WHEN Dr. MacKellar was on furlough in 1913, at
the Whitby Conference, she was led to lay aside her usual reserve and tell
of her conversion and call to the mission field. Many were touched by the
account and one who was present wrote a sketch of Dr. MacKellar for "Everyland,"
adapting it to children, but, as the account was written largely from
memory, there were a number of inaccuracies.
Dr. MacKellar had often been told that she owed the recital of her leading
to others, and that some day it should and would be written. So when it
happened that three of us went together to South India for our vacation,
it seemed as if the time and opportunity had come for the preparation of
the narrative. She told all the facts and they were written down, but with
the liberty of a friend and admirer. Dr. MacKellar first became known to
me in 1890, when I was aspiring to be what she had become—a medical
missionary. Since coming to India, in January, 1902, I have been rather
closely associated with her.
It is not the aim of this little sketch, however, to take up the tale of
her splendid work in India, but rather to tell and amplify the story that
was heard with appreciation at Whitby. May the reading of it be a call to
some young people of our church to offer for like service, and may it
encourage any who are daunted by difficulties to see how God's help and a
strong will can overcome them.
Thanks are due to Miss Coltart for her collaboration in the preparation
and for copying the manuscript.
B. CHONE OLIVER.
IN Neemuch, Central India, to-day, there stands
a splendidly planned and equipped hospital.
Within its walls sick women and children are
given the treatment and care best calculated to bring them back to health,
and to one and all the Gospel of the Grace of God is preached by word and
deed. The solid strength of the building, with its orderly arrangement and
capacity for helpfulness demonstrates to a large circle something of the
character of the woman of whose lifework in India it crowns.
In the sketch before us, the emphasis is laid on the formative years of
Dr. MacKellar's life. Its purpose is mainly to show how God laid hold of
her dedicated life and led her along through a series of "determinative
choices" into ever enlarging opportunities of service in His Kingdom.
Naturally of a strong unyielding disposition, her girlhood was
distinguished, as she often recalls, by tempestuous encounters with the
will of one who occupied a position of some authority in the home. But
this very quality of firmness, when brought into harmony with the good and
acceptable and perfect will of God, has been a powerful factor in her
career, and has made her what she is to-day, a leader in all that pertains
to the advancement of Christ's Kingdom in India.
And her methods have been those of her Master, as they were summarized
recently by a London Minister, i.e., compassion, prayer, hard work. It was
compassion for souls that led her out into paths of Christian service,
that at one of the decisive moments of her life constrained her, when she
heard the needs of the Christless multitude in distant lands, to cast her
all into the treasury and later, to give herself to the great missionary
venture of faith. And from the beginning of her Christian life fellowship
with God in prayer has been interwoven with the fibre of her being. After
the initial, deliberate choice to go back to school it was sheer hard work
and determination not to give in that led her through the strenuous years
of preparation for life-service as a medical missionary.
Withal she has not forgotten how to play! It was a revelation during a
summer vacation, to see the readiness with which she entered into friendly
relationship with the small son of the home, a sunny boy of independent
spirit. She "popped" rose leaves with him, and made little toy boats and
vessels and snakes from the tissue wrapping of sweets. Though farthest
removed from him in years, she was the one in our company who seemed to
get nearest him in spirit.
The same capacity for enjoyment which made her a popular member of society
in her girlhood makes her still a welcome addition to any gathering. She
has an endless fund of amusing anecdotes and conundrums, and a happy gift
of repartee; she can be serious with the serious, and yet enter into the
pleasures of the merry hearted. This is a side of her character which
perhaps has not been dwelt on in the sketch of her life, but it should not
be passed over.
Of Margaret MacKellar it may be truly said, that having sought first the
Kingdom of God, "all these things" have been added unto her.
MARGARET A. COLTART.