Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spurgeon's Publishers: Passmore & Alabaster

"Passmore & Alabaster" --
Original Publishers of
C. H. Spurgeon's Sermons and Works

Historian Terry Wolever, who is in association with Pastor Gary W. Long and their publishing work, Particular Baptist Press of Springfield, Missouri, sent me the following most interesting information about C. H. Spurgeon's publishers, Joseph Passmore and James Alabaster --

Bob, awhile back I had asked you if you knew when the two Spurgeon publishers, Passmore and Alabaster, were born. At the time neither of us knew. I have since pursued this further and with the help of a friend in England I can share more about the two.

JOSEPH PASSMORE, the senior partner in the firm, is stated in Boase, Modern English Biography, page 1376, to have been born in 1822. But according to the 1881 British Census, FHL film 1341147, Folio 57, page 12, which was taken on March 31st of that year, he more likely was born in 1823, as his age is shown to be 57. Boase goes on to say of Passmore that he was "a member of C.H. Spurgeon's church, actively assisted in building the Tabernacle institutions and in founding the Stockwell orphanage 1867; [he] suggested the weekly issue of Spurgeon's Sermons 1855 and continued printing it without intermission [for] 36 years; [he] printed and published the whole of Spurgeon's works 1855-1895." Passmore died at his residence in London on August 1, 1895.

JAMES ALABASTER, the junior partner, was born ca.1826 and died on November 19, 1892 (the same year as Spurgeon). His death was recorded in this notice in the Sword and Trowel:

"On Saturday, November 19, just as these 'Notes' were being printed, Mr James Alabaster was 'called home,' after being laid aside less than a week. His loss is most keenly felt by his family and partners in business, especially by the head of the firm, Mr. Joseph Passmore, with whom Mr. Alabaster had been in close personal friendship for nearly forty years. We have tried to picture the meeting [in heaven] between the beloved Pastor and his esteemed publisher; for, although Mr. Alabaster was a staunch adherent of the Church of England, he loved the same Lord whom Mr. Spurgeon served, and was an equally devout believer in the faith once for all delivered to the saints."

At the time of their deaths, Passmore would have been 71 and Alabaster about 66. As all of us who appreciate the writings of Spurgeon know, we owe a great deal under God to the diligence of these two men and their associates for preparing the extensive works of Sprugeon for publication. I hope Mike is doing much better. With kind regards, Terry Wolever

Bob's Note:

We are deeply grateful for this -- as well as for other information which Brother Wolever has provided for us over time. He has done a remarkable job with the historical works which have been reprinted by Particular Baptist Press, and I would urge my readers to take a look at these works and make them a part of your library.

Pilgrim Publications has made it our practice to always use original, unedited editions of Passmore & Alabaster productions when we have done a reprint of a Spurgeon book. -- Bob L. Ross

Sunday, March 14, 2010

"The Internet Monk"

Dim Health Report on Michael Spencer,
Known on the Web as "The Internet Monk"

I had not visited the blog of Michael Spencer, "The Interent Monk," for a long time, to the best of my recollection. Back when blogging was somewhat in its "heyday," Michael was one of the most notorious of the bloggers, especially noted for his rather brash style and verbiage.

However, what "stirred my feathers" about Michael was when he tried to implicate C. H. Spurgeon in his pot of cauldron against the use of public invitations. He wrote extensively against invitations, and I replied to his exorbitancies in a short series of emails to my list [I was not blogging at the time]. Michael alleged that public invitations had "corrupted evangelical Christianity." I replied to his exaggerations point-by-point, and he wrote me some emails, demanding that I cease my criticisms.

[On The Calvinist Flyswatter, I commented:
And, as if to salve over his past approval of invitations, he said that "nearly every evangelical Christian" he knows responded to an altar call at the outset of their faith journey. He went on to explain that he later "met the Calvinists" and he was "ruined." He mentions Iain Murray's anti-invitation booklet, and goes on to embellish the names of a few notable Pedobaptist theologians who teach the "pre-faith regeneration" theory. He arrived at the conclusion that invitations had "corrupted evangelical Christianity," and it appears that he may be trying to demonstrate the reality of that corruption by furnishing himself as Exhibit A.]

Michael's other obsession to which I ventured to take exception was his extreme antagonism against Joel Osteen, our neighbor here in this area. He seemed to be determined to mount a "holy crusade" of sorts against Joel, while Joel just kept minding his own affairs and paid no attention to Michael's boisterous deprecations. We defended Joel and this infuriated Michael even more.

He alleged more than once that I was a "man without honor" or "integrity," but paid no attention to our critiques of what he had written on invitations, his Hybrid Calvinism, and other issues.

For some reason, and as blogging declined, we gradually more or less lost interest in what the Monk was saying about anything. We devoted a few stabs at humor about the Monk on the Calvinist Flyswatter, and soon had little to no contact with his website.

Yesterday, I was going thru my "Favorites" list of links, deleting some dead links, and I came upon The Internet Monk's. I checked to see if it was still functioning, and in doing so I came upon the unexpected report of his declining health -- which you may consult at this link.

Michael is only 53, and we regret that this is his condition. Despite our strong differences, we would have desired for him a long and enjoyable time for years to come. We pray for him, his family, friends, and entrust him to the Providence of our Lord and His Will for his life.