The Pocket Ellen G. White Dictionary


Magan, Percy Tilson — music

Magan, Percy Tilson (1867—1947)

Physician and administrator. Born in Ireland, he became an Adventist in Red Cloud, Nebraska, in 1886. He initially worked as a colporteur and then in 1887 received a license to preach. In 1889, he worked as a secretary to *S. N. Haskell while they were on a world missionary tour. He served as an associate secretary of the Foreign Mission Board (1890-1891) and taught Bible and history at *Battle Creek College (1891— 1901). About 1899, he partnered with *E. A. Sutherland to relocate Battle Creek College to a more rural location, which occurred two years later when the school moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan. This move allowed him to implement educational reforms. After 1904, he worked with Sutherland to found Madison College, a self-supporting school, to continue their educational reforms. He earned an MD degree from the University of Tennessee (1910—1914) and later became the dean (1915—1928) and the president (1928—1940) of the *College of Medical Evangelists (later Loma Linda University).


A greatness of mind, including the elevation or dignity of the soul when encountering danger and trouble. Such behavior prompts personal sacrifice and disdains unjustness and meanness (PP 660).


This term can mean evil, dangerous, or harmful, such as a malignant growth or “humor” (tumor). In the


A term used to describe worldliness and, frequently, the love of money (2T 237—247). While Ellen G. White used the word in a variety of associations, she wrote that it was the fatal flaw of Judas, the disciple of Jesus Christ (DA 716).


In chains or bonds. Ellen G. White described the apostle Paul who was “manacled” (AA 434, 438).

Manassas, Battle of First

The first major battle of the Civil War occurred near Manassas, Virginia, on July 21, 1861; it is also called the First Battle of Bull Run. It was considered a *Confederate victory because around four o’clock that afternoon the entire Union army collapsed and retreated back to Washington, D.C. Both sides expected Manassas to be the decisive battle that would end the war, but they were shocked at the bloody aftermath. On August 3, about two weeks later, Ellen G. White had a vision about the “disastrous battle at Manassas” and saw an angel descend at a crucial moment in the battle. The angel, she said, caused “confusion in the ranks” of the advancing Northern forces and “a precipitate [sudden] retreat commenced.” The outcome of the *North’s loss was that God still “had this nation in His own hand, and would not suffer victories to be gained faster than He ordained, and would permit no more losses to the Northern men than in His wisdom He saw fit, to punish them for their sins [of tolerating slavery in the South]” (1T 266, 267).

Marion Party

An offshoot group based in Marion, Iowa, during the 1860s that was led by B. F. Snook and W. H. Brinkerhoff. They defected over Ellen G. White’s prophetic leadership. The group became the forerunner of the Church of God (Seventh Day), with office today in Denver, Colorado. Snook and Brinkerhoff were agitated over the issue of pacifism versus conscientious cooperation and combatantcy. Since James and Ellen G. White did not strongly support strict pacifism, these men began to believe that Ellen G. White could not be a true prophet. Snook and Brinkerhoff developed a critical spirit in response to the messages of *reproof they received at the 1865 Iowa Conference meeting. Despite their confessions, they were not given back their positions of responsibility. *G. I. Butler replaced Snook as the conference president. Over the following years, their doubts resumed, which resulted in their permanent estrangement from the Whites and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

mark of the beast

The sign of the worshipers of the first beast in Revelation 13, which is generally understood by most *Protestant interpreters as the Roman Catholic


A reference to money or resources. Ellen G. White often connected the word means with “advancing the work of the gospel” (AA 71).

meditate (also meditation)

Ellen G. White frequently encouraged people to spend time in daily *prayer, Bible study, and meditation, with a heart longing after God. Meditation consists of “emptying and purifying the heart, and must be nurtured by daily prayer” (4T 535). It is taking a verse of Scripture and concentrating “the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell upon the thought until it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord’ ” (DA 390). Unlike other forms of meditation that merely emptied the mind, she noted that biblical meditation was something that filled the mind with *truth. She encouraged, for example, people to meditate upon the words of Christ and not to merely repeat them “parrot-like”—referring to a parrot that mindlessly mimics other creatures (4T 355). Meditation was a time to listen for the personal word of God to one’s soul: “We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, . . . the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God” (DA 363).

mental culture

The “pursuit of knowledge” that leads to “clearer and brighter views of the wonderful laws of science and of nature” (4T 414). Ellen G. White argued that “mental culture,” or the “cultivation of the mind,” was essential for all church members to have “in order to meet the demands of the time” (4T 414). “All intellectual laziness is sin,” she counseled (4T 399). Thus, the need for mental culture is why Adventist *education is so important.


A common term in the nineteenth century that referred to the story of the city of Meroz. During the Israelite sojourn in the wilderness, the inhabitants of Meroz sinned by doing nothing (2T 395, 427, 550, 626; 3T 525). “We are responsible,” wrote Ellen G. White, “for the good we might have done, but failed to do because we were too indolent to use the means for improvement which were placed within our reach” (4T 416).


