Billy Bray (1794-1868AD)
William “Billy” Bray
His drunken frolics were many, which he could not recall without deep shame and sorrow; but his soul was stained with viler sins than any that have been mentioned. His gratitude was lively ever afterwards because the Lord had saved him “from the lowest hell.” “The Lord was good to me,” he often said, “when I was the servant of the devil, or I should have been down in hell now;” and he felt he must praise the Lord for His goodness. His hairbreadth escapes from danger, though he was such a wicked wretch, made an impression on his heart at the time, and a deeper impression afterwards. He was emphatic in his wish that all the evil should be faithfully recorded, that the great mercy of God might be more fully known. [from Chapter 1.]
A Memoir of Billy Bray.
COMPILED CHIEFLY FROM HIS OWN MEMORANDA.
F. W. BOURNE.
26, PATERNOSTER ROW, E.C.:
THE rapid sale of twenty-nine editions of this Memoir is sufficient evidence of the truth of the remark, that no person in Cornwall, in the humbler ranks of life at least, was better known or more respected than William, commonly called “Billy” Bray. His witty and eccentric sayings caused him to be thus widely known, and his deep and fervent piety to be as generally respected.
It is Billy Bray himself who mostly speaks in the following pages, and while his gems of thought and experience might have been made—by cutting and polishing and more skilful setting—to flash with an intenser light and a purer lustre, I wish to express my gratitude for the numerous testimonies I have received as to the acceptability and usefulness of this little work.
To several ministers whose names occur in the Memoirs, to the Rev.
W. Haslam, and to Mr. John Ashwarth of Rochdale, I tender my heartiest
I hope that, by the blessing of God, it may strengthen the faith, confirm the love, and stimulate the zeal of many, and obtain a yet wider circulation.
F. W. Bourne,