Thursday, July 1, 2010

John Wesley's Conversation With "The Headman of the Choctaw Indians"

Today, I was reading John Wesley's Journal entry for Thursday, July 1, 1736.  At that time, Wesley was in Georgia.  I found his entry interesting on a few a number of ways: Historically; Wesley's approach to Native Americans; the Native American's spirituality; Wesley's approach to the Scriptures; Signs of Prevenient Grace; and (interestingly enough) the issue of abortion, from a Native American perspective, no less.

Here is, in part, Wesley's entry:

Thursday, July 1.  The Indians had an audience, and another on Saturday, when Chigilly, their headman, dined with Mr. Oglethorpe.  After dinner I asked the grey-headed old man what he thought he was made for.  He said, 'He that is above knows what he made us for.  We know nothing.  We are in the dark.  But white men know much.  And yet white men build great houses, as if they were to live for ever.  But white men can't live for ever. In a little time white men will be dust as well as I.'  I told him, 'If red men will learn the Good Book, they may know as much as white men.  But neither we nor you can understand that book unless we are taught, by him that is above; and he will not teach unless you avoid what you already know is not good.'  He answered, 'I believer that; he will not teach us while our hearts are not white.  And our men do what they know is not good.  They kill their own children.  And our women do what they know is not good.  They kill the child before it is born.  Therefore he that is above does not send us the Good Book.'

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