Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

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

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Rowland Croucher Reviews F W Boreham's ‘Second Thoughts’

Dr F W Boreham was introduced at an international conference of pastors in 1936 as 'the man whose name is on all our lips, whose books are on all our shelves and whose illustrations are in all our sermons.'

Frank Boreham lived in England, New Zealand and Australia between 1871 and 1959. He authored 55 books, wrote 3,000 editorials in major papers and was a premiere preacher. He is the most 'collectible' religious author Australia has produced.

Michael Dalton (USA) and Geoff Pound (UAE) have teamed up to establish John Broadbanks Publishing to produce new books by or about F W Boreham. So far, All the Blessings of Life: The Best Stories of F W Boreham (2007), Lover of Life: A Tribute to F W Boreham's Mentor (2007), Second Thoughts (2007), A Packet of Surprises: The Best Essays and Sermons of F W Boreham (2008) and The Chalice of Life: Reflections on the Significant Stages of Life (2008) have come off the press.

Second Thoughts comprises five of Boreham's typically brilliant essays - Second-Hand Things, The Second Crop, Second Fiddles, Our Second Wind, and Second Thoughts. This last week I've read one each day. (Ravi Zacharias in his Introduction/Tribute says he tries to read one Boreham chapter every day: a wonderful discipline).

How about this for a wordsmith's brilliance (in Second Hand Things): 'Hester Spanton - Auntie Hester, as everybody called her - was the tenant of a large second-hand store and a small asthmatic body. I used at times to think that the adjectives might be regarded as interchangeable...' Or this: 'The lamp by which my path is lit all day, the lamp that burns in heaven's eternal noon, is second-hand...'.

When I was pastor of a Baptist Church in Melbourne, a couple of our parishioners were members of a church where Boreham was an interim minister (Kew Baptist Church). They showed me a note he wrote to them on an important milestone in their lives, and affirmed him as a 'wonderful encourager and friend'. The story of Dan and Mollie (The Second Crop) has priceless pastoral insights. The text was from Obadiah: 'The house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.' The message (as we would put it today): one person can have lots of stuff, and not enjoy any of it; another just a few possessions and enjoy them all. (I must give away more books I won't need again).

The chapter on The Second Fiddle really got to me. Is a person a 'first fiddle' because he or she cannot be a 'second fiddle'? Gladstone and Disraeli were both first fiddles, and had to form separate political parties because neither could tolerate being a second fiddle...

About endurance in stressful times: 'The Duke of Wellington used to say that British soldiers were no braver than Frenchmen, but they could be brave ‘five minutes longer’.

And an idea I've never thought before: 'Conscience expresses itself like the lightning, instantaneously; the mutterings of reason and self-interest, like the thunder, come lumbering along later.'

As Geoff Pound writes in the Preface, 'Frank Boreham said that within the everyday, commonplace things there was a romance, a quality that was usually not immediately apparent.' So true.

If you see any Boreham books in second-hand bookstores or church fetes, snap them up. Keep them at your bedside, and read a chapter a day. You won't be disappointed.

Rowland Croucher October 2008
John Mark Ministries

You can order any of our Boreham titles by emailing Mike Dalton at

You can also order through AbeBooks, Amazon and eBay.

You can order through Peter Geizer at

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: Front cover of Second Thoughts.