At the Rushden Parish Church, the Queen-street Independent Wesleyan Church, and the Old Baptist Church, references were made at Sunday's services to the life and death of the late Mr. W. K. Gladstone. At the Parish Church the Dead March in "Saul" was played at the conclusion of the morning service by the organist (Mr. J. E. Smith). At the evening service the Rector (the Rev. W. R. Morse) preached from Luke xxiv., 51-3. Having spoken of the joy of the disciples at the ascension, which was seen in the fact that they went to the temple daily to praise and bless God, the preacher remarked that it was recorded of the great statesman who entered into his rest last Thursday that it was only after communion with God that he ventured to deal with the great affairs of the State. What a lesson for themselves! Would that all their actions should be inspired by these high motives which only the spirit of true devotion could impart. Would that they could rely more than they did upon the grace of God in the performance of their daily duty. As they looked back to-day upon that long and illustrious career that had just come to a close, that life of great activity and unwearied industry, that life of marked ability in public service, they could not but feel and observe how a great deal of Mr. Gladstone's life was enriched and ennobled by the spirit of the most perfect trust in God. It had been stated in the House of Commons that what Mr. Gladstone believed he intensely believed. How true that was of his Churchmanship. Why was his religion such a source of strength in life as well as in the hour of death? Was it not because he believed in the great truths of the Christian faith with all his heart and soul; because he acted up to his beliefs with such intense reality? What an affecting sight it was to see one who was so rich in intellectual gifts, such a giant in so many different branches of learning, display such a simple, child-like trust, and kneeling so often and so reverently before the Lord his God. Had he been wavering and uncertain in the faith, had he doubted the efficacy of the means of grace, or had not courage to act up to his convictions, had he been a hearer of the Word and not a doer of it, he would not have left behind him such an example of religious life. His religion was real because he believed in its reality, and because he himself was real. Might they not learn a lesson from his life: a lesson of devotion to duty and devotion to God, inspired and sustained by the grace of God?
At Queen-street Independent Wesleyan Church, the Rev. J. Scarborough conducted a memorial service in the morning. Mr. Gladstone's favourite hymns were sung, and reference was made to the family of the deceased in the prayers. Preaching from Hebrew xi., the last part of verse 4, "He being dead yet speaketh," the rev. gentleman explained the historic circumstances associated with the text and the writer's idea when he penned the words. No passage, in the Bible, he said, would better serve as a text on which to speak of the dead statesman. His life and death spoke to them of various thingsof the fact that death came to all of them, irrespective of position, and also that there was no guarantee against the advent of death. Mr. Gladstone's life proved to them that no matter what might be the position occupied by men, no matter how exalted the person, it was possible to keep one's life clear. This was borne out by the long public life of Mr. Gladstone, and friend and foe alike now joined together in appreciation of his moral character. While the character and reputation of other men had wavered Mr. Gladstone had always remained the honourable English gentleman, choosing rather the pleasure of public appreciation than titles from his sovereign, and preferring to be known by his own name and to be appreciated by his own morality rather than to bury his name in honourable titles which might have been his long ago. No person ever thought of making any charge against his character, and his oldest and possibly strongest opponent eulogised the moral life of Mr. Gladstone by remarking that he was a man of strict integrity, without one redeeming vice. Such a life proved conclusively that no matter what might be the position of a man, it was possible for him to so regulate his moral life as to avoid glaring sin. The life of Mr. Gladstone spoke to them of the fact that a life of integrity and honest intensions had its own reward, for in the midst of all his physical pain there was a calm serenity of mind up to the last. Mr. Gladstone was one of those men whose sympathy could always be relied upon when the question of oppression or tyranny was at stake; his eyes would flash and his voice assume its most inspiring tone when he was reciting cruelties perpetrated by government or persons. As a case in point, the preacher mentioned an interview between a southern Indian chief and Mr. Gladstone, when he (Mr. Scarborough) acted as interpreter. As Mr. Gladstone listened to the chief the furrows on his forehead deepened and his eyes flashed, proving that irrespective of colour or nationality he always had a loving sympathy for the oppressed. The lessons of Mr. Gladstone's life were so many and so varied that it was practically impossible for them to find them all, but looking back over his accomplishments and his Christian life the words of Longfellow were most appropriate: -
Lives of great men all remind us
We may make our lives sublime,
And departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.
At the Old Baptist Chapel a very impressive service was held, conducted by the Rev. Douglas Brown, son of Archibald Brown. His discourse was based upon the last word spoken by Mr. Gladstone on his death-bed, "Amen." After a lengthy tribute to the memory of the one who had endeared himself to the nation and become an inspiration to tens of thousands, the preacher dwelt upon the word "Amen" as it occurred in various parts of the New Testament. He brought out its shade and meaning as it occurred in the passages of Scripture, and concluded the discourse with the remark that Gladstone's death-bed "Amen" was but a faint expression of the "Thy will be done" which his daily life had breathed, as day by day he had bowed to the Divine will and resigned himself to the shadows which had fallen so heavily upon him in the evening of his life. At the evening service the Rev. Douglas Brown made slight reference to the dead statesman. At each service the Dead March in Saul was played.