In "Huswifery," what seems to be the poem's overall purpose? How do the final two lines convey Taylor's belief that religious grace comes as a gift from God, rather than as a result of a person's efforts?

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The poem "Huswifery " is also a prayer. The Puritan tradition was particularly insistent that the petitioner ought to pray to be able to serve God in the manner that would please him best (see, for instance, Milton's sonnet "On His Blindness," which also makes this request). Taylor takes...

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The poem "Huswifery" is also a prayer. The Puritan tradition was particularly insistent that the petitioner ought to pray to be able to serve God in the manner that would please him best (see, for instance, Milton's sonnet "On His Blindness," which also makes this request). Taylor takes this to its logical extreme by praying that God will use him as one of the humblest and most basic pieces of equipment to be found in a poor household. Everything he has—his affections, his soul, even his conversation—must be turned to God's purpose.

In the final stanza, however, Taylor imagines himself "clothed in holy robes for glory." This could only happen by the grace of God; since a spinning wheel merely spins thread from fibers, it does not color it (as occurs in the second stanza), weave it into cloth, or make robes out of it. Nor, for that matter, does the spinning wheel wear clothes at all. At the end of the poem, Taylor breaks free of the extended metaphor of the spinning wheel, as he hopes to break free from his life on earth and ascend to heaven. This, needless to say, is also something that could only happen through the grace of God.

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