A man he was “great in saving common sense and in simplicity sublime.” What think you, friends, was the secret of William Edward Forster’s character, but this?—that “doing nothing through strife or vain glory; in lowliness of mind esteeming others better than himself … he made himself of no reputation;” cared nothing, as he once told me, for mere position, and less, if that were possible, for what men thought about him as far as his public acts were concerned, though he was as sensitive as a woman to a true praise or a true blame of his countrymen; but was determined to be in very truth a Minister of State, and thought no task too difficult, no employ too hazardous, if only in it or by it he could be a servant—first of Christ and then of his country and his time. Truly did that brave man carry himself through storms of insult and winds of rebuke, as though he looked ever unto Jesus the author and finisher of his faith, and could still steer straight onward. If ever in modern times a statesman became obedient unto death it was he who bore the cross of Irish administration – ay, and died upon it. Blameless and harmless (though, doubtless, of not infallible human judgment), a son of God without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, that simple, rugged, manly character shone as a light in a dark world. … Now as we look back upon the past of the mind that was also in Jesus Christ, which this good life of upright perseverance and honest purpose had mirrored forth in the nation’s council and his private home alike, what think you was it that was most noticeable? I answer: fearlessness of what man could do unto him; the courage of his opinions. Friends, the mind as it is in Christ has this same characteristic, and may be known by it. … It is that same part of the mind as it was and is in Christ that, as we follow the Saviour in his ministry, shines out with such a dazzling brightness—the courage to think and act in scorn of all tradition, in the face of public and private opinion of his day to the contrary. A courage that brings no trembling to the lip as the saviour begins to tell his disciples of the decease he must shortly accomplish at Jerusalem. A fearlessness that allows of no half-heartedness in the tone as the word “hypocrites!” flames from his godlike lips upon the Priests and Pharisees. A calm that allows him to say calmly and unflinchingly, in Pilate’s judgment hall to Pilate’s question, the little sentence that wrought the doom of the cross, “Thou sayest that I am a king.” My friends, if to-day, in any community of professing Christians, who, when appealed to, do the right in scorn of consequences, there assuredly the mind that was in Christ Jesus may be known and seen. But, on the other hand, if in any congregation or community, such public spirit is at a low ebb, it may be taken for a sign that there the Christ the fearless one, the Christ with the courage of his convictions, is but dimly known amongst men, but faintly recognised as being “a very present help in time of trouble.”    

(English Lakes Visitor and Keswick Guardian, 24 April 1886, p. 5)