Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Boreham on the Supplementations of Life

In one of his early sermons F W Boreham is displaying his gift for taking ordinary things and bringing out a deeper truth. In this excerpt, he is speaking about left-handedness. Putting the two hands together he writes about the principle of supplementing one another to achieve a greater good and this truth is then corroborated by an avalanche of other illustrations:

“My right and left hands naturally supplement each other. It often happens that the one is able to perform what the other cannot. It is a principle that runs all through life. As each member of my body holds in charge powers that it is under obligation to exercise for the good of all the other members, and is thus a supplement to them, so each member of society holds in sacred charge gifts and graces which he is under solemn obligation to use for the general good.

And, just as particular members are designed as supplements in a special sense to each other as the two hands, so it is intended that we should supplement, and he supplemented by, those who, by circumstances or by kin, are most nearly related to us.

Those who have studied carefully the story of the Reformation in Germany know how Luther and Melancthon toiled together in this way. Each seemed to supply what the other lacked, and neither was sure of the wisdom of his proposal until the sanction and approval of the other had been obtained.

We arc told, concerning Charles Fox and Sir James Macintosh, that when Fox went to the desk and wrote, and Macintosh went to the platform and spoke, the cause they espoused seemed pitifully impotent. But when Macintosh took the pen and Fox the platform, they brought the country to their feet. The gifts of each exactly supplemented those of the other.

Huber, the celebrated naturalist, was blind. But he had the mental ability to think out his great works, were he only able to see the insects concerning which he wished to write. His wife, on the other hand, had not the power to think out the natural philosophy indicated by the wing of a fly or the head of a bee, but she had sight. And so they laboured together, with what brilliant results the world very well knows.

Darwin tells us of a small frog with which he met in South America. When but one of the tiny amphibians was breaking the stillness of the evening, the sound was distinctly mournful and monotonous; but when a number were together he discovered that each struck a different note, and the combined effect was decidedly pleasing and harmonious.

So is it in every department of life. No man lives to himself. Every faculty with which he is endowed is entrusted to him for the good of all. And only when he devotes those powers to the highest purposes, and allows them to cooperate with the corresponding powers entrusted to others, will they produce the highest possible result. Life is one vast system of supplementations."

F W Boreham, ‘Left-Handed Warriors’ The Whisper of God and Other Sermons (London: A H Stockwell, 1902), 100-102.

Image: “My right and left hands naturally supplement each other.”