Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Boreham on Telescopic Sight

New Kind of Looking
In what appeared to be a contra-dictory idea to the call to look at the ordinary or real life, F W Boreham advanced his thoughts on a new kind of looking. He illustrated this approach by picturing the way one uses a telescope—by looking through it rather than at it.

He said: “There are two ways of seeing every thing .… You may see it sacerdotally—seeing, that is to say, the thing itself, but seeing nothing through it or beyond it. Or you may see it sacramentally—scarcely seeing the thing itself, but seeing a world of wonder as you look through it. You never see a thing by looking at it; you only see a thing by looking through it”.[1]

Looking Through
Boreham then applied the telescopic manner of looking to other spheres. Rather than looking at nature, Boreham suggested that viewers miss the best that nature offers if they do not see through nature. Turning the readers’ attention to the Biblical revelation, Boreham said that “unless a man has looked through its phraseology, and caught the vision that it was designed to reveal, he has, in spite of everything, read the wondrous passages in vain”.[2]

Pointing to a Greater Vista
Boreham also related the principle of the telescope to the church in stating that it fulfils its mission, not by attracting attention to itself, but by pointing towards a greater vista. He concluded by affirming, “Life’s richest revelations come, not by looking at things, but by looking through them”.[3]

Geoff Pound

Image: ‘looking through a telescope.’

[1] F W Boreham, The tide comes in (London: The Epworth Press, 1958), 63.
[2] Boreham, The tide comes in, 65.
[3] Boreham, The tide comes in, 65.