4 SEPTEMBER 1869, Page 2

The Irish Protestant Episcopalians are quite resolved to give the

laity power in the new organization of their Church, but they seem dreadfully puzzled to know how much power they ought to have. At a recent meeting called to request the two Irish Dukes, Leinster and Abercorn, to take the lead in a lay movement, it was proposed to substitute for them the two Archbishops, thus turning the move- ment into a farce. The proposal was accepted, but Lord James Butler expressed in strong language the suspicions of the laity, and declared that they ought to have a majority in the Governing Body. Surely they ought to have a great deal more. Their absolute authority ought not to be dependent upon the accident of attendances. Our Irish friends seem to be suffering from a fit of modesty, and to forget that while the State Church existed the " laity " were absolute masters. No priest can sit in the House of Commons, and if the House of Commons decrees that the State clergy shall preach from the Koran, they must preach from the Koran, or vacate their livings in favour of those who will obey the only rightful masters of the State Church, the people—" the laity," as those who believe in Brahminism are apt to call them. Unless the Irish " laity " are determined, they will find that their new organization leaves them less ultimate power than their old one, even if they have a nominal majority in the Synod. They should insist on the direct election of a lay President with a veto.