One of my favorite quotes of all time has been attributed to an English reformer and martyr named John Bradford, who was executed in England in 1555 for his religious beliefs.
Earlier in his life he witnessed a criminal going to the scaffolds and was heard to explain There but by the grace of God, goes John Bradford, which is poignant considering the fact that he was later burned at the stake. Since the 16th century, that quote has taken on a life of its own.
The most popular use of the phrase is There but by the grace of God, goes I. Prior to this modern rendition, it was used by the famous English author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in his Sherlock Holmes series and by Winston Churchill who once said There but by the grace of God, goes god to describe one of his counterparts in Parliament. Many believe that Bradford paraphrased 1 Corinthians 15 which says that For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am