Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Boreham Publishing Update

Check out the Boreham publishing update at this link:

Image: Cover of the new Boreham book, Lover of Life: F W Boreham's Tribute to His Mentor.

Boreham Book Update 25 January 2007

This book (see photo) is one of the reasons why the John Broadbanks Publishing was established early in 2006. The book is by F W Boreham and is entitled, George Augustus Selwyn.

The book has been advertised on ebay with a starting bid of US $274.00. It usually sells for at least US $500.00.

F W Boreham would not have been flattered about this and other Boreham books that are selling for such exorbitant prices. He would have been alarmed and disappointed that in these days people have to pay such high prices to read his work. He wrote so that ordinary people could read and benefit. He did not write for financial gain. Very few people know that the profits from his books went to establish and maintain the John Broadbanks Dispensary in Birisiri, Bangladesh, a health agency that continues today.

In order to make Boreham books accessible to as many people today at affordable prices, Michael Dalton and I established John Broadbanks Publishing. This is a voluntary ministry which is done in our spare time. Ten percent of any ‘profit’ that comes from the sales of these republished and repackaged books is going to Whitley College to support the training of Christian workers (a passion of Dr Boreham and a wish of the Boreham family). The rest of the monies will be ploughed back to make more Boreham books available.

We are extremely grateful for donations that have been sent to us, one of which came at just the time we had paid out a hefty amount to the printers of our first book, Lover of Life.

If you can help contribute to the other costs of publishing and ensuring that people don’t have to pay prices like US $500.00 to read books by F W Boreham, please follow this link, F W Boreham on Mentoring, for information on how to send money, as soon as possible. Thank you.

Geoff Pound

Image: A copy of F W Boreham’s George Augustus Selwyn (one of the few biographies that Boreham wrote).

Boreham on Life to the Full

Realizing Potential Not Automatic
Frank Boreham believed one might fully experience all the blessings of life. The values Boreham believed underlay such an aspiration included an appreciation of human worth, recognizing the uniqueness of individuals and the influence of personality. Advancing along the path of full expression involved a commitment to lifelong learning, becoming one’s own person and dovetailing one’s personality to other people. He asserted that the realization of one’s full potential did not happen automatically but that the imagination for such a goal could be fostered by such pursuits as adventure, literature, travel and the enjoyment of the arts.

Life to the Full?
In aspiring to fullness of life, F W Boreham was not oblivious to restrictive circumstances individuals might have to battle, such as ill health. Robert Louis Stevenson was an author who greatly influenced Boreham. The Baptist preacher judged that Stevenson had succeeded more than any other writer “in impressing his personality upon the imagination of his readers”, and that he was representative of a select literary circle “who by some subtle magic that can be felt but not explained, make everybody fond of them”.[1] The “invalid’s triumph”[2] was greater, in Boreham’s estimation because, despite the Scottish author’s frail condition and precarious existence, he waxed eloquently about the goodness of life and delighted in the season’s changes, the invigoration of Springtime and the way the “return of Spring gave him a new hold on existence”.[3]

Fullness Despite Dehumanizing Forces
Dr. Boreham was mindful of the restrictive dehumanizing forces in society that limited peoples’ enjoyment of life. In his editorials about children, the disabled, women and the racially oppressed he advocated educative, legislative and political policies to enable them to experience life fully.

National Fullness
Boreham believed that ‘All the blessings of life’ could take on national proportions when Australians celebrated their heroes and achievements, emerged with gratitude from their British roots, found their unique voice, especially in the arts and harnessed the country’s vast resources.

Fullness in All of Life
While it was in a church building that Boreham first heard the words that became the overriding theme of his editorials, he believed ardently that all the blessings of life were to be experienced in all of life’s domains. Boreham advocated nature as one of the major sources of life’s richness. He recommended what he had personally discovered, namely, that a regular exposure to nature’s bounty and beauty were among the many ways people could receive therapy, be stimulated to wonder, undertake learning and be nudged towards truth and an encounter with the spiritual.

