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Stanza Seven

Adorn me Lord with holy huswifry.

All blanch my robes with clusters of thy graces.

Thus lead me to thy threshold: give mine eye

A peephole to see bright glory chases.

Then take me in: I’ll pay, when I possess

Thy throne and thee the rent in happiness.

Notes

Prepare me and let me see the beauty of the world to come. Then, when I come to it, I will repay that sight with thankfulness.

Adorn me Lord with holy huswifry.

All blanch my robes with clusters of thy graces.

We come to the petition which ends the poem. He first asked to be adorned.

The verb adorn has a perfectly comprehensible meaning here: prepare me. But there is also an allusion to the heavenly new world:

Revelation 21:1–2 (KJV)

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

The people of God are referred to as the “bride”. In Hosea, Israel is referenced as a bridge. Hos. 2:2, etc. The church is referred to as the bride of Christ. Eph. 5:25-30

Prepare for this holy service and care. (huswifry)

The robes are “blanced”, that is, made white. We again have an eschatological allusion:

Revelation 7:13–14 (KJV)

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? 14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Revelation 19:7–10 (KJV)

7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

The culmination of history is a wedding, where the bride has been made ready to meet her husband. The poet is asking to be prepared for that wedding.

This helps underscore the importance of marriage as concept in Christianity. While the current sociological aspects are important, so is the eschatological reference. The concept of marriage of importance to human beings to teach of the coming event.

The robes are not merely washed white in blood, but they are further adorned with graces. This leads to another allusion, this time to the robes of the priest to enter the temple:

Exodus 39:22–26 (KJV)

22 And he made the robe of the ephod of woven work, all of blue. 23 And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend. 24 And they made upon the hems of the robe pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and twined linen. 25 And they made bells of pure gold, and put the bells between the pomegranates upon the hem of the robe, round about between the pomegranates; 26 A bell and a pomegranate, a bell and a pomegranate, round about the hem of the robe to minister in; as the LORD commanded Moses.

Just as the people of God are referred to as the wife, they are referred to as priests:

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV)

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:

A priest is one who comes into the presence of God.

Having been prepared, he now requests a sight of what will come:

Thus lead me to thy threshold: give mine eye

A peephole to see bright glory chases.

Before we consider the details, notice that this references back to the beginning of the poem wherein the poet is distressed that his love is insufficient. The love is made active by means of a sight of the beloved. It is an increase in a greater desire for something holy which causes the change in his life.

He is asked to be led to the place of a view and there

to see bright glory chases.

A “chase” is an enclosed park or a hunting ground.  An example of that use of the word would be found in the poem “Chevy Chase”

Here the use would be the park, not the hunting ground. The idea would be a closed garden space. The image of a garden runs throughout Scripture. The first couple were placed in a garden. Jesus is buried in a garden tomb. Mary Magdalen mistakes Jesus for a “gardener.” The word “paradise” means garden. The Song of Solomon uses the image of a garden repeatedly for a place of romantic encounter:

Song of Solomon 5:1 (KJV)

1 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.

Thus, Garden combines both eschatological and marriage images.

Then take me in: I’ll pay, when I possess

Thy throne and thee the rent in happiness.

The poet will possess the throne as a “joint heir” with Christ. Rom. 8:17

We end with happiness. Yet to rejoice in the Lord is end of all the other aspects of justification and sanctification. It is to rejoice in being reconciled to and living with our God. We give gifts and hope for the happiness of the one who receives that gift.