John Worthington, Master of Jesus College 1650-60, wrote of Ray in 1661:
He is a person of great worth; and yet humble, and far from conceitedness and self-admiring. He is a conscientious Christian; and thats much said in little.
Samuel Dale, who grew up in Braintree and assisted the elderly Ray in plant and insect classification, wrote years later that Ray was:
... affable, being not puffed by his learning...
Ray was a tutor at Cambridge, diligent in responsiblity for his students. In July 1661 he wrote concerning Timothy Burrell:
The continuing distemper of your cousin... caused me to... defer my journey northward till I might see him in a probable way of recovery, or ... under the care of his relations which is now in part come to passe. ...I intend now to set out on Monday next; too late in the year, I confesse, in relation to the inquisition of plants, but a more convenient time to travel.
Ray was ordained in 1660 and offered a parish in Cheadle.
I am not resolved... if I shall bid farewll to my beloved and pleasant studies and employments, and give myself up to the priesthood, and take to the study of that which they call divinity, I thinke it were the best way to throw myself into the country [away from Cambridge] and make it my business to execute the priests office.
Further Correspondence p.16 Letter to Courthope, 3 Jan 1660
Rays botanical and zoological interests covered an amazingly wide range of Gods creation, but he admitted in 1690 that regarding...
serpents... I have such a natural abhorrency of that sort of animal, that I was not very inquisitive after them.
Dec 15 1692 "I would not willingly give offence to any man: but permitt every one to enjoy his own sence concerning subjects that are not of any ill influence or consequence."
At the death of a friend, Ray wrote:
as Christians we must not grieve like men without hope".