral as well as the natural world? Can good and evil, happiness and misery spring from the same root? Can virtue, which is the improvement and right use of moral powers, and vice, which is the abuse and corruption of those powers, have the same effect, the same result? Can they produce or terminate in the same harvest? If of two things diametrically contrary one to another, as improvement and degeneracy, virtue and corruption certainly are, the natural fruit, or the just reward of the one, be eternal happiness resulting from moral perfection suitably placed; must not the fruit, the wages, the punishment of the other, be proportionable misery, resulting from deformity, guilt and pollution? The fruit of good seed and good husbandry (to keep to the apostle’s excellent similitude) cannot be more different from the fruit and product of corrupt seed and bad husbandry in the natural world, than the ultimate result or harvest of virtue and improved reason must be from that of abused reason and confirmed vice, inveterate corruption. These truths are of great importance, and therefore it is proper to enlarge yet more<399> fully upon them, and for that reason to separate them into several distinct propositions.
[a. ]See the texts quoted in the introduction to this discourse.
[a. ]Rom. ii. 7, 8, &c.