Although Boreham stated that nature had a capacity to be replenished, he frequently identified the responsibilities of the public and politicians in such things as preserving and protecting birds and animals, conserving resources (soil, water, bush and forests) and enshrining natural principles into society’s laws and lifestyles.

Cry of Nature
The theme ‘All the blessings of life’ was for Boreham not only a personal expression of thanksgiving but also a statement of human justice and a cry on behalf of nature herself. In this way, Boreham’s unifying theme went beyond the human realm. As he related it to the environment, this overriding theme had ecological implications and assumed cosmic proportions.

Heirs of the Ages
F W Boreham believed that his readers were “the heirs of all the ages” and that history was a prime source of the blessings of life.[4] Books, monuments, architecture and memorabilia were recommended as significant avenues for readers to get in touch with the treasures of time.

Developing Passion for History’s Treasury
F W Boreham was disappointed that Australians were not passionate about “communing with antiquity”, but his hopefulness about a change in the public mind was expressed many times. Ensuring that historians connected the past to ordinary life in a colorful, human-centered style, and celebrating the anniversaries of the nation’s heroes and significant events were among the ways that history’s plenty could be harnessed for personal and national progress. In directing his reader’s gaze to the past, Boreham encouraged present, life-changing encounters which illustrated the truth that all the blessings of life were available, despite the dimensions of time and place.

Fullness in the Ordinary
Perhaps the limitlessness of this overriding theme was nowhere more emphasized than in Boreham’s editorials about the richness to be found in ordinary things. He wrote about the surprising wealth to be gleaned from the sphere of the small, the ordinary and the everyday highlighted the universality and the accessibility of ‘all the blessings of life’.

On the Fringe of Fullness
Boreham’s overriding theme was not a declaration that he had taken full possession of life’s bounty. Repeatedly he told his readers, “We are on the fringes of things”.[5] This expression was not a vain hope but an allusion to Boreham’s preferred theological method of encouraging his readers to move from things near at hand to the unexplored, from the familiar to what is presently foreign and from the creation to a knowledge of the Creator. The theme, ‘All the blessings of life’, was an exuberant expression of an inexhaustible goal.

Geoff Pound

Image: Australia Day 26 January. “F W Boreham's hopefulness about a change in the [Australian] public mind was expressed many times.” With Australia Day tomorrow there might be a demonstration of this change and Boreham’s hope fulfilled.

[1] F W Boreham, Mercury, 21 May 1932.
[2] Boreham, Mercury, 11 July 1936.
[3] Boreham, Mercury, 11 July 1936.
[4] Boreham, Mercury, 3 January 1948.
[5] Boreham, Age, 27 September 1947.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

F W Boreham Trivia Question

What do the following have in common?:

Caroline Fry (writer)
Alec McCowen (actor)
Compton Bennett (film director)
David Gower (cricketer)
F W Boreham (preacher/writer)

For the answer scroll down the page:

They are all natives of Royal Tunbridge Wells. See a more expansive list of natives from this pretty town by clicking on Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Image: Elegant batsman, David Gower.

Boreham on Being Fully Alive

Living Dog or a Dead Lion
Always eager to present abstract truth in arresting and colourful images, F W Boreham introduced a Mercury editorial in 1948 with the maxim, “A living dog is better than a dead lion”.[1] Without revealing its biblical source, Boreham explained, “In its original setting the aphorism probably was intended to express our insatiable love of life. It is humanity’s master passion”.[2]

Lusting for Life
Dr. Boreham frequently made a distinction between being alive and entering into all the blessings of life. He conveyed this difference when describing J J Doke, who epitomized for him a person who was fully alive. Of his mentor, Boreham remarked that his “mind [that] was so saturated with history and biography”, his diplomacy in meetings, his practical piety and his passion for justice had developed through his personal contact with Mahatma Gandhi. These attributes led Boreham to state adoringly, “He loved life—life in every form and phase ... his lust for life was insatiable ... he represented in his own person the most engaging and most lovable type of masculine saintliness of which I have ever had personal experience”.[3]

Geoff Pound

Image: Is this a dead lion or is it alive but just asleep?

