Quaint, bizarre, eccentric, peculiar—those words describe a little, wiry coal miner named Billy Bray, of Cornwell, England. Before his conversion in November, 1832, Billy lived a vile life. After finding Christ, he became a flaming evangelist and lay preacher.
On a mountain near his home lived a cluster of non-Christian families. Billy, after working underground all day, would emerge from the mines and set out for the mountain, where he visited door-to-door, evangelizing the families. Soon every inhabitant was converted, and a church house was built.
The Church of England sent Rev. W. Haslam to shepherd the families, but when Billy heard the new parson preach, he was upset. Haslam didn’t seem to know the Gospel. Billy felt the pastor wasn’t truly a Christian himself, and he told him so.
Haslam was shaken. The next Sunday as he stood to preach, he announced his text, Matthew 22:42: “What think ye of Christ?” As he began delivering his message, he felt himself trusting Christ as Savior. He was converted while preaching his own sermon.
Billy heard of it and came for a visit. When Haslam came to the door, Billy asked, “Converted, kind sir?” The man said, “Yes, thank God, I am.” Billy was so happy, he threw his arms around him, lifted him up, and carried him around the room shouting, “Glory, glory, the parson’s converted! Glory be to God.”
Mrs. Haslam, hearing the commotion, entered the room, and Billy cried, “Be the missis converted?” She replied, “Yes, thank God.” Billy started toward her, but instead of picking her up, he just grinned ear to ear and said, “Oh, I be so happy I can hardly live. Glory! Glory be to God!”