John Nuttall

The Life And Testimony Of John Nuttall

Gospel Standard 1868:

John Nuttall, Of Manchester

John Nuttall, long a member of the church at Manchester, was born April 14th, 1793, and died July 26th, 1868. He was, in the Christian life, a man of sterling worth.

The round of his earthly pilgrimage may be compassed in a few words. He was born at Bacup, Lancashire, and, step after step, removed to dough Fold, Sabden, Burnley, again to Bacup, then to Church Bank, Goodshaw Fold, and to Bacup again, then to Height Side, Whitewell Bottom, and thence to Manchester, where now his mortal remains rest in Machpelah, where many a Jacob and Sarah rest in hope.

When he was four years of age, his life hung in human balances for death by burning; but, in the decree of heaven, just as safe as before the fire kindled upon him. His times were in the Lord’s hand. At five years of age, he began to work for his daily bread, which he continued to do for 70 years.

Shortly after his removal to Manchester, it pleased God to quicken his dead soul; as says Paul, “You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins.” To use his own words: “I began to be alarmed in my mind.” After many ups and downs, hoping and fearing, he went to hear that dear man of God, W. Gadsby. He was preaching from these words: “Brethren, farewell.” The Lord caused the words to rest upon his heart, and he was greatly affected by it. This, he said, gave him an errand to the throne of grace.

He continued to attend Mr. Gadsby’s ministry; but it was about six years after this before he obtained a sense of pardon, peace, and gospel liberty. Before he enjoyed true peace, he was often brought very low, even to the borders of despair, and concluded there was no hope for him. The set time came at last. On the 10th day of March, 1824, it pleased God to pour out upon him such a sense of mercy, peace, and love, that he became unfit for business. His own words were: “Mercy appeared in a wonderful way, and has done many times since. O that I could praise the Lord for his unspeakable love!”

On March 23rd, 1824, he was proposed to the church, on April 2nd related the Lord’s dealings with him, and on the first Lord’s day in April, 1824, he was baptized, and received into fellowship, which day was to him a great day; and no wonder, since it must be a great thing to put on Christ, as says Paul, “As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” (Gal. 3:27.) The text on the occasion was: “The eternal God is thy refuge,” which was very sweet to him; and the hymn beginning “Jesus, thy blood and righteousness,” was the music of his very soul. “My very soul,” he said, “was humbled before the Lord.” He enjoyed much these words: “Fear not, for I am with thee; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.”

Before long he got into a very low, distressing condition of mind, often experiencing heart-departures from God, with a sense of sad and awful depravity, which made him often cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Such times were to him solemn times indeed. When reflecting on the sufferings of Christ, these words made his sorrow keener still, viz., “This man hath done nothing amiss;” and he was relieved by that sweet portion: “The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs.”

The following incidents are given as near in his own words as possible: “I feel it good to converse with God’s people.” “I was melted in prayer with God’s kind promises to one of his dear children, and relieved in reading Ps. 116; I felt refreshed in reading, in the ‘ Gospel Standard, the experience of one of the Lord’s dear children. Reading Job 19 was much blessed to me; and I was much blessed and delighted in prayer at my employment with the lovingkindness of the Lord to so ungrateful a wretch. I felt much sweetness in reading Ps. 21, and softened while reading about Mary washing Christ’s feet. I had a precious time while Mr. Taylor was preaching of the lovingkindness of the Lord, and had a blessed revival in communing with several brethren. I had a grand time under the word preached by Mr. Taylor on June 7th, 1868, from Ps. 9:14. I had a precious time indeed under the word preached from the love of God in Christ; and that hymn: “‘Sweet the moment, rich in blessing.” The Lord made this a precious time indeed to my soul. I was often and much blessed in reading obituaries in the *Standard”. Had a profitable time in prayer in my family, thanking God for his goodness and mercy to one so vile. Much refreshed reading of Jacob meeting Esau, and the circumstances connected with it. Had a sweet revival in hearing a sermon preached from Ps. 73:25, 26. Was much blessed in reading about the woman of Canaan coming to Christ. I was melted in reading of Christ praying in his agony, and his disciples going to sleep, and Jesus asking them if they could not watch one hour. Much revived with that hymn: “‘Afflicted saint, to Christ draw near.’ Had a good time while Mr. Taylor was preaching from Psalm 88:10. Was blessed while reading about Christ washing his disciples’ feet, and Peter saying, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” Had a glorious hearing while Mr. Taylor was preaching from Ps. 41:10. Much darkness, very low, sorely tried; but O what a glorious revival I had from the Lord in sweet solemn power resting on my spirit; it made me sing:

