Guinness lived at a time when no one understood micro-organisms and how disease is spread. They routinely drank from the same waters in which they dumped their garbage and their sewage. Unknowingly, they polluted the rivers and lakes around their cities. People died as a result, and this made nearly everyone in Guinness’ day avoid water entirely. Instead, they drank alcoholic beverages.
Their drinking led to public drunkenness and crime, so some businessmen began brewing beer, which had less alcohol and was far healthier than homemade whiskey.
So as Arthur Guinness sat in church on the day we are imagining, he was a successful brewer in Dublin, selling a drink throughout the city that made people healthier and helped them avoid the excesses of the hard liquor that had done so much damage for so many decades.
Stephen Mansfield goes on to describe what happened when Arthur Guinness heard the great John Wesley in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.