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and looked at the wall of which he had dreamed with particular interest, but seeing no door there, he exclaimed, "It's all right; now I will go and have a good dinner over it, with a bottle of wine!"
Whether he stopped at one bottle or not, I cannot tell ; but late on Saturday night, as he was going home, he was thrown from his horse and killed. That was at the end of the eighth day.
Whether these dreams and visions were the cause or effect of the people's sensitive state, I do not know; but certainly they were very impressible, and even the cold and hardened amongst them were ready to hear about the mysteries of the unseen world. I attributed this to the spiritual atmosphere in which they were then living.
FTER the events narrated in Chapter X., and when all the people who dwelt on the hill on which the church was built were converted, there came upon the scene a very remarkable person, who had evidently been kept back for a purpose. This was none other than the veritable and well-known" BILLY BRAY." * One morning, while we were sitting at breakfast, I heard some one walking about in the hall with a heavy step, saying, "Praise the Lord! praise the Lord!" On opening the door, I beheld a happy-looking little man, in a black Quaker-cut coat, which it was very evident had not been made for him, but for some much larger body. "Well, my friend," I said, "who are you ?"
"I am Billy Bray," he replied, looking steadily at me with his twinkling eyes; "and be you the passon?"
"Yes, I am."
"Thank the Lord! Converted, are ye?"
* See "The King's Son; or, Life of Billy Bray," by F. W. Bourne.
"And the missus inside" (pointing to the dining-room), "be she converted?"
Yes, she is."
"Thank the dear Lord," he said, moving forward.
I made way for him, and he came stepping into the room; then making a profound bow to the said "missus," he asked, "Be there any maidens (servants) ? "
"Yes, there are three in the kitchen.'
"Be they converted too?"
I was able to answer in the affirmative; and as I pointed towards the kitchen door when I mentioned it, he made off in that direction, and soon we heard them all shouting and praising God together. When we went in, there was Billy Bray, very joyful, singing,
"Canaan is a happy place;
I am bound for the land of Canaan."
We then returned to the dining-room with our strange guest, when he suddenly caught me up in his arms and carried me round the room. I was so taken by surprise, that it was as much as I could do to keep myself in an upright position, till he had accomplished the circuit. Then he set me in my chair, and rolling on the ground for joy, said that he "was as happy as he could live." When this performance was at an end, he rose up with a face that denoted the fact, for it was beaming all over. I invited him to take some breakfast with us, to which he assented with thanks. He chose bread and milk, for he said, "I am only a child."
I asked him to be seated, and gave him a chair; but he preferred walking about, and went on talking all the time. He told us that twenty years ago, as he was walking over this very hill on which my church and house were built (it was a barren old place then), the Lord said to him, "I will give thee all that dwell in this mountain." Immediately he fell down on his knees and thanked the Lord, and then ran
to the nearest cottage. There he talked and prayed with the people, and was enabled to bring them to Christ; then he went to the next cottage, and got the same blessing; and then to a third, where he was equally successful. Then he told "Father" that there were only three "housen " in this mountain, and prayed that more might be built. That prayer remained with him, and he never ceased to make it for years. The neighbours, who heard his prayer from time to time, wondered why he should ask for "housen" to be built in such an "ungain" place.
At last, after sixteen years, he received a letter from his brother James, to say that they were hacking up the "croft" to plant trees, and that they were going to build a church on the hill. He was "fine and glad," and praised the Lord. Again he did so, when his brother wrote to say there was a vicarage to be built on the same hill, and a schoolroom also. He was almost beside himself with joy and thankfulness for all this.
In the year 1848, when the church was completed and opened, he came on a visit to Baldhu, and was greatly surprised to see what a change had taken place. There was a beautiful church, a parsonage, with a flourishing garden, and also a schoolroom, with a large plantation and fields round them. He was quite "'mazed," for he never thought that the old hill could be made so grand as that! However, when he went to the service in the church, his joy was over; he came out "checkfallen," and quite disappointed. He told "Father” that there was nothing but an "old Pusey" He had got there, and that he was no good. While he was praying that afternoon, "Father" gave him to understand that he had no business there yet, and that he had come too soon, and without permission. So he went back to his place at once, near Bodmin, and continued to pray for the hill.
After three years his brother James wrote again; and this time it was to tell him that the parson and all his family were converted, and that there was a great revival at the church. Now poor Billy was most eager to come and see this for himself, but he obtained no permission, though he asked and looked for it every day for more than three months.
At last, one wintry and frosty night in January, about half-past eleven o'clock, just as he was getting into bed, "Father" told him that he might go to Baldhu. He was so overjoyed, that he did not wait till the morning, but immediately "put up" his clothes again, "hitched in" the donkey, and set out in his slow-going little cart. He came along singing all the way, nearly thirty miles, and arrived early in the morning. Having put up his donkey in my stable, he came into the house, and presented himself, as I have already stated, in the hall, praising God.
We were a long time over breakfast that morning, for the happy man went on from one thing to another, "telling of the Lord," as he called it, assuring us again and again that he was "fine and glad, and very happy"—indeed, he looked so. He said there was one thing more he must tell us; it was this that he had a "preaching-house" (what we should now call a mission-room), which he had built years ago. He had often prayed there for "this old mountain," and now he should dearly love to see me in the pulpit of that place, and said that he would let me have it for my work. He went on to say that he had built it by prayer and
faith, as Father" sent him help, and that he and another man had built it with their own hands. One day he was short of money to buy timber to finish the roof; his mate said it would take two pounds' worth; so he asked the Lord for this sum, and wondered why the money did not come, for he felt sure that he was to have it. A farmer happened