"But a convert from Popery to Protestantism, gives up so much of what he has held as sacred as any thing that he retains; there is so much laceration of mind in such a conversion, that it can hardly be sincere and lasting"
— Boswell, James (1740-1795)
I thus ventured to mention all the common objections against the Roman Catholick Church, that I might hear so great a man upon them. What he said is here accurately recorded. But it is not improbable that if one had taken the other side, he might have reasoned differently.
I must however mention, that he had a respect for "the old religion," as the mild Melancthon called that of the Roman Catholick Church, even while he was exerting himself for its reformation in some particulars. Sir William Scott informs me, that he heard Johnson say, "A man who is converted from Protestantism to Popery, may be sincere: he parts with nothing: he is only superadding to what he already had. But a convert from Popery to Protestantism, gives up so much of what he has held as sacred as any thing that he retains; there is so much laceration of mind in such a conversion, that it can hardly be sincere and lasting." The truth of this reflection may be confirmed by many and eminent instances, some of which will occur to most of my readers.
(I, pp. 328-9); cf. p. 379 in Everyman and 314 in Penguin )
See The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. Comprehending an Account of His Studies and Numerous Works, in Chronological Order; a Series of His Epistolary Correspondence and Conversations With Many Eminent Persons; and Various Original Pieces of His Composition, Never Before Published. The Whole Exhibiting a View of Literature and Literary Men in Great-Britain, for Near Half a Century, During Which He Flourished. In Two Volumes. By James Boswell, Esq. 2 vols. (London: Printed by Henry Baldwin, for Charles Dilly, in the Poultry, 1791). <Link to ESTC><Vol. I in ECCO-TCP><Vol. II>
My main reading text is James Boswell, The Life of Johnson, ed. Claude Rawson, (New York: Knopf, 1992). Also reading in David Womersley's Penguin edition, 2008.
First edition in Google Books, <Vol. I><Vol. II>. See also Jack Lynch's online e-text, prepared from the 1904 Oxford edition <Link>.