[1] F W Boreham, Mercury, 21 August 1948.
[2] This saying comes from the Hebrew Scriptures. The full text from Eccles. 9:4 reads, “But whoever is joined with all the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion”.
[3] F W Boreham, I forgot to say (London: The Epworth Press, 1939), 135-139.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Boreham's Dominant Theme

F W Boreham’s Unifying Theme
While he framed and illustrated it in various ways, ‘All the blessings of life’ was clearly the dominant subject of F W Boreham’s writing and preaching, the unconscious unifying ‘message’ in his many themes, and, judging by his autobiographical writings, the passion and mainspring of his life.

Consumed by a Thirst
Frank Boreham once said of Charles Dickens, “Nobody can read Dickens’ first great novel without feeling that, in delineating Mr Pickwick, he was thoroughly enjoying himself. His pen seems to romp across the pages … herein lies the charm and strength of Dickens … enamoured of life … real life … never hampered by a theory … consumed by a thirst”.[1] The theme, ‘All the blessings of life’, captures the enjoyment that Boreham seemed to experience in his writing and the same exuberant note that was characteristic of his editorials, essays and sermons.

Overflowing into Service
Exemplifying this overriding theme and expressing the way he believed the experience of the richness of life should overflow into service, Boreham said: “Like the gentle Elia, ‘I find this world a very pretty place to live in,’ and standing here, beside my golden milestone, I have tried to point out a few of the things that make it so lovable. If something I have said makes somebody somewhere more glad to be alive, I shall be inclined to forgive this truant pen of mine its inordinate garrulity”.[2]

Geoff Pound

Image: ‘this truant pen of mine…’

[1] F W Boreham, Mercury, 28 March 1936.
[2] F W Boreham, The golden milestone (London: The Epworth Press, 1915), 9. ‘Elia’ was the pseudonym of the English essayist, Charles Lamb (1775-1834).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Boreham and 'All the Blessings of Life!'

Writing late in his retirement, F W Boreham recounted a vivid memory when saying, “As a small boy, following in the Prayer Book the liturgy of the church, I was always impressed by one phrase in the General Thanksgiving—‘We bless thee for our creation, preservation and all the blessings of life’”. Boreham added the comment, “I loved that opening expression of gratitude and this particular clause gave me the opportunity of saying so. It is certainly good to be alive today”.[1]

Whether or not the church always nurtured Boreham’s lifelong gladness at being alive, this episode suggests that the church assisted him in naming this delight, in setting it within an ancient, religious tradition and in expressing it in a shared spirit of gratitude and prayer.

Geoff Pound

Image: The inside of St John's Anglican Church, Tunbridge Wells, where F W Boreham and his family worshipped in his early days.

[1] F W Boreham, Cliffs of opal (London: The Epworth Press, 1948), 172.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Boreham on the Art of Worrying

I have often wished that somebody would write a book on The High Art of Worrying Well. I have never yet heard or read a sensible word on the subject of Worry. At the one extreme, I have known pietists and idealists who have declared, absurdly enough, that worry is wicked. And, at the opposite extreme, I have known men who worried themselves into premature graves. Between these two insanities there is a No-man's-land of common sense that lies unoccupied and unexplored.

Worry is a very good thing in its way. Those who condemn worry never stop to explain why, if it be wicked, we were sent into the world endowed with such an infinite capacity for doing it. Obviously, we were made to worry; but we were made to worry wisely. We were made to take life seriously and to feel the gravity of things. The man who never worries about his business will never have a business worth worrying about. But the trouble is that in this, as in so many other things, we go to ridiculous excess. Instead of worrying about one or two things—big things; things worthy of our worry; the things that we were sent into the world to worry about—we worry about everything! But worry is a fire that burns up the brain. In the most literal sense, therefore, it represents a burnt offering. The man who worries about too many things is laying his burnt offering on too many altars.

F W Boreham, A Tuft of Comet’s Hair (London: The Epworth Press, 1926), 195-196.