Mr. Mackintosh lived in accordance
with the Apostolic precept, being "Diligent in business fervent in spirit;
serving the Lord." Carrying the heavy responsibilities of a great
business, his physical weakness often making his ordinary tasks a toil and
a burden; he nevertheless engaged strenuously in the work of the Church.
On one occasion, when compelled by doctor's orders to decline a further
service of a philanthropic character in Halifax, he confessed that he
worked to the last ounce of his strength.
His business life revealed but one side of his
character ; it was a silhouette only. To know the real man it is necessary
to see something of his church life. His nature was deeply religious, and,
like David, he built "an altar in the threshing floor." The threshing out
of a man's daily bread and the building of the altar are different things,
and they are sometimes regarded as contrary the one to the other. Business
and religion are supposed to belong to separate water-tight compartments,
but in very truth they are inseparable. Whatever else a man leaves behind
when he enters his office, he always takes his religion with him : not
necessarily the religion he professes, but certainly the religion he
possesses, whether it be that of Ebenezer Scrooge, or that of the Brothers
Cheeryble. What a man is, that he does!
John Mackintosh put his religion into his business,
and he put his business ability into his religion. It does not detract in
the least from this, that the good he did to others came back in many
beautiful forms to himself. That is simply the law of ethics. Blessings as
well as curses are "birds that come home to roost."
When wealth and honours crowned his efforts, the
increase of riches meant for him the increase of opportunities of doing
good; not in the stern spirit of the Puritan, but with an easy joyousness
that doubled the value of his gifts. The giver was always in the gift, and
the gift was never "bare." Sir Launcelot hears the Master say,
"The Holy Supper is kept
In whatso' we share
in another's need,
Not what we give but what we share,
gift without the giver is bare
Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
Himself, his hungering neighbour and me."
No one could enter more sympathetically into the
sorrows of others nor offer assistance with a more graceful courtesy. He
made the recipient feel that he was conferring instead of receiving a
kindness. When thanked for an act of kindly benevolence, Mr. Mackintosh
replied, "There is no credit in it. Some people spend their money in other
ways, and it gives them pleasure. I get most pleasure out of money spent
in this way." He had the joy of doing good, and that was enough.
Apart from the training of early years in "Queen's
Road," it would have been impossible for him to have plunged at once into
the many, and varied religious and philanthropic activities that crowded
the closing years of his life. He grew up in and with the Queen's Road
Methodist New Connexion Church, afterwards merged in
the United Methodist Church.
To call a church by the name of
the street in which it stands is characteristic of Nonconformity.
Scattered throughout the land are sanctuaries that have great traditions,
and are associated with great names, and yet are known only by the road in
which they are situated. The saints are not called upon to assist in the
naming of such churches, but "Carr's Lane" is more than a side street in
Birmingham, and "Lyndhurst Road" and "City Road" are more than mere London
thoroughfares. They sym- bolise the genius and faith of Dale and Jowett,
Horton and Wesley, and the helpful activities of the great churches
associated with their names.
So "Queen's Road," to those who
worship there, or have been associated with the church in past years and
have removed to distant towns and countries, is not merely the mile-long
thoroughfare in which the church stands. It is their spiritual home, the
sanctuary, the holy place redolent of tender memories.
Queen's Road Church grew out of
the Sunday school work of the mother church of Salem, North Parade,
Halifax. In the year 1870 the Salem Sunday school was overcrowded, and the
startling proposal was made in the Teachers' Meeting that the school
register should be closed until the number of scholars attending had been
reduced to six hundred. The mover of the resolution was a diplomat, and
thus accomplished his object, which was to call attention to the need of
making provision elsewhere for the children who could not be accommodated
at Salem. The result was that a school was erected in Hanson Lane at a
cost of £725.
school-church was opened on January 15th, 1871, and both church and school
prospered to such an extent, that six years later, under the guidance of
Dr. Townsend, at the time minister of Salem, and Mr. John Mackintosh,
uncle of the subject of this biography, a larger church was erected in
Queen's Road, and was opened for worship in February, 1877.
