Wesley and Indians
JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS
The Arthur J. Moore Methodist Museum
recently acquired a copy of “Gentleman’s Magazine” from May 1737 which contains a conversation John Wesley had with five Chickasaw Indians in Georgia. Some of the dialogue was as follows:
Q: Do you believe there is One above, who is over all?
A: We believe there are four Beloved Things above: the Clouds, the Sun, the Clear Sky, and he who lives in the Clear Sky.
Q: Do you believe there is but One who lives in the clear sky?
A: We believe there are two with him, three in all.
Q: Do you think He made the sun, and all the other beloved things?
A: We cannot tell; who hath seen?
Q: Do you think He made you?
A: We think He made all men at first out of the ground.
Q: Do you believe He loves you?
A: I don’t know. I cannot see Him.
Q: But, has He not often saved your life?
A: Yes, He has, for I have had many bullets gone on this side and that side, but he would not let them hurt me. And these young men have had many bullets that went into them, but still they are alive.
Q: Then He can save you from your enemies now?
A: Yes, but who knows if He will have mercy? We have so many enemies now all round about us, that I think of nothing but death. And if I am to die, I shall die and I will die like a man. But if He will have me live, I shall live, tho’ I have many enemies, He can destroy them all.
Q: How do you know that?
A: From what He has done. When our enemies came against us before, then the Beloved Clouds came for us, and after much rain, and sometimes hail has come upon them, and that on a very hot day, and I saw many French and Choctaws, and other Indians came against one of our towns, and the beloved ground made a noise under them, and the Beloved One in the air behind them. They were afraid, and all went away, and left their meat and drink, and guns. I tell no lie. These saw it too.
Wesley’s dialogue continued. More later.
The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.