Jonathan Alexander Nunn’s obituary

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After Jonathan Alexander Nunn died in 1842, a memoir was published in the Strict Baptist Magazine The Gospel Herald. It contains useful family history information about him, and also sheds some light on his life, beliefs and personality. The Gospel Herald has been digitised by Google Books, but to make it easier for you to read, I’ve typed it up.

A Brief Memoir of Mr J. A. Nunn, late of 257, Regent’s Circus, Oxford Street, London

From The Gospel Herald; or, Poor Christian’s Magazine, vol XI, 1843

p. 216 The subject of this brief memoir was born in the parish of Tunstal [Tunstall], in the County of Suffolk, in the year 1799. In this village his parents lived for many years, and had born to them two children. It was here, or in a village near Tunstal, where they first heard the ever-blessed gospel preached by Mr. Thompson of Culpho, who occasionally visited these parts, and which proved the power of God unto salvation to Mr. Nunn, and afterwards to Mrs. Nunn. Mr. Nunn joined the church at Grundisburgh, under the pastoral care of Mr. Thompson, whose ministry they attended, although twelve miles distance and where they spent their youthful and joyous day in religion, and mingled with the saints of God in fellowship and conversation, that endeared to them both their minister and Christian friends. Indeed, a strong feeling of attachment to this connection was always evinced by them to the end of their days.

In process of time, however, they found it necessary, for want of employment, to remove to London, with their two sons, Jonathan and James; and settling at the East End of London, attended the ministry of Mr. Shenstone, Little Alie Street, Goodman’s Fields; and here Mrs. Nunn was baptized, and joined the church; but very soon they found it necessary to remove to the West End of London; when they attended the ministry of Mr. Keeble, of Blandford Street, and joined the church under his pastoral care, to whom they were devotedly attached, and by whose ministry they were very much blessed. This was to them in all respects a home; and their comforts in church-fellowship, and sympathy from friends in days of affliction, were neither few nor small.

After a long and distressing affliction, which he bore with great patience and Christian fortitude, Mr Nunn was removed by death, to take possession of his heavenly rest, at the age of about forty-four, leaving Mrs Nunn, and six children, to mourn his loss. The subject of this memoir, the eldest of the family, was then, and continued, a most steady and exemplary youth. His habits, taste, and general demeanour, were such that secured to him the good opinion and deep respect of all that knew him. He was very soon placed out, as clerk and writer, in a very respectable establishment, in Berkeley Square, which situation he filled, with great satisfaction to his employers, for many years. During which time he lived with his widowed mother, to whom he was a great blessing; and up to this period, and till his mother was released from her bonds of clay, which was only a few days before he died, he did not forget the duty of a son to a widowed mother; but, with his brother James, to whom he was always strongly attached, contributed liberally to her support. Indeed, the writer of this article can say, from personal knowledge, that he never knew two sons who more affectionately and liberally watched over, and kindly administered to all the claims of a widowed parent: in this they had their reward.

In the year 1823, he married Miss Eliza Card, who had just commenced business, at 257, Regent’s Circus, Oxford Street, in which business he continued till his death. By Mrs Nunn, whom he has left to deplore his loss, he had nine children, five sons and four daughters, the eldest about twenty, the youngest about two years of age. God, whose goodness had been very abundant to him during all his days, blessed the efforts of himself and his dear companion, and the determined perseverance and ability of Mrs

217. Nunn, contributed in no small degree to it, to procure sufficient, respectably to sustain his widow and family, which was to him a source of great comfort. His affections as a husband and a father were very strong, and it added much to all his other and more important pleasures, that he had been able to make this provision for the objects of his highest worldly esteem.

In the year 1819, the writer of this article first introduced the subject of religion to him, in a private conversation, into which he freely entered, although generally diffident, and from that time felt satisfied that he was a subject of the grace of God, although he did not make a public profession for many years afterwards. He attended the ministry of Mr Keeble, at Blandford Street, till he died, to whom he was very strongly attached, and from whom he received great profit. He afterwards left with the friends who withdrew, on the settlement of Mr Dawson, with whom was his mother, brother James, and Mrs. Nunn, and attended the ministry of Mr Foreman for some three or four years; and from Mount Zion, he removed to attend the ministry of Mr Stevens, at Meard’s Court, Soho; and here he always acknowledged he received great profit, and was much blessed; and in the month of June, 1836, he was baptized and joined the church. In this connection he lived, and in union with this church he died, to join the church above.

During the latter part of his life, he was very much afflicted with an asthma, and found it necessary frequently to leave town for the benefit of the air. And for the last two years, took a house and spent the greater part of his time at Ealing, at which place he breathed his last, and resigned all on earth for that “Inheritance which is incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away.”