The practice of inducing a hypnotic trance, popularized by Franz Anton Mesmer (1734—1815), an Austrian physician. Others later built on Mesmer’s ideas of *animal magnetism and developed the practice of inducing a deep trance by staring intensely into the eyes of the patient and passing the hand over the head and around the body (sometimes with a magnet). This induced trance state was eventually called mesmerism—known today as hypnotism. Mesmerism was introduced in America during the late 1820s and spread across the East Coast, especially in the big cities such as Boston and New York. By the early 1840s, lectures and public demonstrations of magnetism were immensely popular. The young Ellen White encountered mesmerists during the mid-1840s and considered any form of mind control to be a form of spiritualism (EW 21, 108, 109; 1T 71).

Methodist (also Methodism)

Denomination arising from the teachings of *John Wesley in the eighteenth century; its adherents are known as Methodists, initially a pejorative term. Ellen G. White was raised in the Chestnut Street Methodist Church in Portland, Maine, and was baptized on June 26, 1842, by the Reverend John Hobart. The majority of early Sabbatarian Adventist ministers were previously ordained as Methodist ministers, so Methodism had


Before the germ theory of disease, most people believed that the *air contained miasma, or harmful properties that caused illness. The term was a catchall phrase to describe anything dirty or potentially harmful (PP 44). At times, Ellen G. White referred to it as a spiritual pollutant, such as the “miasma of jealousy” (DA 179).


A person’s outward look indicating one’s *character or mood. Ellen G. White described some biblical characters as having a “noble mien” (PP 729) or a “dignified mien” (DA 223).


The *doctrine of the millennium, or the thousand-year time period after the *Second Coming. During the early nineteenth century, most Protestant Christians believed in the post-millennium—the idea that the *Second Advent would occur after the millennium. William Miller as part of the Millerite revival argued that the Second Advent would instead occur before the millennium (premillennialism). At the end of the millennium, there will still be a final judgment, which includes the final eradication of sin when Satan and his followers are destroyed and the earth is made new.

Millerite revival

From the 1830s through the 1840s, the Millerite revival was a large-scale revival that most conservative historians estimate had from fifty thousand to one hundred thousand adherents. Founded by Baptist farmer *William Miller after he shared his views about Bible

Miller, William (1782—1849)

Farmer and revivalist. As a young person, William Miller was a prodigious reader and imbibed deistic and democratic notions. With upward social mobility, he obtained increasingly visible positions in the community, becoming a surveyor of roads and a justice of the peace. During the War of 1812, he served as a captain in the army and led his men through the Battle of Plattsburgh. In 1816, he experienced a *conversion that led to the systematic study of the *Bible. By 1818, he concluded from his reading of Daniel 8:14 that Christ would return around 1843. Initially reluctant to share his findings, he ultimately became the leading advocate in the United States and Canada of the *second coming of Christ. He was also the namesake for a religious *revival that occurred as part of the Second Great Awakening in antebellum America. After the *Great Disappointment, he clung to his faith in the soon return of Christ until his death in 1849.


People who can stand faithful in the midst of battle on short notice. The term has a historical reference to militia troops during the American Revolution; but by the time of Ellen G. White, it was a general expression to refer to the need for help (PP 423).


Throwing projectiles of some kind, such as rocks (PP 390).


Mission is an essential part of the Christian message in which followers of Jesus Christ share their faith, or witness to others. Adventists were initially hesitant to

modern Israel

See Israel, modern.


A term used to describe a *one-idea man who

moral courage (also moral fitness/p wer/worth)

The term moral courage had a rich meaning in connection with *Victorian *moral philosophy that stressed the importance of moral conduct, both private and public. Ellen G. White used the term in connection with the Spirit of God, who enables a person to be able to renounce hurtful *habits (3T 194; 4T 32, 431). Such a person is obtaining a “moral fitness for heaven” (3T 575). Such *work is spiritual warfare (4T 36). Those who stumble fall into “moral darkness”; but if they have “moral stamina,” they can create a “moral atmosphere” (4T 172, 184, 206). In another instance, she described a man whose friends criticized him, causing a “moral shock” to him both “spiritually and physically” (4T 327).

moral government of God

The justice and fairness of God’s rule across the universe. Ellen G. White was strongly influenced by the ideas of John Milton and early Anabaptists on the moral government of God. These concepts were developed by Hugo Grotius (1583—1645), who wrote the first book of modern apologetics. Ellen G. White was especially impacted by these thoughts as presented through *Methodism and the commentaries of Albert Barnes (1798—1870). It was this theological framework that laid the foundation for her ideas about the *great controversy conflict between Christ and Satan.

moral philosophy

A term equivalent to ethics, which “teaches men their duty and the reasons of it.”(Noah Webster, American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828) Historians often refer to it in a broad sense as “natural philosophy,” which during the nineteenth century included

More, Hannah (1808—1868)

Missionary and early convert to Adventism (1866). A veteran missionary and educator, she was treated with derision by believers in Battle Creek, Michigan, which brought forth a strong message of rebuke from Ellen G. White (1T 666-679; 2T 140-144). She stayed with a missionary family in northwest Michigan during the winter of 1867 and 1868. James and Ellen G. White promised to help her relocate to Battle Creek after the winter, but she grew ill and died. Ellen G. White strongly condemned the harsh treatment by church members.


A nineteenth-century term for infectious diseases and *death (PP 267).


The Millerites and early Sabbatarian Adventists published a number of hymns that reflected their belief in the *Second Advent of Christ. Many early tunes were adapted from popular music of the period. Adventist musicians such as *F. E. Belden composed unique musical pieces as Seventh-day Adventists developed their own unique music with their own unique theological concepts and liturgical practices.