Charles Henry Mackintosh

Biographical sketch


Charles Henry Mackintosh, whose initials "C.H.M." are known world wide, was born in Glenmalure Barracks, County Wicklow, Ireland, in October 1820. His father was a Captain in the Highlanders' Regiment, and had served in Ireland during the Rebellion. His mother was a daughter of Lady Weldon and of a family long settled in Ireland. At the age of eighteen the young man experienced a spiritual awakening through letters received from his sister after her conversion, and obtained peace through the perusal of J.N. Darby's "Operations of the Spirit," being specially helped by words to the effect that "it is Christ's work for us, not His work in us, that gives us peace."

Entering a business house in Limerick, the young Christian "gave attention to reading," and diligently applied his mind to various studies. In 1844 he opened a school at Westport, throwing himself with much enthusiasm into educational work. His spiritual attitude at this time may be inferred from the fact that he aimed at keeping Christ enshrined in the citadel of his life and making Christ's work his chief concern. At length, in 1853, he feared that his school was becoming his primary interest and accordingly he gave it up.

In the meantime his pen had been busy with expository notes on the books of the Pentateuch. At intervals over a period of forty years the volumes of "Notes by C.H.M." were issued, one each upon Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and two upon Deuteronomy. These works, which are characterized by a deep-toned evangelical spirit, have been published in large, successive editions. The preface was signed by his friend Andrew Miller, who helped to finance their issue, and who correctly says of the teaching: "Man's complete ruin in sin, and God's perfect remedy in Christ, are fully, clearly, and often strikingly presented."

As an expositor, "C.H.M." had a perspicuous style and presented his views with stimulating strength, loyalty to God's Word, and unswerving trust in Christ.

After ceasing scholastic work, "C.H.M." went to Dublin, where he began speaking in public. For many years he boldly stood forth in defense of the gospel and to proclaim the truth, and God owned his labors in a remarkable degree. When the revival swept over Ireland in 1859-60, he was very active, and some account of his labors may be found in the early volumes of "Things New and Old." He was a man of great faith, and was ever ready to testify that though God had often tried him He had never allowed him to suffer want in the matter of life's necessities while engaged in gospel work and without material employment.

During the last four years of his life he resided at Cheltenham, and when unable through the weakness of advancing years to do much on the platform, he still continued to write. His last series of tractates was entitled "Handfuls of Pasture." The influence of his writings cannot be estimated. He was continually receiving letters from all parts of the world acknowledging the satisfying character of his teaching of the books of Moses.

His first tract in 1843 was on "The Peace of God." When in 1896 he dispatched a manuscript to his publishers on "The God of Peace," his hand was stayed and a few months later he entered into rest. His "Miscellaneous Writings" have been published in several formats.

He peacefully fell asleep on November 2nd, 1896, and devout men carried him to his burial in Cheltenham Cemetery. His remains were laid by the side of those of his beloved wife in the presence of a company gathered from many quarters. Dr. Woltson, of Edinburgh, discoursed on the burial of Abraham, from Genesis 25:8-10 and Hebrews 8:10. Before dispersing, the company sang J.N. Darby's beautiful hymn:

O bright and blessed scenes,
Where sin can never come
Whose sight our longing spirit weans
From earth where yet we roam.