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 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 fearsd 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 during the past forty years the volumes of "Notes by "C.H.M." have been issued, one each upon Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, and two upon Deuteronomy. These works, which are characterised by a deep-toned evangelical spirit, have been published in successive and large editions, and the Preface was signed by his friend Andrew Miller, who largely financed 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 much strength. Some of his deductions were of a type which the generality of believers would regard as peculiar; but for loyalty to God's Word, and unswerving trust in Christ, no writings could be more stimulating.
After ceasing scholastic work, "C.H.M. " went to Dublin, where he began speaking in public. For many years he boldly stood forth in defence of the Gospel, and to proclaim the truth, and God owned his labours in a remarkable degree. When the Revival swept over Ireland in 1859-60, he was very active, and some account of his labours 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 despatched 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 bound up in six volumes, corresponding with his expositions.
He peacefully fell asleep on 2nd November, 1896, and four days later devout men carried him to his burial in Cheltenham Cemetery. His remains were laid by the side of those of his loved wife, and in the presence of a company gathered from many quarters. Dr. Wolston, 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."