Soon the school premises were too small to
accommodate the number of children who came to "Queen's Road," and the
enlargement of the school was carried out at a cost of £2,139 IS. It was a
great venture, but these pioneers were imbued with the spirit of Old
Salem, and with the audacity of faith they triumphed over all their
difficulties. Uncle John had laid the foundation-stone of the new Queen's
Road School, and now his widow officiated in a like capacity in the
building of the enlarged school. These commodious premises were opened on
March 13th, 1897.
Mackintosh afterwards became treasurer of "Queen's Road," he made the
surprising discovery that the trustees had paid in interest on debt more
money than the entire cost of the premises. This made him resolve to put
an end to such a perpetual drain on the financial resources of the church,
which he eventually did by wiping out all debts and creating a small
The late Rev.
John Young, pastor of "Queen's Road" from 1909 to the time of his death,
gave the following outline of Mr. Mackintosh's early associations with
"Queen's Road" in the church's magazine.
"Mr. Mackintosh gave himself to God at the age of
thirteen years, and joined the church. Ever since he has been 'in labours
more abundant' in every department of Christian service. At the age of
fourteen years he was appointed School Librarian; at fifteen, Financial
Secretary at seventeen, General Secretary, retaining office for fourteen
years, at the end of which period he became School Superintendent. For
fifteen years he thus wielded an influence which, carried by scholars to
other lands, extended beyond the seas. He was a member of the choir for
twenty years; Trustees' Secretary fourteen years, which office he still
holds (1913); Circuit Secretary nine years, and
for the last four years he has occupied the position of Circuit Treasurer.
"When failing health compelled him to retire from the
Superintendency of the Sunday school, he was appointed Honorary
Superintendent, in loving tribute to him for his long and faithful
"A man of ideas and
convictions, he does not hesitate to differ from his friends, but always
with courtesy and respect for the judgment and opinions of others. His
heart is tender as a woman's, his sympathies generous as a child's. His
noblest deeds are unheralded, but their 'fragrance fills the house.'
A remarkable man belonging to an old Salem family,
named Joseph Seed, was in its early days the inspiring genius of "Queen's
Road." He was a man of wonderful energy, possessing great mental and
spiritual gifts. His Select Class numbered from fifty to one hundred
members, and he taught them, unfolding the truths of Holy Writ, every
Sunday afternoon for twenty-three years. This class was of immense service
'to Mr. Mackintosh and to the younger generation associated with "Queen's
Road" at this period.
Joseph Seed died on March 15th, 1898, at the age of forty-eight years, the
news was received by the church with dismay. It was, to
use the expressive words of Isaiah, "As when a standard-bearer fainteth."
Joseph Seed's last letter was written to John Mackintosh, and was
preserved by him as a precious relic of a good man. It was a request that
Mr. Mackintosh should officiate for Mr. Seed on the following Sunday.
Though shrinking from the responsibility, Mr. Mackintosh complied with the
wish of his teacher and acquitted himself well. It was evident that the
mantle of Elijah had fallen on Elisha. and when Mr. Seed passed into "the
presence of the King," Mr. Mackintosh took up The work, and from 1898
onward was to "Queen's Road" what Joseph Seed had been in former years.
For twenty years John Mackintosh
was a member of the choir. Lovely country is easily accessible from
Halifax, and as a relief from the severe training for various musical
services, the choir would journey on summer evenings to the moors and
woods, and there exercise their musical gifts. Glees sung in such a
setting made a more direct appeal to the spirit than was possible
elsewhere. The finest concert room is in the open-air. One of the old
choir members recalls fondly one summer evening at Mount Zion, which is
situated on the breezy Yorkshire moor of Ogden. This church is associated
with "Queen's Road," but its traditions go back to the days of John
Wesley. in the Manse, now the caretaker's house, is Wesley's room, called
the "Prophet's Chamber," which contains the original furniture, and is
kept in much the same condition as when it was occupied by the Father of
Methodism. Here it was that the choir met the western sky tender with the
light of the setting sun; the leader giving the note; the choir sounding
the first chord; then giving a rendering almost perfect in tone and
feeling of the well-known lines ;-
"Softly fall the shades of evening
O'er the valley hushed and still,
As the sun's last rays are
From the distant western hill.
Balmy mists have lulled to
Weary tenants of the tree,
Stars in bright and glorious
Sparkle on the waveless sea."