Tag Archives: F. W. Boreham

Author Guide: F. W. Boreham

This is a guide to where to find the many books of F. W. Boreham, prolific English writer who ministered for three decades down under, in New Zealand, Tasmania, and Australia. His writing can be broken up into the following four eras: The Early Days, Finding His Voice, The Texts That Made History, Writing Ministry, and After Retirement.

Of his 49 books, only 15 of them have clearly outlined themes. For that reason, I’ve attempted to give brief summaries here, with a little info about where to find hard copies.

1. The Early Days

When F. B. Meyer wrote a foreword for “Won to Glory,” Boreham started to win the attention of publishers. In this period, The Whisper of God most closely resembles Boreham’s classic style; George Augustus Selwyn is also notable for being the only full-length biography written by Boreham, despite his lifelong preoccupation with the genre.

Won to Glory
A sermon on Boreham’s testimony in relation to Genesis 25. Extremely rare.

Loose Leaves (Our Review: ★★★)
A travelogue of a trip around the world. Boreham mostly comments on historical incidents, scenery, and tourist anecdotes. Mildly interesting, but it has almost no spiritual content.
Reprinted by John Broadbanks Publishing, $10.00

From England to Mosgiel
Boreham’s second travelogue.
Reprinted by John Broadbanks Publishing, $9.00.

The Whisper of God (Our Review: ★★★★)
His first full book of sermons. The titular sermon is excellent, and was a foreshadowing of the style Boreham would take up in future works. This book carries the flavor of the pulpit with it; it has a very different tone and style than Boreham’s other books, and for that reason it is worth reading.
Reprinted by Pioneer Library, $11.99.

George Augustus Selwyn (Our Review: ★★★★★)
Biography of the first Anglican bishop of New Zealand. This biography, in the fast-paced style of the popular writing of the day, is an inspiring story of preparation, calling, and discipleship. Selwyn had a great chance to pioneer in not only New Zealand, but all of Melanesia as well, due to a clerical mistake that made him bishop of the South Seas. Although there are many biographies of Selwyn, Boreham’s is a classic and a downright fun read.
Reprinted by GraveRobber Publishing, $5.99.

2. Finding His Voice

At this time, Boreham began in earnest to publish the style of essays that would mark his career. These earlier books are a little bit more of a ramble; he may take a while to get to his point, and he is usually not expositing Scripture. He takes anything as his text, from luggage to linoleum. But he is working out his voice, and in the process, he is becoming a master of illustration.

The Luggage of Life
Reprint coming soon.

Mountains in the Mist (Our Review: ★★★★★)
Reprint coming soon.

The Golden Milestone (Our Review: ★★★★★)
Reprint coming soon.

Mushrooms on the Moor
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

Faces in the Fire (Our Review: ★★★)
Reprinted by Pioneer Library, on sale for $9.99 until November 1.

The Other Side of the Hill
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

The Silver Shadow
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

The Uttermost Star
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

3. The Texts That Made History

Boreham began a sermon series on “Texts That Made History,” apparently on a whim. But it turned out to be, as he wrote, “his most popular and most evangelistic sermon series.” Boreham was always a student of biography, but this period was characterized by intense biographical research.

A Bunch of Everlastings (Our Review: ★★★★★)
The first of the Texts That Made History.
Reprinted by Pioneer Library, $14.99.

A Reel of Rainbow
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

The Home of the Echoes
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

A Handful of Stars
The second of the Texts That Made History.
Reprint coming, December 1, 2017.

Shadows on the Wall
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

Rubble and Roseleaves
Includes “The Fish-Pens.”
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

A Casket of Cameos (Our Review: ★★★★★)
The third of the Texts That Made History.
Reprint coming, December 1, 2017.

Wisps of Wildfire (Our Review: ★★★★)
Reprinted by Pioneer Library, $14.99.

The Crystal Pointers
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

A Faggot of Torches
The fourth of the Texts That Made History. This is the only volume of Texts that is not available for reprint because of its copyright status.

