The fact that this whole land to-day swelters with drunkenness I charge upon the drinking club houses. They wield an influence that makes it respectable, and I will not put my head to the pillow to-night until I have written against them one burning anathema maranatha! When I see them dragging down scores of our young men, and slaying professed Christians at the very altar, and snatching off the garlands of life from those who would otherwise reign forever and forever, I tell you I hate them with a perfect hatred, and pray for more height, and depth, and length, and breadth of capacity with which to hate them.
Along this blossoming and over-arched pathway, and through this long line of temptations that throw their garlands upon the brow, and ring their music into the ear, go a great host.
No one can estimate the homes that have been shattered by the dissipations of the club-house. There are weak women who would never consent to a husband’s absence in the evening, however important the duty that takes him away. Any man who wishes to take his share of the public burdens and is willing to work for the political, educational, and social advancement of the community must of necessity spend some of his evenings away from home. There are associations and churches that have a right to demand a share of a man’s presence and means, and that is a weak woman who always looks offended when her husband goes out in the evening.
But club-houses become a pest when they demand all a man’s evenings; and that is a result we are called to deplore. Every head of a household is called to be its educator, its companion, its religious instructor and exemplar; not only to furnish the wardrobe and to make the money to pay the bills when they come in, but to give his highest intellectual energies and social faculties to the amusement, instruction, and improvement of the household.
But I describe the history of thousands of households when I say that the tea is rapidly taken, and while yet the family linger the father shoves back his chair, has “an engagement,” lights his cigar and starts out, not returning until after midnight. That is the history of three hundred and sixty-five days in the year, except when he is sick and cannot get out.
How about home duties? Have you fulfilled all your vows? Would your wife ever have married you with such a prospect? Wait until your sons get to be sixteen or seventeen years of age, and they too will shove back from the tea-table, have an “engagement,” light their cigars, go over to their club-houses, their night-key rattling in your door after midnight—the effect of your example. And as your son’s constitution may not be as strong as yours, and the liquor he drinks more terribly drugged, he will catch up with you on the road to death although you got the start of him. And so you will both go to hell together! A revolving Drummond-light on the front of a locomotive casts its gleam through the darkness as it is turned around; so I catch up the lamp of God’s truth and turn it round until its tremendous glare flashes into all the club-houses of our cities.