“Demons in human shape”: Thomas Houston on incorrigible gamblers

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
Thomas Houston had very strong words for stiff-necked gamblers in the below extract. Although, when one considers the misery caused by gambling, one does tend to think that those addicted to this vice need our pity rather than our indignation. It is, nevertheless, interesting to see how much godly Reformed men in the past detested the practice:

[G]amblers not only work their undoing, they also drag to ruin multitudes of others over whom they have influence, or with whom they are connected. How many families have been thus destroyed! How many parents and wives have, by their children and husbands becoming gamblers had all their fond hopes blighted, and been brought with shame and sorrow to the grave! How many children, that might have been respectable, and lived in comfort in the world, have inherited from their parents, ruined by gambling, a name of infamy, and an inheritance of poverty and wretchedness!

Gamblers that have tempted and ruined others, or that have inflicted such injuries upon those tender relations, that naturally looked to them for protection, support, and comfort, should be regarded as less men than demons in human shape; and only the retributions of the judgment-seat, and of a lost eternity, can adequately declare the magnitude of their crimes. ...

For the reference, see “Demons in human shape”: Thomas Houston on incorrigible gamblers.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
There must be a cultural element at play here. I have read that gambling and cards peaked in popularity in Tudor England. In some parts of rural SE Asia now gambling is a huge vice as well. I have heard of both men and women gambling all their savings away, along with long days of idleness and drinking when the economy was bad (I think because it is rural and there is no work and no other distractions and at least gambling gives the appearance of possibly being profitable).
 

Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
There must be a cultural element at play here. I have read that gambling and cards peaked in popularity in Tudor England. In some parts of rural SE Asia now gambling is a huge vice as well. I have heard of both men and women gambling all their savings away, along with long days of idleness and drinking when the economy was bad (I think because it is rural and there is no work and no other distractions and at least gambling gives the appearance of possibly being profitable).

It sounds like a classic case of the Devil making work for idle hands. Experience also seems to teach us that, even among people who are busy, if they do not have the discipline to set aside time for wholesome recreations, they will spend what little spare time they allow themselves pursuing some vice.
 
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