Front Page Titles (by Subject) Proposition V - The Principles of Moral and Christian Philosophy. Vol. 2: Christian Philosophy
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Proposition V - 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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The Scripture represents the future state of the virtuous as a state free from all pains and uneasinesses; and the state of the vitious, as one in which none of their sensual appetites and passions can have any gratifications.
I. It represents the future state of the virtuous as a state far removed from all the pains and uneasinesses which disturb the present state. It must be free from<436> all those which are occasioned by vice, in consequence of the separation just mentioned. It must likewise be free from all pains and uneasinesses of the sensitive kind, or which arise from our present union with bodies, and a material world; and that not only in a state of separation from our present bodies, but even in that state of re-union with bodies, of which christianity speaks; because, as we shall see afterwards, the bodies with which our souls are to be united at the resurrection, are not animal, mortal, corruptible bodies, like to our present bodies; but spiritual, incorruptible, immortal ones. Now to these two classes are all the pains and uneasinesses of the present state of the virtuous reducible. And the sacred writings declare, that in the future happy state of just men, or of the souls of just men made perfect, there shall be no more any pain or sorrow, but that God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.a We have often had occasion in this discourse to observe, that all the laws in this state whence pains and uneasinesses arise are excellent general laws; and that pains and uneasinesses are necessary to the formation of virtue, of patience, magnanimity and resignation to the will of God; and to give opportunity for exerting compassion, benevolence, and every generous and social virtue. This is one of their chief present uses; that is, it is the use that ought to be made of them, and which the Author of our reasonable nature intends we should make of them. But the virtuous habits being once formed; a good temper of mind being once acquired and fully established, the mixture of evils, i.e. of uneasinesses and pains requisite to the formation and establishment of good habits and dispositions, is no longer requisite on that account; and therefore, consistently with the ends of moral government, that is, the formation and promotion of virtue, they may then cease,<437> as the scripture assures us all pains and uneasinesses do in the future state of the virtuous. It cannot, certainly, be asked here why the means should take place in this state, by which patience, fortitude and magnanimity must be formed, since there being no evils in a future state, those virtues can be of no use in it. For though there can be no scope for patience, when sorrow shall be no more, there may be need for a temper of mind which shall have been formed by patience: And there must always be need for that habitual resignation to, and approbation of the divine will, which is a temper that cannot be attained but, like other habits, by exercising ourselves in exerting it: a temper, for forming which trials by affliction make a proper discipline.
The general doctrine of the scripture is, that we are here in this state to acquire, by various exercise, the several virtuous habits which constitute the temper of mind requisite to happiness in a future state, as making in itself the most perfect character of a rational mind: that this state is excellently fitted for that end, excellently fitted to be a state of discipline for our improvement in piety and every virtue: not, to be sure, whether persons will or will not fit themselves to improve their minds; but if persons will set themselves to make a proper use of this state, to form and improve in their minds the habits of virtue; in like manner, as the fittest school for being improved in any science is a proper school for those only who will give attention: and lastly, that the virtuous temper being formed, or man being advanced to the perfection which belongs to his nature, and which he is intended to acquire, in the circumstances peculiarly fitted to be a state of discipline to him for his improvement in virtue, the state of discipline shall then cease, and be succeeded by a state for which the virtuous temper prepares or renders meet. This is the scripture doctrine; and as we know that habits of virtue are improvement in moral perfection, which must be made in circumstances fitted to their<438> formation; so we know, that improvement in virtue must be advancement in happiness, if the government of the universe be morally good, that is, if its end be the formation, illustration and promotion of virtue. Wherefore, supposing revelation gave us no particular account of the objects and exercises constituting the future happiness of virtue; but merely declared in general, that it is a happiness for which virtue only can prepare and qualify; that would be sufficient for our direction, and for our comfort. For what more is necessary for our direction and comfort, but to be assured, that the habits which a proper use of our present circumstances will form in our minds, are necessary to qualify for happiness in a future state; and that there is a future happiness, which as they qualify for, so they shall certainly be put in possession of? This consideration is not only sufficient to satisfy us with regard to the fitness, in respect of a future state, of a present state of discipline for the formation of patience, fortitude, magnanimity and resignation to the will of God; or, more properly speaking, for the formation of that temper of mind which these acquired virtuous habits constitute: It is not only sufficient to take off any difficulty with respect to such virtues; but it serves to give us satisfaction with respect to another question, which may naturally come across the reader’s mind, in consequence of what hath been said of virtuous improvements, and their future result: namely, “How there will be scope in a state of spirits of just men made perfect, where there are no sorrows, no evils, for the exercises of veracity, justice and benevolence?” It is sufficient to satisfy any reasonable person even as to that point likewise. For though we could not imagine to ourselves any particular exercises of these virtues in a perfect state, yet it will not follow from hence, that there can be, or will be no sphere of exercise for those virtues: much less will it follow, that because we are not able to figure to ourselves in our imaginations the particular exercises of those virtues in a future state, that there<439> will be no occasion for that frame of mind or character, which is formed by the daily practice of those particular virtues here, or which results from it: or, in other words, that there may not be a future happiness for which, the temper arising from the virtuous habits formed by the repeated exercises of justice, sincerity and charity here, qualifies, and alone can qualify. It is certain, that if the government of the world be virtuous, or morally wise and good, the temper and character formed by the repeated exercises of virtue must in some way or other be the condition of our happiness, or the qualification for it. And revelation assures us, that it is so. But it hath been already observed, that revelation cannot make a future state positively known to us, farther than its analogy to the present reaches. And yet after all this, when we come to consider the scripture account of the happiness of a future state more particularly, we shall see that in consequence of it, or consistently with it, by means of analogy, we can form to our selves some idea of large, proper scope for all the active virtues in a perfect state. In the mean time, 2. We are to consider, that the scripture represents the future state of the vitious, as absolutely removed from all objects and means of gratification to their wicked appetites, lusts and passions. Beings divested of their bodies, and quite separated from a material world must be so. And how miserable must they then be, whose affections and appetites are wholly carnal; whose passions are wholly fixed upon sensual pleasure, and who are utter strangers to all rational exercises and enjoyments? What can then be the effect of their impure desires, their corrupt passions, and gross vitious habits, but utter misery? If we but suppose added to this, a sense of guilt; a sense of neglected opportunities for improvement in rational and virtuous qualities; conciousness of inward worthlesness and deformity in the sight of God and all wise beings; self-dissatisfaction, and conviction of the justice of their suffering;<440> a full view of their own obstinacy in not listening to the dictates of their reason, and the plain language of nature to them while they were in this world what condition can be conceived more intolerable? The state of corrupted impure minds, when far removed from all the objects of their desires, what else can it be but a state of anguish and despair; a state of the most bitter suffering and torment? Burning lusts that cannot be satisfied, are indeed a scorching, a tormenting, a consuming fire; and the gnawing of a worm, of a gangrene, or of any pain of the most vexatious fretful kind, are but faint expressions to mark out all the tortures of a guilty conscience, when it sees the beauty of abandoned virtue, the excellence of all its enjoyments; and it can find no relief from the vile gratifications which were once preferred before them, in opposition to the strongest calls from reason and a moral sense; in opposition to the clear language of nature, as well as to revelation.
But let us turn our minds to a more pleasing subject.
[a. ]Revel. iii. 4, &c. vii. 9, &c. xxi. 22. Isa. xxv. 8. 2 Pet. iii. 13, &c.