A Tuft of Comet’s Hair
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

The Nest of Spears

A Temple of Topaz (Our Review: ★★★★★)
The fifth and final of the Texts That Made History. Masterfully researched, engagingly written.
Reprint coming, December 1, 2017.

4. Writing Ministry

Boreham’s writing at this point in his life has became very refined. In our opinion, this is when he produced several of his best books.

The Fiery Crags
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

The Three Half Moons (Our Review: ★★★★★)
Includes “On Sowing Hopeseed.”
Reprinted Pioneer Library.

The Blue Flame (Our Review: ★★★★★)
One of Boreham’s longest and best books of essays.
Reprinted by Pioneer Library, $9.99.

When the Swans Fly High
Reprint coming soon.

A Witch’s Brewing
Reprint coming soon.

The Drums of Dawn (Our Review: ★★★★★)
No reprint currently available.

The Ivory Spires
Reprint coming soon.

The Heavenly Octave
Essays on the Beatitudes.

Ships of Pearl
Reprint coming soon, 2018.

The Passing of John Broadbanks (Our Review: ★★★★★)
“With the passing of John Broadbanks, I myself must pass.” Thus Boreham introduces the book he intended to be his last. Most of the essays are themed on “the road” in some way.
Reprint coming, 2019.

5. After Retirement

After “notionally retiring” in 1936, Boreham actually published fifteen more books—but there is a big difference in these later volumes. Aside from I Forgot to Say, the books that follow are compilations of shorter articles that were not yet published in book form, books compiled on themes that he loved,

I Forgot to Say
The first of fifteen books published after Boreham’s notional retirement. Includes “Wet Paint.”

My Pilgrimage
Boreham’s autobiography.

The Prodigal
Exposition of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, one of Boreham’s favorite themes.

Boulevards of Paradise
Short articles.

A Late Lark Singing
Short articles.

Cliffs of Opal

Lover of Life (Man Who Saved Gandhi) (Our Review: ★★★★★)
A short biography of Rev. J. J. Doke. (First printed as The Man Who Saved Gandhi.) Doke was a great encouragement to Boreham in his early pastorate, and eventually gave his life as a pioneer missionary.
John Broadbanks Publishing, $7.00

Arrows of Desire (Our Review: ★★★★★)
Short articles.

My Christmas Book (Our Review: ★★★★★)
Twelve short Christmas devotions. About half of these are taken from previous books, under different titles. But they are attractively edited to make a perfect Christmas devotional, wisely themed not only around the holiday, but around “the Word became flesh”—the mystery of God incarnate in Christ.
Reprinted by John Broadbanks Publishing, $6.99. (Hardbacks run around $15.)

Dreams at Sunset
Short articles. Includes “The Ideal Congregation.”
No reprint available. Hardbacks run $15.

In Pastures Green
An exposition of Psalm 23. We are grateful to John Broadbanks Publishing for cheaply reprinting this short and valuable work.
Reprinted by John Broadbanks Publishing, $10.00.

The Gospel of Robinson Crusoe
Essays from the classic adventure novel, Robinson Crusoe.
Reprinted as a 2-in-1 by John Broadbanks Publishing, $7.99.

The Gospel of Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Essays from the classic anti-slavery story, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Reprinted as a 2-in-1 by John Broadbanks Publishing, $7.99.

The Tide Comes In
A very rare book of short articles, some only one or two pages. Includes the essay “God.”

The Last Milestone
Short articles, published posthumously with a lovely biographical introduction.

6. Post-humous (not including compilations)

Slices of Infinity
Previously unpublished material.
Published by John Broadbanks Publishing.

Nuggets of Romance
Previously unpublished material. Mostly biographical articles about literary figures. Very few of the essays are devotional in any traditional sense, but the book will prove very enjoyable to lovers of Boreham’s biographical style.
Published by John Broadbanks Publishing.

