The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Inner Light, The
INNER LIGHT, The, or INWARD LIGHT. A doctrine especially emphasized by the Quakers. The teaching is that within every soul there is a revelation of God. There is a revelation of God in Nature, there is a revelation of God in the Bible, but there is also the Inner Light revealing God. It may be only a seed and may not come to perfection, for its call may be denied. It differs from the Methodist doctrine of the witness of the Spirit in that it is recognized as always residing in the heart, while the witness of the Spirit comes from without through experience. It differs from the conscience, because its function is not to determine the difference between right and wrong but to illume the soul and make it aware of the presence of God. Consult Barclay, Robert, ‘An Apology for the true Christian Divinity’; Bradford, Amory H., ‘The Inward Light’ (1905).