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John MacKintosh
Chapter IX - 'Queen's Road'

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 indeed
In whatso' we share in another's need,
Not what we give but what we share,
For the 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.

The 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.

When Mr. 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 endowment fund.

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 service.

"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.

When 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 falling
From the distant western hill.
Balmy mists have lulled to slumber
Weary tenants of the tree,
Stars in bright and glorious number
Sparkle on the waveless sea."


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