Life Sketches of Ellen G. White


Spiritual Magnetism

In New Hampshire we had to contend with a species of spiritual magnetism, of a similar character with mesmerism. It was our first experience of this kind, and happened thus: Arriving at Claremont, we were told that there were two parties of Adventists, one party denying their former faith, and another a small number who believed that in their past experience they had been led by the providence of God. We were directed to two men especially as holding views similar to our own. We found that there was much prejudice against these men, but supposed that they were persecuted for righteousness’ sake. We called on them, and were kindly received and courteously treated. We soon learned that they claimed perfect sanctification, declaring that they were above the possibility of sin. LS 79.1

These men wore excellent clothes, and had an air of ease and comfort. While we were talking with them, a little boy, about eight years old, and literally clad in dirty rags, entered the room in which we were sitting. We were surprised to find that this child was the son of one of these men. The mother looked exceedingly ashamed and annoyed; but the father, utterly unconcerned, continued to talk about his high spiritual attainments, without the slightest recognition of his little son. LS 79.2

His sanctification had suddenly lost its charm in my eyes. Wrapped in prayer and meditation, throwing off all the toil and responsibilities of life, this man had failed to provide for the actual wants of his family or to give his children fatherly attention. He seemed to forget that the greater our love for God, the stronger should be our love and care for those whom He has given us. The Saviour never taught idleness and abstract devotion, to the neglect of the duties lying directly in our pathway. LS 79.3

This husband and father declared that the attainment of true holiness carried the mind above all earthly thoughts. Still he sat at the table and ate temporal foods. He was not fed by a miracle. Some one had to provide the food that he ate, although about this matter he troubled himself little, his time being so entirely devoted to spiritual things. Not so his wife, upon whom rested the burden of the family. She toiled unremittingly in every department of household labor to keep up the home. Her husband declared that she was not sanctified, that she allowed worldly things to draw her mind away from religious subjects. LS 80.1

I thought of our Saviour, who labored so untiringly for the good of others. “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17), He declared. The sanctification that He taught was shown by deeds of kindness and mercy, and the love that leads men and women to regard others better than themselves. LS 80.2

In speaking of faith, one of them said, “All that we have to do is to believe, and whatever we ask of God will be given us.” LS 80.3

Elder White suggested that there were conditions attached to this promise. “‘If ye abide in Me,’ Christ said, ‘and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.’ John 15:7. Your theory of faith,” he continued, “must have a foundation.” LS 80.4

A sister of one of these men requested a private interview with me. She had much to say concerning entire consecration to God, and endeavored to draw out my views in regard to this subject. While talking, she held my hand in hers, and with the other softly stroked my hair. I prayed that angels of God might protect me from the unholy influences which this attractive young woman was seeking to exercise over me with her fair speeches and gentle caresses. She had much to say in regard to the spiritual attainments and great faith of her brother. Her mind seemed to be very much occupied with him and his experience. I felt that I must be guarded in what I said, and was glad when the interview was ended. LS 81.1

These persons who made such lofty professions, were deceiving the unwary. They had much to say about charity covering a multitude of sins. I could not agree with their views and feelings, and felt that they were wielding a terrible power for evil, and was glad to get away from their presence. LS 81.2

As soon as the views of these people were crossed, they manifested a stubborn, self-righteous spirit that rejected all instruction. Though professing great humility, they were boastful in their sophistry of sanctification, and resisted all appeals to reason. We felt that all our efforts to convince them of their error were useless, as they took the position that they were not learners, but teachers. LS 81.3