A day’s march nearer home – Autobiography of J. Graham Miller
Edited by Iain H. Murray
Banner of Truth, 328 pages, £16, ISBN: 978-1-84871-064-1
A. W. Tozer said, next to the Bible, Christian biography is the most valuable reading for Christians. A day’s march nearer home is valuable and enjoyable reading.
One unusual aspect of this autobiography is that it was not written to be published. It was simply ‘memories … that, later on, children’s children’ would read. But before his death, Mr Miller gave his good friend Iain Murray authority to use the material as he thought best.
It is an exemplary life. From Miller’s birth in New Zealand in 1913 to his death in 2008, two years after his wife, Flora, his was a full, principled, fruitful and honoured life. In between there was his conversion at 14, a law degree, two stints in the New Hebrides as a missionary, pastorates in New Zealand and Australia, principalship at Melbourne Bible Institute, and much more.
New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, where the Millers laboured, declared a national day of mourning when he died. That is an extraordinary honour for anyone in any age, especially for an evangelical in the 21st century.
The fine example that we see in his life is supplemented by some of his teaching on preaching and pastoral work in the appendices at the end of the book. Excerpts from diaries and letters, poignant and moving, make up the story of the last years in the final chapter, ‘Grateful recollections’.
Mr Murray said it was ‘one of the great privileges’ of his life to have known Graham and Flora Miller. In this book, like in every good biography, we come to know the subject too, just a little. Two characteristics that stand out are his Christ-like integrity and gentleness. It is a valuable book for all to read, especially pastors and missionaries.