I recently read this stimulating passage by John Calvin and once again was not only reminded why I am not a Calvinist, but also stunned why I ever believed Calvin's theological determinism compelling >>>
"Before the first man was created God had established (statuerat) what he willed should take place (fieri) concerning the entire human race. In this secret counsel of God it was determined (factum est) that Adam should fall away from the integral (unimpaired) state of his nature, and by his defection should draw all his posterity into condemnation to eternal death. On this same decree depends the difference between the elect and the reprobate: because he adopted for himself some for salvation, others he destined to eternal destruction. While the reprobate are vessels of God's just vengeance, the elect, on the other hand, are vessels of mercy; yet no other cause of the difference is to be sought in God than his mere will, which is the highest rule of justice.
Although the elect receive by faith the grace of adoption, yet election is not dependent upon faith, but in time and order is prior. As the beginning of faith and perseverance therein flows from God's gratituous [sic] election, so no others are truly illuminated in faith or endued with the spirit of regeneration except those whom God chose; but it is necessary that the reprobate either remain in their blindness or fall away from the part of faith if any was in them. Although we are elected in Christ, nevertheless the Lord's decreeing us among his own is prior to his making us members of Christ. Although the will of God is the highest and first cause of all things, and God holds the devil and all the impious in subjection to his will, yet God cannot be called the cause of sin nor the author of evil, nor is he chargeable with any fault. Although God is truly hostile to sin and condemns whatever of injustice there is in men because it is displeasing to him, nevertheless not by his bare permission alone, but also by his expressed assent (nutu) and secret decree all the deeds of men are governed.
Although the devil and reprobate men are God's ministers and organs and execute his secret judgments, nevertheless God in an incomprehensible manner so works in them and through them that he contracts no contamination from their vice, because he justly and rightly uses their malice to a good end, although the manner is often hidden from us. They act ignorantly and calumniously who say that God is made the author of sin if all things take place, he willing and ordaining them: because they do not distinguish between the manifest badness of men and the secret judgments of God."1
1Opera ix. 713, as quoted in A.H. Newman, The Calvinism of Calvin, The Review and Expositor, Vol. VI, 1909; the passage is broken apart for better readability