Front Page Titles (by Subject) Query II - The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy
Return to Title Page for The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
Query 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).
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The copyright to this edition, in both print and electronic forms, is held by Liberty Fund, Inc.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
Can we conceive to ourselves, that is, does the analogy of nature lead us to conceive any other first state (in kind) of created moral agents? I say in kind, because the question I now propose is not, whether we cannot conceive moral creatures gathering their knowledge faster, retaining it more easily, and so attaining prudence sooner than men; but whether we can conceive to ourselves any state of moral agents differing in kind from our state, or in which knowledge of their sphere of activity, however large it be, and of the connexions of nature, by which they are to regulate to themselves, and the habit of judging readily of connexions, and acting with promptitude and alacrity, in conformity to them, are not acquired by observation and exercise? It might justly be questioned in general, whether knowledge can be got but by observation; or habit but by exercise. And it might as justly be asked, whether there be any merit, any foundation for self-approbation, or for praise from others, but in acquired knowledge, and acquired virtuous habits. But it is sufficient to carry the question so far as we have done; because it is evident, that however much strangers to the connexions of things men must have been at their first setting out; it is plain that a great deal of knowledge must soon be acquired, by giving attendance to the connexions in nature; and men having once acquired knowledge, they have it in their power easily to communicate it to others; so that, after a few men had subsisted for some time in the world, if they did not acquire a good deal of knowledge, it must have been owing to their not attending to nature, to which attention all their interests conspired to excite them; and if they who had acquired knowledge themselves, did not take care to communicate it, it must be owing to their not acting according to impulses in their nature, to assist<427> others in that and every respect, than which better in kind, or better for the purpose, cannot be conceived. Perhaps what has been now said will be better understood by the following query.