Caroline Stephen (1834-1909) on the Bible & Inspiration: "The Cardinal Doctrine of Quakerism"

I believe the doctrine of Fox and Barclay (i.e., briefly, that the "Word of God" is Christ, not the Bible, and that the Scriptures are profitable in proportion as they are read in the same spirit which gave them forth) to have been a most valuable equipoise to the tendency of other Protestant sects to transfer the idea of infallibility from the Church to the Bible. Nothing, I believe, can really teach us the nature and meaning of inspiration but personal experience of it. That we may all have such experience if we will but attend to the divine influences in our own hearts, is the cardinal doctrine of Quakerism. Whether this belief, honestly acted on, will manifest itself in the homespun and solid, but only too sober morality of the typical everyday Quaker, or whether it will land us in the mystical fervours of an Isaac Penington, or the apostolic labours of a John Woolman or a Stephen Grellet, must depend chiefly upon our natural temperament and special gifts.

Source: Caroline Stephen, Quaker Strongholds, 1891, p. 28.

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