The Invitation to a Saloon Opening
They were going to have a great celebration at the opening of a saloon and billiard hall in Chicago, in the northern part of the city, where I lived. It was to be a gateway to death and to hell, one of the worst places in Chicago. As a joke they sent me an invitation to go to the opening. I took the invitation, and went down and saw the two men who had the saloon, and I said:
"Is that a genuine invitation?"
They said it was.
"Thank you," I said; "I will be around, and if there is anything here I don't like I may have something to say about it."
They said, "You are not going to preach, are you?"
"We don't want you. We won't let you in."
"How are you going to keep me out?" I asked. "There is the invitation."
"We will put a policeman at the door."
"What is the policeman going to do with that invitation?"
"We won't let you in."
"Well," I said, "I will be there."
I gave them a good scare, and then I said, "I will compromise the matter; if you two men will get down here and let me pray with you, I will let you off."
I got those two rum-sellers down on their knees, one on one side of me and the other on the other side, and I prayed God to save their souls and smite their business. One of them had a Christian mother, and he seemed to have some conscience left. After I had prayed, I said:
"How can you do this business? How can you throw this place open to ruin the young men of Chicago?"
Within three months the whole thing smashed up, and one of them was converted shortly after. I have never been invited to a saloon since.