Charles Henry Mackintosh
Herein lies 134 books of Charles Henry Mackintosh, one of my favorite and most passionate of grace writers, who was born in October 1820, at Glenmalure Barricks, County Wicklow in Ireland, the son of the captain of a Highland regiment. He was converted at the age of eighteen through the letters of a devout sister. When he was twenty-four years old, he opened a private school at Westport. Not long afterwards, he decided that he had to give himself over entirely to the ministry of the Word of God.
Known as “CHM,” which was his signature on many essays he wrote, Mackintosh established a periodical called Things New and Old, which he edited for twenty-one years. Beyond that and the books for which he became famous, not a lot is known about his personal life. It was said that “Mr. Mackintosh took a great interest in, and actively participated in, the great revival of 1859 and 1860.” “He was a man of a much milder spirit than J. N. Darby, and breathed an atmosphere of deep devotion, and a love not only for Christian believers but for lost souls. He had a gracious spirit, avoiding conflict as far as possible.”
He died on November 2, 1896, and was buried in Cheltenham Cemetery. Charles Andrew Coates wrote, "I was one of the last persons to hear C.H.M. pray. It was most touching to hear the aged and feeble Levite pouring out his heart to God, first for the whole assembly, and then for the little companies gathered everywhere to the Lord's Name. The Lord's interests were the great burden of his heart. Though he had been for a length of time incapacitated for any public service he was still keeping the charge."
Mackintosh became famous for his work, Notes on the Pentateuch, all of which are available here, as well as Miscellaneous Writings, which is available here individually or in the single 1,150-page volume called The Mackintosh Treasury. At the end of volume five is The Life and Times of Elijah which contains at the end an extended discussion about the unique message and ministry committed to the Apostle Paul. In it, he displays a clear understanding between prophecy and mystery, that the church composed of Jew and Gentiles seated together in Christ “lay far beyond the range of the prophetic testimony.”
Interestingly, CHM also rejected strongly the position that the church today began in Acts 2. In the conclusion to The Life and Times of Elijah, Mackintosh explains that Peter offers Israel the kingdom in Acts 3:19-21 and that the verses in question deal with the kingdom promised to Israel and not the church the body of Christ.
There has been some debate as to whether Mackintosh held an Acts 28 position, as he seemed to think that Paul understood the mystery of the church in Acts 15 but that he did not yet publicly proclaim it because of his affection for his kinsmen according to the flesh (Israel).
After reviewing his works, Bryan Ross explained in lesson 65 at the Grace History Project that Mackintosh accepting “all the Pauline as epistles as equally applying to the church leads me to conclude that CHM cannot rightly be viewed as an Acts 28 Dispensationalist… Whether or not C.H. Mackintosh should rightly be viewed as an Acts 28 dispensationalist is difficult to say. His thoughts in The Life and Times of Elijah are muddled at best… I think that we can safely conclude that CHM was a Pauline Dispensationalist. That is, Mackintosh understood that Paul was given a different commission than the one given to Peter and the Twelve. To the Apostle Paul, the apostle of the gentiles, was committed the revelation of the mystery concerning the heavenly purpose and calling of the church the body of Christ. He viewed the early chapters of Acts as the kingdom being offered to the nation of Israel. On these points Mackintosh is explicitly clear despite his lack of consistent clarity over where the dispensational boundary should be drawn.”
Muddled as his thoughts on the beginning of the church were, there was no lack of clarity when it came to his thoughts and stirring passion for our salvation by grace through faith in the finished work on the cross, as taught by Paul. I’d like to share a section from The Mackintosh Treasury that illustrates why there is much passion for CHM even today. The following is from the first chapter called “The All-Sufficiency of Christ:”
“When once the soul has been brought to feel the reality of its condition before God, the depth of its ruin, guilt, and misery, its utter and hopeless bankruptcy, there can be no rest until the Holy Spirit reveals a full and an all-sufficient Christ to the heart. The only possible answer to our total ruin is God’s perfect remedy.
“This is a very simple, but a most important truth; and we may say, with all possible assurance, the more deeply and thoroughly the reader learns it for himself the better. The true secret of peace is to get to the very end of a guilty, ruined, helpless, worthless self, and there find an all-sufficient Christ as God’s provision for our very deepest need. This truly is rest — a rest which can never be disturbed. There may be sorrow, pressure, conflict, exercise of soul, heaviness through manifold temptations, ups and downs, all sorts of trials and difficulties; but we feel persuaded that when a soul is really brought by God’s Spirit to see the end of self, and to rest in a full Christ, it finds a peace which can never be interrupted.
“The unsettled state of so many of God’s dear people is the result of not having received into their hearts a full Christ, as God’s own very provision for them. No doubt this sad and painful result may be brought about by various contributing causes, such as a legal mind, a morbid conscience, a self-occupied heart, bad teaching, a secret hankering after this present world, some little reserve in the heart as to the claims of God, of Christ, and of eternity. But, whatever may be the producing cause, we believe it will be found, in almost every case, that the lack of settled peace, so common amongst the Lord’s people, is the result of not seeing, not believing, what God has made His Christ to be to them, and for them, and that forever.
“Now what we propose in this paper is to show the anxious reader from the precious pages of the word of God that there is treasured up for him in Christ all he can possibly need, whether it be to meet the claims of his conscience, the cravings of his heart, or the exigencies of his path. We shall seek, by the grace of God to prove that the work of Christ is the only true resting place for the conscience: His Person, the only true object for the heart: His word, the only true guide for the path.”
- Joel, Associate Pastor