20. Apologia Pro Vita Sua by John Henry Newman
A religious autobiography of unsurpassed interest, the simple confidential tone of which "revolutionized the popular estimate of its author," establishing the strength and sincerity of the convictions which had led him into the Roman Catholic Church (Wikipedia).
"No autobiography in the English language has been more read; to the nineteenth century it bears a relation not less characteristic than Boswell's 'Johnson' to the eighteenth." Rev. Wm. Barry, D.D.
John Henry Newman, (1801-1890) was a Roman Catholic priest and cardinal, a convert from Anglicanism in October 1845. In his early life, he was a major figure in the Oxford Movement to bring the Church of England back to its Catholic roots. Eventually his studies in history persuaded him to become a Roman Catholic. Both before and after becoming a Roman Catholic, he wrote influential books, including Via Media, Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine (1845), Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1865-66) and the Grammar of Assent (1870).
I found this fascinating to read right on the heals of John Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion because John Henry Newman went from Anglicanism to Catholicism while Calvin went from Catholicism to Calvinism!
I did notice one big difference between the two: Calvin used TONS of Scripture to support his doctrinal beliefs while Newman used hardly any! Yet, I loved Newman's relational tone. He was a man in turmoil for many years over his move toward Catholicism! Fascinating!
He was originally part of the "Oxford Movement":
The Oxford Movement was a movement of High Church Anglicans, eventually developing into Anglo-Catholicism. The movement, whose members were often associated with the University of Oxford, argued for the reinstatement of lost Christian traditions of faith and their inclusion into Anglican liturgy and theology. They conceived of the Anglican Church as one of three branches of the Catholic Church.
It was also known as the Tractarian Movement after its series of publications Tracts for the Times, published between 1833 and 1841. The group was also disparagingly called Newmanites (pre-1845) and Puseyites (post-1845) after two prominent Tractarians, John Henry Newman and Edward Bouverie Pusey. Other well-known Tractarians included John Keble, Charles Marriott, Richard Hurrell Froude, Robert Wilberforce, Isaac Williams and William Palmer.By the way, Wilberforce was the son of one of my favorite people: William Wilberforce!