His intimate friend, Mr Smith, who frequently visited him, and who was much with him during his illness, makes the following statement respecting his conversations with him, and his calm and happy state before he left this world:

“At what time the Lord was pleased to first visit his mind with spiritual light, by the regenerating power of this Holy Spirit, does not appear; but the impressions I have gathered from our various conversations on the subject, are, that his convictions of divine truth were like the opening of the light of morning, very gradual, and came in upon his soul with that gentleness, that he was neither thrown into those dreadful feelings of acute fear, nor the ecstatic raptures of joy, which some of our fellow pilgrims are called to experience, but had sufficient sense of his lost estate imparted to him, to lead him to abandon all hope and dependence on his own doings or sufferings, and to seek salvation in the righteousness and sufferings of another. Thus he was led to contemplate the amazing mystery of redemption by the incarnate Son of God; but still fearful lest he should lay his hand on that which did not belong to him, his faith was too feeble to appropriate these great and high privileges which, as an humble dependent upon the friend of helpless sinners, he had a right unto: but still leaning upon the great sacrifice of the cross, for the blotting out of his transgressions, and the all-perfect obedience of the God-man Mediator for his justification before the omniscient eye of infinite justice, he went on hoping and fearing for many years, anxious to walk in the commandments of the Lord, but still fearful to put on a public profession, lest he should by that be deceiving himself and others. Such was the tenderness of his conscience, and such his hatred of hypocrisy, that it appeared to him most odious and awful to make pretentions to a religion he often doubted in his own mind,

p.218 whether he was in reality possessor of. But after sitting under the ministry of Mr Stevens for some lengthened time, his faith raised her head with more confidence, and his doubts began to give away to a more cheerful apprehension of that interest in the great Head of the church, which he had so long been so very desirous of knowing. One sermon, in particular, on the parable of the leaven hid in the meal, was made a very great blessing to his mind, and he saw clearly his part amongst the flock for whom the good Shepherd laid down his life; when he immediately stepped forward to offer himself for membership with us, as a church, and to follow the Lamb in the despised ordinance of baptism of immersion. But just at the time he was to have followed his Lord in the watery way, he was laid on a bed of severe sickness, so that he appeared nigh unto death; but the Lord sustained his mind in sweet and placid reliance on himself, till after a time he was pleased to raise him again so as to enable him to pass through the ordinance into the church invisible and militant. From this time, his confidence of his own interest in the eternal realities of the covenant of grace seems not to have forsaken him, although at times rather sharply tried, yet he found the truth of that promise, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.” Thus conducted and upheld by the everlasting arms, down to the last of his time he was enabled with composure to resign his spirit into the hands of his beloved Lord! Of whom he often said, “I know whom I have believed.” He was called into the upper church state, at two o’clock, on Lord’s day morning, Feb. 20th; about ten hours previous to which he received the intelligence of the deceased of his widowed mother; in the most composed manner, a letter being brought into his room, and given to his beloved wife, he asked if it contained the news of his mother’s death, adding, “It will not disturb me, as I am going next.”

“When I saw him on the Thursday previous, I observed he appeared very poorly; he replied, “Yes, I am; I always had an impression I should never go into the other house,” (alluding to an intended removal.) I answered, But you will go to a better mansion than that, although it is more convenient than this. “Oh! Yes,” he replied, “and then I shall want to remove no more;” with many other expressions of the strongest confidence in the Lord, and the word of his grace.

“I visited him again a few hours before his departure, but he having been conversing with other friends, was in too exhausted a state to say more than his faith and hope remained unshaken. During the time he was ill, the 260th hymn, “Jesus, lover of my soul,” &c. appeared to rest much on his mind; and frequently, during sleepless nights, hung much on his lips.

“He was a man of very few words, but of sound judgment; his remarks on religious subjects were always short, but full of meaning; and to the point: indeed, this will apply to his manner generally. As a Christian, he was humble, esteeming others better than himself. As a church member, he was anxious to fill up his place, which he did frequently at the risk of suffering many hours’ pain, and shortness of breath. On Lord’s day, previous to his death, he arose from his chair, and said, “I feel so much better, I shall be able by next Lord’s day to go to London, and be at Salem;” not then expecting the day he was anticipating would be the commencement of an everlasting sabbath in Salem above.”

On Tuesday, March 1st, 1842, his mortal remains were lodged in the cemetery at Kensal Green, followed by his widow, children, relations, and

p.219 many friends; Mr Stevens being ill at the time, Mr Collings, of Grundisburgh, an intimate friend, gave the address at the ground, assisted by Mr Robinson, of Brentford. The season was one truly solemn, and deeply affecting to all, and most fervently did the friends join that the blessing of God might rest upon the widow and the nine fatherless children.

Respecting the character of Mr Nunn, those who knew him best, held him in the highest esteem. As a husband, a father, a relation, a friend, and a tradesman, he was truly exemplary; but his only hope for a better world, was in the blood and righteousness of his dear Redeemer. May the best wishes of his heart attend his widow, children, relations, and friends.

The very excellent sermon that has preceded this, preached by Mr Stevens, March 6th, instead of the 12th, 1842, we have no doubt has been read with great interest and pleasure; and it is intended to print a few copies, entire, with this memoir, which will shortly be ready. [The first part of the sermon begins on page 151.]

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