Charles Henry Mackintosh, generally known as C. H. M., was one of the gifted writers of the Plymouth Brethren, so-called.
Born in October 1820, at Glenmalure Barricks, County Wicklow, Ireland, C. H. M. was the son Captain Duncan Mackintosh of a Highland regiment.
C. H. M. was converted to Christ at the age of eighteen through the influence of letters from his sister and the reading of J. N. Darby's Operations of the Spirit.
After a time in business in Limerick, Ireland, in 1844, at the age of twenty-four, he opened a private school at Westport. Fearing that the school was becoming his primary interest rather than Lord's work, he gave it up in 1853, and devoted himself entirely to writing and preaching.
He established and edited the monthly periodical, Things New and Old, (vol. 1 (1858) —vol. 33 (1890). In the "Address to the Reader" in the first issue, C. H. M. outlines its purpose:
In presenting to the reader the first number of our periodical, we feel called upon to state our reasons for entering upon such a service, and also the objects which we hope, by the grace of God, to effect.
We do not deem any apology necessary for adding another to the numerous publications already extant, having for their object the circulation of pure truth. We want them all, and thousands more, if we could get them. We cannot have too many agencies for the furtherance of that which is good, and the suppression of that which is evil.
For, first of all, it is a lamentable fact that the enemy of souls has wrought, far more diligently, at the printing press, than the servants of the living God. Numerous as are the books, the pamphlets, the tracts, and the periodicals in which the words of eternal truth shine, for the instruction and comfort of souls, yet are they outnumbered, to an appalling amount, by publications of an infidel, immoral, and irreligious tendency.
2. We believe that the art of printing was designed, by a gracious Providence, as a powerful engine for the diffusion of scriptural knowledge; but we cannot shut our eyes to the startling fact that the enemy is making diligent use of that very art, for the purpose of corrupting, in all directions, the springs of thought and feeling. He is publishing, in the cheapest and most attractive form, gross evil, soul-destroying error, and perverted truth. And, we may safely say, if positive error has slain its thousands, perverted truth has slain its tens of thousands.
3. Now, we are fully assured that, notwithstanding all the enemy's efforts, the Lord is gathering out His own—that He is accomplishing His purposes, and hastening His everlasting kingdom. But should this be a reason for slackness, coldness, and indifference, on the part of the servants of Christ? The very reverse; yea, the assurance thereof is the basis of "stedfast" and "unmovable" service. It is because we know, on divine authority, that "our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord," that therefore we work. Thank God for such a solid foundation! It would be sad, indeed, if what our God has graciously given as a soul-stirring encouragement to work should be used as a plea for inactivity if the assurance of reaching God's end were to be a reason for neglecting God's means. This would be a grievous use to make of the goodness and faithfulness of God.
4. But, further, we undertake this service because we feel bound to serve and testify, while the time for service and testimony lasts. The day is rapidly approaching, in the which we shall not be called upon to render such fruits. When we get into the Master's presence, we shall admire and worship; but, now, in "the little while," in the night of His absence, it is our holy and happy privilege to be "always abounding in the work of the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58). We are responsible to let the light shine forth, in every possible way—to circulate the truth of God, by all means, by word of mouth, by "paper and ink," in public and private, "in the morning and in the evening," "in season and out of season"; we should "sow beside all waters." In a word, whether we consider the importance of divine truth, the value of immortal souls, or the fearful progress of error and evil, we are imperatively called upon to be up and doing, in the name of the Lord, under the guidance of His word, and by the grace of His Spirit.
Such, then, beloved reader, are our reasons for issuing this monthly paper. We are anxious, so far as in us lies, to lend a helping hand in the good work. We desire to spread the glad tidings, to feed the lambs and sheep of the flock of Christ, to move in the current of His thoughts and sympathies, and to promote the glory of His holy name. We believe there cannot be too many heralds of the gospel of the grace of God—too many hands stretched forth to scatter the good seed of the kingdom, or to feed the beloved Church of God. Alas! that there should be so few. May the Lord raise up and send forth gifted and holy laborers into His vineyard!
C. H. M. took a great interest in, and actively participated in, the great Irish Evangelical revival of 1859 and 1860.
C. H. M.'s fame rests primarily upon his writings, Notes on the Pentateuch, which was first published in 6 volumes in 1880-1882, and Miscellaneous Writings, originally published in 1898, in six voumes.
His first tract written in 1843 was "The Peace of God." His last article—written shortly before his death in 1896—was entitled "The God of Peace."
Little detail of his personal life is available. It is said that he had a mild and gracious spirit, avoiding conflict as far as possible, and that he had a deep devotion and love not only for Christian believers, but for lost souls.
He died on November 2, 1896, at age 76. Dr. W. T. P. Wolston of Edinburgh, preached at the funeral service. Burial was beside his wife in Cheltenham Cemetery, in what is known as the "Plymouth Brethren plot."
Compiled from various sources for Wholesome Words, 2010.