20 JANUARY 1900, Page 25

The Midland Churches. By George Eyre Evans. (Herald Printing Works,

Dudley. 21s. net.)—By " churches " is meant the "congregations on the rolls of the Midland Christian Union." These are, we suppose, of the English Presbyterian body, and hold the system of doctrine commonly described as "Unitarian." This word, we learn from the introduction, was actually discarded when the Union was formed, though the new society grew out of the "Warwickshire Unitarian Tract Society." At least an amendment which proposed its introduction into the formula of association was rejected by a decisive majority. Practically, however, the term describes the theological stand- point of the churches. We observe that Dr. Martineau'e name appears in the list of preachers at the annual gatherings of. the "Unitarian Tract Society." This was in 1854. He had not then, it would seem, formulated his later antagonism to the use of the word. This fact may serve as an example of the value of Mr. Evans's volume. This is mainly local. Matters of interest to the general reader are but few, but that these congregations, some of them dating more than two centuries back, should have an authentic record of their past is most desirable. Riots figure largely in their history. The chapel at Bingswood, for instance, suffered from fire during the Sacheverell Riots. Curiously enough, it bears the name ("Dollax") of one of the two rioters executed for the crime. It was entirely destroyed in the Priestley Riots (1791). On both occasions the manse was also destroyed. On the latter occasion the Society obtained, not without difficulty, £139 17s. 6d. for the chapel and ..£200 for the house. The rebuilding cost £461, without reckoning the price of labour voluntarily given. In the history of Tam- worth Chapel we find under date of 1705 a "Confession of faith to be made by such as are admitted to the Lord's Supper." It is identical with the Apostles' Creed, except that "He descended into hell" is paraphrased by "He continued in the state of the dead." The minister seems to have collected money for the "briefs," which were frequent in those days, but not commonly acted on in Nonconformist chapels. For a "new church at Sunderland" he collected .C3 33. "A brief for St. John's Baptist Church, Gloucester," seems not to have appealed so strongly to the people, for it produced only 33. In. the record of preachers at the Monthly Meeting, at its annual visits to Stour- bridge, we find the name of "R H. Hutton, 1849." Among the illustrations we have an interior of the "Church of the Saviour," Whitchurch, Salop. It might be an Anglican mission chapel, and that of an " advanced" type.