Martin Farquhar Tupper
The Best Robe
'Bring forth the best robe!' Was it truly I heard?
And is it for me, too -- the best for the worst?
O merciful Father! O wonderful word!
That, freely forgiven, this last should be first!
Nor, only forgiven :-- accepted, approved,
Delighted in, glorified, made a dear child,
And chosen of old, and eternally loved,
The sinner redeemed, and the foe reconciled!
'Bring forth the best robe!' My Lord, it is thine,--
The seamless, the spotless, thy vesture of light,
So humanly pure, and so brightly divine,
This true wedding-garment of heavenly white:
It hides all my rags of self-righteousness here,
It covers up self with its shame and its sin,
And in it I stand before God without fear,
Clothed-on by my Saviour, and glorious within.
'Bring forth the best robe!' Ah, prodigal son,
Repentant! -- this gift is thine own, for always;
Thy good elder brother might not put it on,
No angel is clad in this garment of praise;
But Adam's lost race, newly found, newly blest,
And ransomed through mercy to glory above,
May robe in God's righteousness, highest and best,
The vesture of Christ, for the sons of His love!
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