Billy Bray's Grave (1868)

A friend of Billy’s describes him in this way ‘Billy was so completely absorbed with a desire to do good, so fired with zeal for the honour of his Divine Master, so full of pity towards his fellowmen, so saved from the fear of man which brings a snare and so impressed with a continual sense of God’s presence and favour, that without regard to position, rank, character or circumstances; he was ever ready to testify of the reality and blessedness of religion.’ And, ‘He had such an insight into people, he had such a sense of times and seasons, he had such a power of putting the truth in an available form, that men could take it without hesitation and digest it.’


William asked Billy about his being constantly happy; Billy answered that we must be fools for Christ’s sake; that Christians like Mr Haslam, who had so much ‘book larning’, having so much to unlearn, were placed at a disadvantage, when compared with some others, ‘for some of us, you know, are fools to begin with.’ He is not far wrong, many of us allow learning and theology to get in the way of Christ our saviour; we need to use our heart far more than our head within our relationship with Christ.


For awhile Billy suffered from something like consumption and became very weak. He sent for a doctor and on his arrival said, ‘Now doctor, I have sent for you because people say you are an honest man and will tell them the truth about their state.’ After being examined, he asked, ‘Well doctor, how is it?’ ‘You are going to die’ was the reply. Billy instantly shouted ‘Glory, glory be to God! I shall soon be in heaven.’ He then said ‘When I get up there, shall I give you their compliments, doctor, and tell them you will be coming too?’ Billy went to be with his Lord on May 22nd 1868, he was a few days short of his 74th birthday. He was buried in Baldhu cemetery.