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Lover of Life by F. W. Boreham

Review: Lover of Life (Man Who Saved Gandhi)

Rating: ★★★★½

Who: J. J. (Joseph John) Doke was a Baptist pastor and missionary who ministered in New Zealand and South Africa. As the original title suggests, he became coincidentally entangled with Mahatma Gandhi when an uprising nearly killed him; he afterward nursed him back to health in his own home, winning his lifelong friendship and respect.

The author, F. W. Boreham, was an English pastor and a prolific author who ministered in New Zealand and Australia for more than thirty years.

Overview: This little book is an uplifting and quick read that will stir you concerning the pioneer mission field. This book tells the story of Doke’s mentorship of Boreham in New Zealand, a relationship that was highly formative in his early career. Doke not only had a great impact on Boreham’s notorious reading habits, but he also connected Boreham to an editor that led to the beginnings of his writing career. The publisher makes a case that this book should be placed in the hands of budding pastors as an illustration of healthy mentorship.

Doke’s life itself is also fascinating. As the old title suggests, he did save Gandhi’s life before he had reached his present level of international fame. J. J. Doke’s brother was a pioneer missionary who lost his life in the Congo, and he wanted to follow in his footsteps. He pastored in New Zealand for a time, but later returned to the African mission field. Doke eventually lost his life, like his brother, while pioneering a new station in the region of present-day Zimbabwe.

For lovers of Boreham, this book tells you almost as much about him as it does about J. J. Doke. Although Boreham often tells personal stories, this book gives a new angle to how he became who he was.

Bones: My main beef with this book is that it was so short—I wanted more detail about his life as a missionary. The original title, The Man Who Saved Gandhi, led to me to believe it was a full biography; the newer title, Lover of Life: F. W. Boreham’s Tribute to His Mentor, is a little more fitting. It does trace Doke’s life through, but not in detail.

Related: George Augustus Selwyn: Pioneer Bishop of New Zealand is the only full biography that Boreham penned.

Doke himself wrote two adventure novels about lost races in remote Africa, The Secret City and The Queen of the Secret City. Both are extremely rare and out of print.

A new copy is available from John Broadbanks Publishing for $7.00.

Review: The Passing of John Broadbanks

Rating: ★★★★★

Who: F. W. Boreham, British pastor and author of more than 50 books. He spent most of his life pastoring in New Zealand and Australia. (See the article “Who Is F. W. Boreham?”)

Overview: Very few of F. W. Boreham’s devotional books have clear themes; this is an exception. Many of the sermons run on the themes of the passage of time, the metaphor of life as a journey, and the approach of eternity. His overall method is to treat whatever metaphors, stories, and life parables present themselves to him.

Meat: “Our Second Wind” is among the best chapters in any of his books. “The Wayside Inn” and all of Part II is moving and memorable. Passing of John Broadbanks is one of the later books of his career, so his writing style is very clear and polished here.

Bones: There is little to criticize here. If you like this author, you will love this book. Not all of his published essays are expressly spiritual; nevertheless, this book has some of his best devotional material.

Quotes: “Life’s choicest prizes are for the plodders.” (“Our Second Wind”, loc. 1694)

“The rending of the veil was not the desecration of the temple; it was the consecration of the world.” (“Beau Geste”, loc. 2475)

“The Kingdom of God demands of each man the dedication of his own individuality.” (“The Ordinand”, loc. 2604)

Who Is F. W. Boreham?

I want to tell you about my favorite author: F. W. Boreham. If you asked him his profession, he would say he was a pastor; but he was superlative as a writer. You would think that I was joking if I told you that, when he was a child, a gypsy told his nanny that if she put a pen in his hand, he would never want for work. But it is a story that he laughed in recounting. He was among Charles Spurgeon’s last personally chosen students for his Bible school. When Charles’ brother, James Spurgeon, returned from New Zealand needing a replacement in those remote islands, Boreham accepted the charge. It was the start of a long life of ministry and writing in New Zealand and Australia.