“‘Why do we, then, indulge our fears?’ &c.

“After this, I was in long and great darkness of soul; but, blessed be the Lord, he delivered me out of it. While walking in the street one day, a spirit of prayer came upon me, while my soul was alarmed at my rebellion, and I trembled within myself; but I was led out in prayer in such a way, and I had such liberty to plead with God, and these words were so good and so refreshing: “Fear not; be not dismayed, for I am thy God.”

In the above extracts there may be observed certain joints apparently dislocated; but they are in the shape the author left them, and honest men like originality, and it is a question if they would look as well in any other shape, especially if ornamented with borrowed trimmings.

A long familiarity with the dear departed brother has left a sweet savour on his very name as a Christian. His attendance at the house of God was indeed exemplary. Weather was not the question with John Nuttall; and when his seat was seen empty, the thought readily suggested itself, “John Nutfcall must be poorly.” At prayer meetings the hymns he gave out were not always descriptive of the frame of his mind. But the moment he opened his mouth in prayer one might see through his whole soul. If in darkness and compassed with evils, his voice was in a low tone. “Dear Lord, a vile wretch is permitted,” &c. But if under the sweet shining of the Sun of Righteousness, his voice was firm, clear, and even rapid: “Dear Lord, we bless thy precious name for thy goodness and mercy to us,” &c. His nearness to the Lord was often manifest. His attendance upon all means was regular, and not merely to hear the minister; with brother Nuttall worship was the object. He sought to worship God. The language of his heart was: “O come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Like other men, he had choice of men and of ministers; but worship was his object.

As affliction grew upon him, his place in the house of God was seen empty. At length he was confined to his home; the chair; the couch; and then the bed. The Lord was indeed merciful to him. His affliction was short.

On the Tuesday before he died he was very low in mind, oppressed, and sorrowful; but was much revived on Wednesday, and on Thursday was much favoured, comforted, and indeed blessed, having many precious views, and sweet enjoyment of the love of Christ. Hymn 174 was very much blest to him. O, with what eagerness did he say, “Jesus is precious!” and how freely did he bless his precious name! The name of the Lord was indeed a strong tower to him. He enjoyed safety in it.

On Saturday, and especially Saturday night, he was greatly comforted. He seemed to long to hear the wheels of the Redeemer’s chariot. Several of the friends met at his sick bed, and he talked then freely and sweetly of redeeming love. They sang hymns and conversed till midnight, our afflicted and dying brother joining in the song and conversation, as far as his affliction would allow, at intervals exclaiming, “Precious Jesus! precious Jesus!” On being asked how many real, true love visits he had experienced in his journey, he replied, “O, many!” Pausing a little, he said, “Many I have forgotten; but there are six real jewels I can neither lose nor forget.”

His complaint was diseased liver, and an attack of diarrhoea so prostrated the system that it could not rally. Spasmodic affection set in, a third attack of which closed the scene, and he breathed his last in the arms of a son-in-law, a brother also in the Lord Jesus.

Thus died John Nuttall, on Lord’s day evening, July 26th, 1868, much beloved by his surviving brethren.

He was a man of peace. Had there been a thousand John Nuttalls in the church, there would have been no trouble with them.

James Collinge

John Nuttall (1793-1868) was a Strict and Particular Baptist believer. He sat under the gospel ministry of William Gadbsy, enjoying membership at the church in Manchester for many years.