Ellen G. White Writings

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Manuscript Releases, vol. 7 [Nos. 419-525], Page 290

MR No. 484—Distinction Between the Sacred and the Common

This experience of Brother Ballenger's carries me back to my first experience in the message in correcting errors that came in among us after the passing of the time in 1844. The believers were sadly disappointed and scattered in different localities in small companies. Certain ones, who claimed to be taught of the Lord would visit these companies, and in prayer and song and preaching they would introduce to the believers sentiments of a fanatical nature, sentiments that were misleading to the people of God.

At this time I was only seventeen years old, but the Lord gave me a message for these fanatical leaders, and bade me declare to them the truth. Accordingly, in Portland, Maine, I spoke decidedly against the fanatical work that was being carried on, showing that the common things of life were to be treated by them as if they were intelligent beings. I told them that it was their duty to pray together and to study the Word of God together, but that the fanatical things they were gathering up and dwelling upon were not of the Lord, but from their own devising.

Here were four ministers who were trifling with sacred things, mingling the trivialities of life with their religious worship, and doing this as if such were ordered by the Lord, and making tests of their impressions. But the Lord does not work in this way. I said to them, Your fasting and your strange exercises are not of God. He does not accept that which is cheap and common as part of His worship. At the same time I was instructed not to mingle this class of experience, that which was cheap and common, with my religious experience, for it was misleading the people of God....

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