In the early twentieth century, at a preachers’ conference, one preacher said of F. W. Boreham that his books were on all their shelves, his name was on all their lips, and his illustrations were in all their sermons. Many years later, in 1959, Ruth Graham, wife of Billy Graham, said that she had read almost all of his books and was in the process of acquiring and finishing the last few. While preaching in the area, Billy Graham made a special trip to visit this famous writer and preacher. Impeccable timing, as it turned out to be the last year of the author’s life.

 Today writer and apologist Ravi Zacharias reads an essay by him everyday. That is, some call them essays; others call them sermons. They straddle the line between preaching and storytelling; they are deep enough to be studied by a trained philosopher, creative enough to captivate anyone in need of a great story, inspiring enough to satisfy any Christian thirsty for living water.

I suppose Boreham’s writings should speak for him, although several eminent men have spoken for him too. Spurgeon, one of the 19th century’s greatest preachers, and an Englishman; Billy Graham, one of the 20th century’s greatest evangelists, an American; and Ravi Zacharias, one of the 21st century’s greatest apologists, an Indian—they all tipped their hat to this writer. Because of his long life and early commitment to read a book every week, he seems to quote or reference every famous Christian of his time, including not only preachers, but missionaries, inventors, scientists, storytellers, and adventurers.

F. W. Boreham wrote over 2000 biographical articles for an Australia newspaper during his lifetime, many of which were put into his books. With 52 full-length books and dozens of booklets to his name, he was, until 1990, the most prolific religious writer in Australia’s history. Today his readers agree that no one else has such a knack for taking a commonplace topic or story, and zooming out his lens until, at the end of almost every essay, you gain a glimpse of Christ that impels you to worship. He also had an unparalleled way of saving his punchline until you thought it would never come.

If all this sounds like creative hyperbole to you, then consult his writings for yourself; and tell me if he has ever been beaten in his superlative skill to take an ordinary topic and point you to an extraordinary Savior.

Of course, I can’t forget the one who taught Boreham all he knew. The rabbi who wrote no books and died young, but awed the world by using everyday stories, untapped Scripture insights, God’s creation, or mere questions. He found his sermons in a coin, a fig tree, a highway robbery, a shepherd, the flowers, the birds, the harvest, the weather—and among his loftiest subjects, a meal including bread and wine. Following in the God-man’s footsteps, Frank William Boreham had a perfect ally and ample approval to point from the creation to the Creator.

On Sowing Hopeseed

F. W. Boreham, The Three Half-Moons, Part I, ch. VIII

In her Glimpses of the Past, Miss Elizabeth Wordsworth tells of a visit that she paid to Mrs. Selwyn, the widow of the great Doctor Selwyn, the pioneer Bishop of New Zealand. Miss Wordsworth began to talk a little dismally about the world and his wife—shocking sinners, both of them!

Continue reading

The Ideal Congregation

F. W. Boreham, Dreams at Sunset

There may be some question as to which is the largest congregation in the world: there may be some doubt as to which is the richest: but there can be no uncertainty as to which is the best. The best congregation in the world is a congregation of one. And the best of that best congregation is that anyone can enjoy the privilege of addressing it. Continue reading

A Clouded Christmas

F. W. Boreham, My Christmas Book, Part II, ch. IV

It is an infinite comfort to us ordinary pulpiteers to know that even an Archbishop may sometimes have a bad time! And, on the occasion of which I write, the poor Prelate must have had a very bad time indeed. For—tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon!—none of his hearers knew what he had been talking about! They could make neither head nor tail of it! ‘I have not been able to find one man yet who could discover what it was about’, wrote one of his auditors to a friend. It is certainly most humiliating when our congregations go home and pen such letters for posterity to chuckle over.

And yet the ability of the preacher at this particular service, and the intelligence of his hearers, are alike beyond question. Continue reading