Autobiographical Sketch of Ellen G. White
Note: Since criticisms about Ellen White's life are dealt with elsewhere on this site,
we here simply let her tell in her own words her life story.—WebMaster
Chapter 3: Feelings of Despair
Among the Methodists I had heard much in regard to sanctification. I had seen persons lose their physical strength under the influence of strong mental
excitement, and had heard this pronounced the evidence of sanctification. But I could not comprehend what was necessary in order to be fully consecrated to
God. My Christian friends said to me: "Believe in Jesus now! Believe that He accepts you now!" This I tried to do, but found it impossible to believe that I had
received a blessing which, it seemed to me, should electrify my whole being. I wondered at my own hardness of heart
in being unable to experience the exaltation of spirit that others manifested. It seemed to me that I was different from them and forever shut out from the
perfect joy of holiness of heart.
|John Wesley, founder of Methodism.—General Board of Global Ministries.|
My ideas concerning justification and sanctification were confused. These two states were presented to my mind as separate and distinct from each other; yet I
failed to comprehend the difference or understand the meaning of the terms, and all the explanations of the preachers increased my difficulties. I was unable to
claim the blessing for myself, and wondered if it was to be found only among the Methodists, and if, in attending the advent meetings, I was not shutting myself
away from that which I desired above all else, the sanctifying Spirit of God.
Still, I observed that some of those who claimed to be sanctified, manifested a bitter spirit when the subject of the soon coming of Christ was introduced; this
did not seem to me a manifestation of the holiness which they professed. I could not understand why ministers from the pulpit should so oppose the doctrine
that Christ's second coming was near. Reformation had followed the preaching of this belief, and many of the most devoted ministers and laymen had received
it as the truth. It seemed to me that those who sincerely loved Jesus would be ready to accept the tidings of His coming and rejoice that it was at hand.
I felt that I could claim only what they called justification. In the word of God I read that without holiness no man should see God. Then there was some higher
attainment that I must reach before I could be sure of eternal life. I studied over the subject continually; for I believed that Christ was soon to come, and feared
He would find me unprepared to meet Him. Words of condemnation rang in my ears day and night, and my constant cry to God was, What shall I do to be
(Testimonies for the Church, p. 23)