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Ellen G. White: The Early Years: 1827-1862 (vol. 1)

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    Contending with Spiritual Magnetism

    “In New Hampshire,” wrote Ellen White, “we had to contend with a species of spiritual magnetism, of a similar character with mesmerism. It was our first experience of this kind.... Arriving at Claremont, we were told there were two parties of Adventists; one holding fast their former faith, the other denying it.”—Ibid., 206. Pleased to learn of a group holding fast their faith, they were directed to Elders Bennett and Bellings, upon whom they called. Of the experience she wrote:1BIO 86.3

    We soon learned that they professed sanctification, claiming they were above the possibility of sin, being entirely consecrated to God. Their clothing was excellent, and they had an air of ease and comfort.1BIO 86.4

    Presently a little boy about eight years old entered, literally clad in dirty rags. We were surprised to find that this little specimen of neglect was the son of Elder Bennett. The mother looked exceedingly ashamed and annoyed; but the father, utterly unconcerned, continued talking of his high spiritual attainments without the slightest recognition of his little son.1BIO 86.5

    But 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 seemed too spiritually minded to notice the actual wants of his family.—Ibid., 207.1BIO 86.6

    Bennett claimed that the attainment of true holiness carried the mind above all earthly thoughts, but still, observed Ellen White, “he sat at the table and ate temporal food.”—Ibid.1BIO 86.7

    But he declared his wife, who allowed worldly things to draw her mind from religious subjects, to be unsanctified. Needless to say, Ellen Harmon was not impressed. A few days later she was shown in vision that “those who followed their teachings were terribly deceived and led into the grossest errors.” She declared, “I was shown that the daily lives of these men were in direct contrast with their profession. Under the garb of sanctification they were practicing the worst sins and deceiving God's people.”—Ibid., 210, 211.1BIO 87.1

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