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11.

WHITE APPAREL.

I. THE CHRISOM.

“ These are they which have washed their robes, and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."

ALL gorgeous hues are in the pure white beam,
All Christian graces in one drop of Love
That sparkles from the bright baptismal stream
Over the fair young brow, where gently move
Christ's dawning rays. Therefore the veil ye wove,
Good Angels, under Bethlehem's healing star,
Whose virtue this our new-born joy shall prove,
Is spotless white : and from its folds afar,
Even as from banner waved in Angels' war,
The dark Powers flee. But thou, heaven-honoured

child,
Let no earth-stain thy robe of glory mar :
Wrap it around thy bosom undefiled ;
Yet spread it daily in the clear Heaven's sight,
To be new-bathed in its own native Light.

11.

WHITE APPAREL.

II. THE SUNDAY DRESS.

“ Blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his garments.”

So keep thou, by calm prayer and searching thought,
Thy Chrisom pure, that still as weeks roll by,
And Heaven rekindles, gladdening earth and sky,
The glow that from the grave our Champion brought,
Pledge of high victory by His dread Wounds wrought,
Thou may'st put on the garb of Purity,
And from thy prayer look up with open eye,
Him owning, who from shame and sinful blot
Hath kept thee safe, nor suffered base desire
Thy soul to haunt, unhallowing the good hour.
Then on thy way to church rejoicing fare,
Yet heedful, gathering up from earthly mire
The glittering folds : for even in Sunday air
Foul spirits love to lurk with tainting power.

11.

WHITE APPAREL.

III. CONFIRMATION.

“Ye shall be as the wings of a Dove, that is covered with silver wings.”

SPEED on, ye happy Sunday hours, O speed
The moment when a richer gift shall crown
A riper faith :—when Childhood, casting down
Her innocent vesture, the pure Chrisom weed,
Shall claim the sevenfold radiance, erst decreed
Where true hearts kneel 'neath Apostolic hands.
White are his mantle folds, who ready stands
Before the shrine, to bless and intercede :
And duteous maidens, skilful in Love's law,
Unbidden use in stainless white to come :
As doves, that to the bright clouds upward draw,
Plume the soft lily breast, the more to win
Of splendour from the Light's far cloudless home.
O deep, that hour, the bliss or curse within !

11.

WHITE APPAREL.

IV. PRIESTS IN WHITE.

“ When they enter in at the gates of the inner court, they shall be clothed with linen garments."

AND even the very walls of the dread place,
And the tall windows with their breathing lights,
Speak to the adoring heart, and say, No base
Or week-day garb may him beseem, who writes
God's message here in hearts of men,-invites
To the bright nuptial feast of joy and grace.
But Angels waiting on our awful rites
Should in our frail and mortal Angel trace
Some hue of their own robes, what time they raise
The censer, heaped with prayer, before the throne :
And Innocents, in wonder moved to gaze
On the new glory, mantling forms well-known,
Should ask and learn the clue to Angels' ways :
“The vision is for the pure heart alone.”

11.

WHITE APPAREL.

V. CHORISTERS IN WHITE.

“ – the Levites which were the singers.......with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen.”

WITHIN a reverend Minster I have stood,
As one to whom, for many a godless deed,
The Choir was clos'd :—fit penance and due meed
Sad conscience own'd it :-one by one I view'd
With wistful eye the entering multitude.
At last with joyous step, but sober heed
Of holy things, like fawns in forest mead,
Timid yet happy, the white-robed brood
Of Choristers swept by :—then musings came,
“What happier dawn of being than to meet
Matins and vespers here with punctual feet ?
What happier close, than here in peace to lay,
Wearing the white robe still, th' exhausted frame,
And so, through life, Heaven's garb and speech assay ?”

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