Arthur Guinness

Posted on 28th July 2020 under The Rectory Bulletin | Church History

When he returned, having received the kingdom, he ordered these servants to whom he had given the money to be called to him, that he might know what they had gained by doing business.

 (Luke 19:15)

Here’s an unexpected fact: the Guinness Brewery was set up using money which had been bequeathed by an Archbishop. Arthur Guinness (1724/5 - 1803) was born to an Irish Protestant family, members of the Church of Ireland. His godfather was Arthur Price - later Archbishop of Cashel in County Tipperary - and he was brought up in the church, adoring as his personal motto the phrase: “Spes Mea in Deo” (“My hope is in God”).

The brewing of beer was not unknown in Guinness’s family, and beer was seen as a safer alternative to the rather rank water of the day. The rather obvious problem was that if you were getting your eight glasses a day, you might end up rather wobbly, the solution being weaker beer. It would also prove a somewhat safer alternative to the gin and whiskey which was liberally drunk in the eighteenth century.

As we saw with William Chatterton Dix, Christian calling is not limited to the clergy and John Wesley had a strong influence on Arthur Guinness, particularly his maxim. He understood his business to be a ministry given by God, and used his wealth to both honour God and bless others. He founded the Sunday school movement in Ireland, gave to the poor and was involved in the running of Hospitals.

He understood that all of life can be lived to the glory of God, and that business need not be the enemy of the faith. In fact, as we see from the parable of the talents, money can be seen as a gift to be used in the service of God. Praise God for Arthur Guinness!

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