In Milton's attempt to justify the ways of God to men, perhaps no passage in Paradise Lost is more important than Book III, 173–202, for in these lines Milton expounds his doctrine of predestination and its concordance with the mercy, grace, and wisdom of God. To the average reader, however, the passage offers considerable difficulty; and it is indeed surprising, in view of the importance and the obscurity of this portion of the epic, that editors and scholars have done so little to clarify the doctrine of these thirty lines. Newton contented himself with asserting that the views there expounded were Calvinistic, and Todd followed Newton. Sumner, without comment, showed a parallelism between portions of the passage and Milton's De doctrina, a document which is uncompromisingly Arminian. Brydges, however, repeated Newton's observation; and Barber argued at some length for a Calvinistic interpretation. Verity, on the other hand, seemed to agree with Sumner, but dismissed the matter with a single sentence: “The doctrine of predestination here alluded to is discussed at some length in the Christian Doctrine, I, 4.” Masson, Browne, and Moody, in turn, ignored the matter. Such disagreement, therefore, would seem to justify an attempt to throw more light on the passage by determining the precise doctrine that Milton there advances and the relation of that doctrine to the view on predestination advanced in the De doctrina.