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;
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
"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
"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?
"Another mouth to fill. John must
go on my list; he shall have a little more comfort and a little less
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
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
lading of a single pain,
And part it giving half to him."