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But, Lord, as burnished sunbeams forth out fly,
Let angel-shine forth in my life outflame,
That I may grace Thy graceful family
And not to Thy relations be a shame.
Make me Thy graft, be Thou my golden stock.
Thy glory then I’ll make my fruits and crop. 

The rhythm of this final stanza is quite regular until the accent on the first syllable of the fifth line:


The emphasis works particularly well here: it puts an emphasis on an element of the prayer. The entire poem has been a meditation upon what it would be to be grafted into Christ and here he makes his prayer: Make me that graft. The spondee on the first foot of the line makes the prayer a plea, a demand: DO THIS FOR ME!

The language of the angels and fire is not mere commonplace for bright. In Hebrews 1:7 it reads

Of the angels he says

He makes his angels winds,

And his ministers a flame of fire. 

And thus, while he is not praying to be made an angel for a fire, the allusion to angles and flame has a basis in the glory given to Christ. The rest of the chapter in Hebrews describes the greatness of Christ over the angelic host. 

This last stanza is not merely a prayer that the wonder of being joined to Christ should be Taylor’s. There is the issue honor and shame. 

The concept of shame and honor are a major theme throughout the Bible. Shame is first seen in Genesis 2 when Adam and Eve. They experience shame as a result of their sinfulness. The biblical concept of shame contains both an objective and subjective element – both of which are present in the Genesis account. 

First, there is the subjective element: I feel ashamed of what I have done. I am not mere guilty, but I worthy to be excluded. This is shown by the human pair both hiding in the trees and trying to make clothing. They feel they cannot be seen by God.

Second, there is an objective element: shame from the position of the other. This is typically seen as being vulnerable to the power of another. For instance in Psalm 25:2, the prayer reads:

O my God, in you I trust let me not be put to shame

Let not my enemies exult over me.

To be in shame is for the enemy to exult. Or in 37:1

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; 

Let me never be put to shame

In your righteousness deliver me. 

To be protected from shame is to be rescued. 

There is also the reversal of shame. Since suffering, particularly at the hands of an enemy is shameful. But, as Peter writes, the apparent shame of suffering will be reversed by Christ:

1 Peter 1:6–8  

Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 

Now shame is something which one can convey to others. To be in the company of one who is shameful is to shame me. This is seen by the nature of being unclean under Mosaic Law: one can convey uncleanness by contact. 

To bring Taylor into the relations around Christ has the power to bring shame upon the family. And so Taylor prays that he not bring such shame

But, Lord, as burnished sunbeams forth out fly,

Let angel-shine forth in my life outflame,
That I may grace Thy graceful family
And not to Thy relations be a shame.

Thus, to avoid such shame, Taylor is dependent upon Christ to make him glorious. Taylor is not contending that such glory is inherent in him – he is asking that be made in him. 

This particular prayer has an interesting relation to Hebrews 2 which describes Christ’s relationship to humanity. That God would be sinful humanity would cast shame upon God. God should be ashamed to be with human beings, who are not glorious (which is obvious if you have ever met one of us). But the Son is not ashamed to be called our brother:

Hebrews 2:10–13 (KJV 1900)

10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

The Son is not ashamed because he sanctifies – he makes holy (which is glorious) – his own. Therefore, he is not ashamed to call them brothers. He makes his people who are not glorious glorious and so fit to live with him. 

There is a line in C.S. Lewis to the effect that the least saint in glory would be such a wonder we would all be tempted to worship that human being were we to see such a one. 

And indeed that hope to be glorious is not a matter of vanity; it is lovely. We are often so petty and ridiculous because we seek to make ourselves glorious – and not receive true glory from our Creator.