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John MacKintosh
Chapter XIII - 'Great Heart'


"Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood."

So sang Tennyson, and the sentiment has been regarded as merely a poet's fancy. It is the simple truth I Bare unvarnished fact ! There is no nobility divorced from a noble heart; there is no greatness apart from goodness These are axioms as true as any in Euclid.

The elements of true greatness are found in men of all classes, professions and trades; who have received no patent of nobility and require none; men who would not stoop to a mean action to save their lives; men of honour, truth and uprightness, like Job, "fearing God and eschewing evil." They are Nature's aristocracy, whose nobility is their own achievement.

However engrossing the affairs of his business might be, Mr. Mackintosh,

"Turned to dearer matters,
Dear to the man who is dear to God;
How best to help the slender store,
How mend the dwellings of the poor;
How gain in life as life advances
Valour and charity more and more."

Even the members of his own family were not fully acquainted with the extent of his bounty to those less fortunate than himself. He kept a private pension list, which contained the names of aged men and women whose circumstances he had investigated, and to whom he paid a weekly allowance. It was not enough that they were receiving Old Age Pensions. Merely to be able to live he regarded as a poor return for a life spent in useful, industrious service. Old people need little comforts with which young people can easily dispense, and these small additions to the weekly income, which made all the difference between barely living and living happily, were unostentatiously provided. The minister at "Queen's Road" was taken into his confidence, for the minister in the course of pastoral visitation gets to know the circumstances of all the aged poor. As the minister and Mr. Mackintosh were passing along one of the streets of Halifax in the latter's car, he asked suddenly, when opposite a small house with a neatly kept garden in frontó

"What is 'Old John's' income?"

"Let me see," replied the minister; "he has seven shillings and sixpence a week from his Old Age Pension, and he reckons that he makes about nine shillings a week from his fowls."

"Hen keeping is an uncertain source of n- come," said Mr. Mackintosh; has he anything else?

"No, except that the house he lives in is his own"

"I know that," was the answer; "John was always thrifty and industrious. Who looks after him now his wife is dead?

"His niece."

"Another mouth to fill. John must go on my list; he shall have a little more comfort and a little less anxiety."

The following week John had a delightful surprise, for he found that his income was increased by ten shillings per week. The old man's face beamed with joy, and though he was not informed to whom he owed this good fortune, he knew nevertheless. There were not two men in Halifax, he was sure, who took sufficient interest in him to do so gracious a deed on his behalf. "By their fruits ye shall know them," is as true ethically as botanically.

It is difficult to give any account of such gracious deeds without spoiling them and robbing them of all their charm. They are choice fruits of the "Tree of Life," which lose their bloom by even the most careful handling. We have given "Old John's" story in order to show the quiet and effective manner in which such benefits were conferred. Mr. Mackintosh was careful to observe the Maker's injunction, " Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth."

Lying on my desk are letters filled with expressions of gratitude for various acts of kindness received. A sick man, with but a small income, has been enabled to spend a few days at the sea-side, and has returned home a healthier and a happier man. A widow, whose son has taken his degree at London University by sheer grit and hard study, wants the world to know that Mr. Mackintosh not only bought her son's cap and gown, but paid her fare to London that she might witness her son's triumph when the honour he had won was conferred upon him. A minister of The Gospel, whose son is a professor in an Indian College, relates a conversation which his wife had with a sister of Mr. Mackintosh. When this sister learned that Indian youths of promise, who were without means, could be educated at the College when their fees were sent from England, she immediately became responsible for the education of one young Indian, and when she related the conversation to her brother, he promptly accepted responsibility for two others.

He had also a working arrangement with the minister, so that whenever cases of special need arose immediate relief should be given. All such bills were paid with alacrity, and not only so, but the minister was made to feel that he had conferred a favour on the generous donor as well as on the needy recipient.

A youth back from the war with impaired health, after a few weeks' rest went to do the heavy work to which he was formerly accustomed. He refused to acknowledge his weakness ; but the task was beyond his strength, and he returned home to his mother, in whose arms he died. He was very brave and never complained. The minister called twice a week, and everything that could ease his passage to the grave was done for him. Little comforts and luxuries were obtained for him ; anything that his sick mind could think of or desire was bought, and the boy passed away with gratitude and love in his heart towards his unknown benefactor.

Nor did even the minister of "Queen's Road" know all, but he frequently discovered when making enquiries with a view to rendering assistance that Mr. Mackintosh had anticipated him, and had secured another pensioner for his 'list. The cheerfulness of some old widow with inadequate means, and the brightness and comfort of her home, were often the only indications of a charity that never failed and that was as secret as it was wise.

"Aye," said they in their native Doric, "but he's a good lad is yon."

One of his last gifts to 'the United Methodist Church was £1,000 to increase the pensions of aged ministers or their widows.

A little girl, an only child, who was the light and pride of her father's life, had passed away. Mr. Mackintosh was in Harrogate at the time when the news reached him, but by return of post the father received a letter full of tender sympathy. A short time afterwards the father called at the office on business, and was observed by Mr. Mackintosh from his private room. He beckoned the gentleman in, and covering up all papers on his table as an indication that business was put aside, he gave orders that in the meantime he must not be disturbed for any cause whatever. Then with that wonderful power of his to enter into the experiences of others, he went into the darkness of the sorrowing father's life and sought to help him towards the light. He was sure there was light somewhere, if they only knew where to look. There is but one source of light for such darkened lives; ift they both turned, and the office became a sanctuary where two men, one brokenhearted with irretrievable loss, the other with him plumbing the depths. "Out of the depths have I cried unto Thee, O Lord!"

Such a scene requires no comment, but it serves as a vignette of a beautiful character, and it reveals a wonderful power to "weep with those who weep." Nothing in the experience of the bereaved father during that sorrowful period of his life brought him such comfort as the prayer in the office of the man who

"Could cleave in twain
The lading of a single pain,
And part it giving half to him."


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