5 MAY 1894, Page 3

At the evening meeting, the chief feature was the speech

of Mr. George Russell (the Under-Secretary for the Home Department), who, as a most devoted Churchman, made a very earnest, not to say very passionate, speech in favour of the principle of Disestablishment and Disendowment, on the ground that State control and State endowments "check the spiritual life of the Church itself, and engender hard and worldly sentiments in pastor and people alike." There can be no doubt that there is a class of consequences which follow from State favour and State endowments which may fairly be thus described, but we very much doubt whether they will compare in their injurious effects with the evils arising from that utter dependence of pastors on their congregations, which is the characteristic evil of voluntary sects. And when Mr. Russell says that there is no fear of Disendowment reducing the poorest districts to religious destitution, he can hardly have studied the recent American evidence as to the consider- able number of areas in the Eastern States where the churches are utterly abandoned, and no religious service of any kind is held.