Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Friday, September 14, 2007

Boreham on ‘There is But One Book’

In speaking about life’s supremacies, F W Boreham refers to this entry in Lockhart's diary at Abbotsford:

‘He [Sir Walter Scott] then desired to be wheeled through his rooms in the bath-chair. We moved him leisurely for an hour or more up and down the hall and the great library. “I have seen much,” he kept saying, “but nothing like my ain hoose—give me one turn more!”

Next morning he desired to be drawn into the library and placed by the central window, that he might look down upon the Tweed. Here he expressed a wish that I should read to him. I asked, from what book. He said, “Need you ask? There is but one!” I chose the fourteenth chapter of St. John's Gospel.’

He listened with mild devotion, and, when Lockhart had finished reading of the Father's house and the many mansions, he said, ‘That is a great comfort!’

F W Boreham, ‘The Supremacies of Life’, The Luggage of Life (London: Charles H Kelly, 1912), 44-45.

Image: Scott’s library at Abbotsford House.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Boreham on Life’s Burglars

In an essay and sermon on dealing with things that are taken away from us, FWB uses the colorful image of highway robberies:

Poor Mr. Little-Faith was violently assaulted and robbed in Deadman's Lane. So Bunyan tells us. But the remarkable thing about the crime was this, that when he recovered his senses and was able to investigate his loss, he found that his assailants had taken only his spending-money. ‘The place where his jewels were, they never ransacked; so those he kept still.’ There is a subtle philosophy about the episode in Deadman's Lane.

Prebendary Carlile, the head of the Church Army, tells a delightful story of a Welsh miner who, in the great days of the Revival, avowed himself a disciple of Jesus Christ. He had previously exhibited an amazing facility in the use of expletives of the baser kind. With his changed life, however, it became customary for him to meet the most exasperating treatment with a manly smile and a homespun benediction. His mates, disapproving the revolution in his behavior, one day stole his dinner. But all they heard their transformed comrade say was ‘Praise the Lord! I've still got my appetite! They can't take that!’

The good collier only emphasized, in his own quaint way, the lofty logic of Deadman's Lane. The truth is embedded in the very essence of Christian teaching. The robbers always leave the best behind them; they cannot help it.

The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews commends his readers for having taken joyfully the spoiling of their goods. And he adds: ‘You are well aware that you have in your own selves a more valuable possession, and one which will remain.’ Life's spoilers leave the best of the spoil after all.

F W Boreham, ‘Our Highway Robberies’, The Luggage of Life (London: Charles H Kelly, 1912), 18-19.

Image: “Life's spoilers leave the best of the spoil after all.”

Boreham on the Isolation of Broken Relationships

F W Boreham, in writing about rifts and the way they are so damaging and isolating, includes this story:

Robert Louis Stevenson tells a famous story of two maiden sisters in the Edinburgh of long ago. 'This pair,' he tells us, 'inhabited a single room. From the facts, it must have been double-bedded; and it may have been of some dimensions; but, when all is said, it was a single room. Here our two spinsters fell out—on some point of controversial divinity belike; but fell out so bitterly that there was never a word spoken between them, black or white, from that day forward.

You would have thought that they would separate; but no, whether from lack of means, or the Scottish fear of scandal, they continued to keep house together where they were. A chalk line drawn upon the floor separated their two domains; it bisected the doorway and the fireplace, so that each could go out and in, and do her cooking, without violating the territory of the other. So, for years, they co-existed in a hateful silence; their meals, their ablutions, their friendly visitors, exposed to an unfriendly scrutiny; and at night, in the dark watches, each could hear the breathing of her enemy. Never did four walls look down upon an uglier spectacle than these sisters rivalling in unsisterliness.'

F W Boreham, ‘Our Desert Islands’, The Luggage of Life (London: Charles H Kelly, 1912), 13-14.

Image: Woman on the warpath.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Boreham on Falling in Love with our Luggage

When we were boys at school we learned ludicrous lessons about the weight of the air. How we laughed as we listened to the doctrines of Torricelli, and heard that every square inch of surface has to sustain a weight of fifteen pounds! How we roared in our rollicking skepticism when our schoolmasters assured us that we were each of us being subjected to a fearful atmospheric pressure of no less than fourteen tons! But Mr. H. G. Wells has drawn for us a picture of men unladen. His heroes—Mr. Cavor and Mr. Bedford—have found their way to the moon. The fourteen tons of air are no longer on their shoulders. The atmospheric pressure is removed; they have lost their load, and they nearly lose their lives in consequence. They cannot control themselves. They can scarcely keep their feet on the soil. The slightest spring of the foot and they bound like a ball into mid-air. If they attempt to leap over an obstructing boulder, they soar into space like larks, and land on a distant cliff or alight on an extinct volcano. Life becomes weird, ungovernable, terrible. They are lost without their load. Which things are symbolic.

It is part of the pathos of mortality that we only discover how dearly we love things after we have lost them. We behold with surprise our affections, like torn and bleeding tendrils, hanging desolate, lamenting mutely the commonplace object about which they had entwined themselves. So is it with the lading and luggage of life. We never wake up to the delicious luxury of being heavily burdened until our shoulders miss the load that galled them. If we grasped the deepest philosophy of life a little more clearly we might perhaps fall in love with our luggage.

F W Boreham, The Luggage of Life (London: Charles H Kelly, 1912), 4-5.

Image: “… in love with our luggage.”