S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Predestination is destructive to all that is established among men, to all that is most precious to human nature, to the two faculties that denominate us men, understanding and will: for what use can we have of our understandings if we cannot do what we know to be our duty? And if we act not voluntarily, what exercise have we of our wills?
What should make it necessary for him to repent or amend, who, either without respect to any degree of amendment, is supposed to be elected to eternal bliss, or without respect to sin, to be irreversibly reprobated?
This doctrine, by fastening all our actions by a fatal decree at the foot of Gods chair, leaves nothing to us but only to obey our fate, to follow the duct of the stars, or necessity of those iron chains which we are born under.
It is rarely that man continues to lay blame on himself; and Jasper hastened to do as many a better person does without a blush for his folly,viz., shift upon the innocent shoulders of fellow-men, or on the hazy outlines of that clouded form which ancient schools and modern plagiarists call sometimes Circumstance, sometimes Chance, sometimes Fate, all the guilt due to his own wilful abuse of irrevocable hours.
Lord Edward Bulwer-Lytton: What Will He Do With It? book x., ch. i.
To charge men with practical consequences which they themselves deny is disingenuous in controversy; it is atrocious in government. The doctrine of predestination, in the opinion of many people, tends to make those who hold it utterly immoral. And certainly it would seem that a man who believes his eternal destiny to be irrevocably fixed is likely to indulge his passions without restraint and to neglect his religious duties. If he is an heir of wrath, his exertions must be unavailing. If he is preordained to eternal life, they must be superfluous. But would it be wise to punish every man who holds the higher doctrines of Calvinism, as if he had actually committed all those crimes which we know some Antinomians to have committed? Assuredly not. The fact notoriously is that there are many Calvinists as moral in their conduct as any Arminian, and many Arminians as loose as any Calvinist.
Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay: Civil Disabilities of the Jews, Jan. 1831.
We must conclude, therefore, that God decreed nothing absolutely, which he left in the power of free agents,a doctrine which is shown by the whole canon of Scripture . For if those decrees of God which have been referred to above, and such others of the same class as occur perpetually, were to be understood in an absolute sense, without any implied condition, God would contradict himself, and appear inconsistent.
So, indeed, it is asserted, but not on the authority of Scripture; and the silence of Scripture would alone be a sufficient reason for rejecting the doctrine. But it is also attended by this additional inconvenience, that it would entirely take away from human affairs all liberty of action, all endeavour and desire to do right. For we might argue thus,If God have at all events decreed my salvation, however I may act, I shall not perish. But God has also decreed as the means of salvation that you should act rightly.
I cannot, therefore, but act rightly at some time or other, since God has so decreed,in the mean time I will act as I please: if I never act rightly, it will be seen that I was never predestinated to salvation, and that whatever good I might have done would have been to no purpose.
John Milton: Treatise on Christian Doctrine. See Bibl. Sacra, xvi. 557, xvii. 1.
Among our other controversies that of Fatum is also crept in, and to tye things to come, and even our own wills to a certain and inevitable necessity,we are yet upon this argument of time past: Since God forsees that all things shall so fall out, as doubtless he does, it must then necessarily follow that they must so fall out. To which our masters reply, that the seeing anything come to pass, as we do, and as God himself does (for all things being present with him, he rather sees, than forsees) is not to compel an event: that is, we see because things do fall out, but things do not fall out because we see. Events cause knowledge, but knowledge does not cause events. That which we see happen, does happen; but it might have hapned otherwise: and God, in the catalogue of the causes of events which he has in his prescience, has also those which we call accidental and unvoluntary, which depend upon the liberty he has given our free will, and knows that we do amiss because we would do so.
Michel de Montaigne: Essays, Cottons 3d ed., ch. lxxxi.
Can a man of sound sense listen for one moment to such a doctrine? Either predestination admits the existence of free will, or it rejects it. If it admits it, what kind of predetermined result can that be which a simple determination, a stop, a word, may alter or modify, ad infinitum? If predestination, on the contrary, rejects the existence of free will, it is quite another question: in that case a child need only be thrown into its cradle as soon as it is born; there is no necessity for bestowing the least care upon it: for if it be irrevocably determined that it is to live, it will grow though no food should be given to it. You see that such a doctrine cannot be maintained; predestination is a word without meaning. The Turks themselves, the patrons of predestination, are not convinced of the doctrine, or medicine would not exist in Turkey; and a man residing in a third floor would not take the trouble to go down by the longer way of the stairs; he would immediately throw himself out of the window: you see to what a string of absurdities that will lead.
Napoleon I.: Life, etc., by Las Cases, vol. iii. pt. ii. 260.
For men to judge of their condition by the decrees of God which are hid from us, and not by His word which is near us and in our hearts, is as if a man wandering in the wide sea, in a dark night when the heaven is all clouded about, should yet resolve to steer his course by the stars which he cannot see, but only guess at, and neglect the compass, which is at hand, and would afford him a much better and more certain direction.
That which contradicts reason cannot be said to stand upon reasonable grounds, and such, undoubtedly, is every proposition which is incompatible with the divine justice or mercy. What then shall I say of predestination? If it was inevitably decreed from all eternity that a determinate part of mankind should be saved, and none beside them, a vast majority of the world were only born to eternal death, without so much as a possibility of avoiding it. How is this consistent with either the divine justice or mercy? Is it merciful to ordain a creature to everlasting misery? Is it just to punish man for sins which he could not but commit? That God should be the author of sin and injustice, which must, I think, be the consequence of maintaining this opinion, is a contradiction to the clearest ideas we have of the divine nature and perfections.
John Wesley: Southeys Life of Wesley, 3d edit., Lond., 1846, i. 33.