John Henry Newman is Declared a Saint
He has given an interesting definition of conscience, which he followed at great cost in his own life:
Man has within his breast a certain commanding dictate, not a mere sentiment, not a mere opinion, or impression, or view of things, but a law, an authoritative voice, bidding him do certain things and avoid others.
I do not say that its particular injunctions are always clear, or that they are always consistent with each other; but what I am insisting on here is this, that it commands, that it praises, it blames, it promises, it threatens, it implies a future, and it witnesses the unseen. It is more than a man’s own self.
The man himself has no power over it, or only with extreme difficulty; he did not make it, he cannot destroy it.
For Newman, conscience “commands”. He is not so much concerned with whether the specific dictates of the command are always consistent from person to person or from culture to culture, but is impressed by the seeming universality of what is ingredient to conscience’s dictates, namely, “command, praise, blame, promise, a future, and the unseen.”