John Calvin writes (underlining mine):
“This, then, is the eternal predestination of the saints, which shone with such surpassing splendour in the SAINT of saints! And as He alone was predestinated, as MAN, to be our HEAD, so many of us are also predestinated to be His members. Now, that no one might attribute it to faith that one is preferred above another, Augustine testifies that men are not chosen because they believe, but, on the contrary, are chosen that they might believe. In like manner, when writing to Sextus, he [Augustine] says, ‘As to the great deep why one man believes and another does not, why God delivers one man and not another? Let him who can, search into that profound abyss; but let him beware of the awful precipice.'”
It is a truly wonderful and awe-evoking truth that God promises to save His people based SOLELY on the imputed righteousness and propitiatiatory blood of Jesus Christ. Calvin continues:
“Again, in another place he [Augustine] says:
‘Who created the reprobate but God? And why? Because He willed it. Why did He will it?’ ‘Who art thou, O man, that repliest against God?'”
WRONG answer. The clear and perspicuous answer to WHY God willed to create the reprobate is NOT:
“Who art thou, O man, that repliest against God?” but:
God wants to show His wrath and make His power known (see Romans 9:22).
The “who art thou, O man” is Paul’s answer to the unregenerate persons’ objection to the sovereign prerogative of God to unconditionally and actively harden the reprobate. Evidently there are many who would turn the pellucid spring of Romans 9:17-23 into a murky mud puddle.
“And again, elsewhere, after he [Augustine] had proved that God is moved by no merits of men to make them obedient to His commands, but that He renders unto them good for evil, and that for His own sake and not for theirs, he [Augustine] adds, ‘If anyone should ask why God makes some men His sheep and not others, the Apostle, dreading this question, exclaims, ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!‘” (John Calvin, Calvin’s Calvinism)
WRONG, again. The reason why God makes some men non-sheep (i.e., reprobate vessels) is because He desires to display His holy wrath and power in these vessels.
Many of God’s ways are indeed “past finding out” (cf. Romans 11:28-36), but WHY God created the reprobate is NOT one of these unsearchable judgments since God has clearly and unequivocally stated in Romans 9:17-23 WHY He has chosen to create some as vessels of mercy and others as vessels of wrath.