Essays, Critical and Historical - Vol. 2

By John Henry Cardinal Newman | Go to book overview

XIV.

PRIVATE JUDGMENT.

THERE is this obvious, undeniable difficulty in the attempt to form a theory of Private Judgment, in the choice of a religion, that Private Judgment leads different minds in such different directions. If, indeed, there be no religious truth, or at least no sufficient means of arriving at it, then the difficulty vanishes : for where there is nothing to find, there can be no rules for seeking, and contradiction in the result is but a reductio ad absurdum of the attempt. But such a conclusion is intolerable to those who search, else they would not search ; and therefore on them the obligation lies to explain, if they can, how it comes to pass, that Private Judgment is a duty, and an advantage, and a success, considering it leads the way not only to their own faith, whatever that may be, but to opinions which are diametrically opposite to it ; considering it not only leads them right, but leads others wrong, landing them as it may be in the Church of Rome, or in the Wesleyan Connexion, or in the Society of Friends.

Are exercises of mind, which end so diversely, one and all pleasing to the Divine Author of faith; or rather must they not contain some inherent, or some incidental defect, since they manifest such divergence ? Must private judgment in all cases be a good per se; or is it a good

-336-

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Essays, Critical and Historical - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Cardinal Newman's Works. *
  • Essays Critical and Historical *
  • Contents of Volume II *
  • X - Catholicity of the Anglican Church. 1
  • Note on Essay X. 74
  • XI - The Protestant Idea of Antichrist. 112
  • XII - Milman's View of Christianity. 186
  • XIII - Reformation of the Eleventh Century. 249
  • Note on Essay Xiii. 318
  • XIV - Private Judgment. 336
  • XV - John Davison. 375
  • XVI - John Keble. 421
  • Postscript. 454
  • Index 457
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