Christ, our Light

Quotations for July, 2014

Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873

Surely the heart of the matter is not my safety and my joy. It is Jesus’ joy. It is that he should have the joy of knowing that all for whom he died have come home.
... Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998), Journey Into Joy, Christian Literature Society, 1972, reprint, Wm. B. Errdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1973, p. 125 (see the book; see also Heb. 12:2; Ps. 16:9-11; Isa. 53:10-12; Luke 24:26; John 13:31-32; Phil. 2:8-11; more at Abasement, Crucifixion, Heaven, Jesus, Joy)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Holy Scriptures are our letters from home.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), Enarr. in Ps. xc, sermon 2 (see also 2 Cor. 5:1-3; John 14:2-3; Heb. 11:13-16; 1 Pet. 2:11; more at Bible, Heaven, Home, Scripture)

Thursday, July 3, 2014
Feast of Thomas the Apostle

It is not the mere existence of unusual criminals that has ravaged our world; for the arrangements of society (whether national or international) ought always to presume that some of these will be lurking somewhere. The gates have been opened to evil in part because of a terrible discrepancy between human ideals and actual possibilities—terrible heresies concerning the nature of man and the structure of the historical universe. Christianity, even if it cannot persuade men to rise to the contemplation of the spiritual things, embodies principles which may at least have the effect of bringing the dreamers down to earth. Because it confronts the problem of human sin, it can face our difficulties and dilemmas without evasions—without the fundamental evasiveness of those who believe that all would be well with the world if it were not for a few unspeakable criminals, always conveniently identified with the political enemy of the moment.
... Herbert Butterfield (1900-1979), Christianity, Diplomacy and War, London: Epworth Press, 1953, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, 1953, p. 75 (see the book; see also Luke 18:9-14; Matt. 7:1-5; John 3:19; Rom. 3:9-23; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-19; Col. 1:13-14; 2:13; 1 Pet. 2:25; 1 John 1:8-10; 2:16; 5:19; more at Belief, Earth, Enemy, Evil, Heresy, Nation, Sin, Social, Spiritual life, World)

Friday, July 4, 2014

By grace you have been saved! Whatever else we do, praying and singing, is but an answer to this word spoken to us by God himself... The Bible alone contains this sentence. We do not read it in Kant or in Schopenhauer, or in any book of natural or secular history, and certainly not in any novel, but in the Bible alone.
... Karl Barth (1886-1968), Deliverance to the Captives, Harper, 1961, p. 36 (see the book; see also Eph. 2:4-9; Acts 15:11; Rom. 2:3-4; 3:22-24; 5:20-21; 11:5-6; 1 Pet. 1:3-5; more at Bible, Book, Grace, Prayer, Salvation, Song)

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Ransomed men need no longer pause in fear to enter the Holy of Holies. God wills that we should push on into His Presence and live our whole life there. This is to be known to us in conscious experience. It is more than a doctrine to be held, it is a life to be enjoyed every moment of every day.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God [1948], Christian Publications, 1982, p. 31 (see the book; see also Matt. 27:50-51; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; Heb. 9:11-12,15; 10:19-22; more at Blessing, Experience, Fear, God, Holiness, Life)

Sunday, July 6, 2014
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1415
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535

The possibility of miracle, then, is indissolubly joined with “theism.” Once admit the existence of a personal God, maker and Ruler of the world, and no limits, temporal or otherwise, can be set to the creative powers of such a God. Admit that God once created the world, and you cannot deny that He might engage in creation again.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), Christianity and Liberalism, The Macmillan Company, 1923, p. 87 (see the book; see also Gen. 1:1; Ex. 3:19-20; 1 Kings 18:37-39; Isa. 40:28; Jon. 1:14-16; Matt. 11:3-5; Luke 5:26; John 4:48; 9:3; 11:42; Acts 2:22; more at Creation, Existence, God, Miracle, World)

Monday, July 7, 2014

The fact is that whatever man thinks or imagines he must think or imagine ‘anthropomorphically,’ for he can think only human thoughts. It follows that if human thoughts are necessarily limited and imperfect, the highest thought that man can think of God is inadequate to its subject.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), The New Theology and the Old Religion, E.P. Dutton, 1907, p. 58 (see the book; see also Job 38:4-7; Eccl. 3:11; Isa. 40:12-14; 55:8-9; John 1:18; 6:46; Rom. 11:33-34; 1 Cor. 2:9-11,16; 1 John 4:12; more at God, Imagination, Man, Thought)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We hold that in its ultimate consequences the atonement affects the body as well as the soul of man. Sanctification is the consummation of Christ’s redemptive work for the soul; and resurrection is the consummation of his redemptive work for the body. And these meet and are fulfilled at the coming and kingdom of Christ.
... A. J. Gordon (1836-1895), The Ministry of Healing, Boston: H. Gannett, 1883, p. 18 (see the book; see also 2 Cor. 4:13-14; John 5:28-29; Rom. 8:11; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:20-21; 2 Cor. 5:1; Phil. 3:10-11,21; 1 Thess. 4:14-17; Rev. 20:4-6; more at Atonement, Christ, Fulfillment, Health, Kingdom, Resurrection, Sanctification, Soul)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

However low I may sink, there is not a depth but grace goes still deeper.
... Alfred Edersheim (1825-1889), The Golden Diary of Heart Converse with Jesus in the Book of Psalms, London: J. Nisbet & Company, 1866, p. 56 (see the book; see also Ps. 139:8; Deut. 33:27; Ps. 130:1; Jon. 2:2; Luke 18:1; 19:10; Rom. 8:38-39; Phil. 4:6; Heb. 10:17-24; more at Depravity, Grace, Greatness)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Jesus’ favorite speech form, the parable, was subversive. Parables sound absolutely ordinary: casual stories about soil and seeds, meals and coins and sheep, bandits and victims, farmers and merchants. And they are wholly secular: of his forty or so parables recorded in the Gospels, only one has its setting in church, and only a couple mention the name God. As people heard Jesus tell these stories, they saw at once that they weren’t about God, so there was nothing in them threatening their own sovereignty. They relaxed their defenses. They walked away perplexed, wondering what they meant, the stories lodged in their imagination. And then, like a time bomb, they would explode in their unprotected hearts. An abyss opened up at their very feet. He was talking about God; they had been invaded!
... Eugene H. Peterson (1932-2018), The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1993, p. 32 (see the book; see also Matt. 13:3-11; Ps. 25:8-9; Matt. 7:28-29; 11:25-26; Mark 4:1,11-12; Luke 4:15; 8:10; 20:21; 1 Cor. 2:14-15; more at God, Heart, Imagination, Jesus, Preach)

Friday, July 11, 2014
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550

In all the sins of men, God principally regards the principle, that is, the heart.
... John Owen (1616-1683), An Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews, ch. III-V, in Works of John Owen, v. XXI, London: Johnson & Hunter, 1854, p. 88 (see the book; see also Deut. 5:29; Ps. 95:10-11; Pr. 23:26; Matt. 5:27-28; Heb. 3:7-11; more at Evil, God, Heart, Man, Sin)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

When everything we receive from him is received and prized as a fruit and pledge of his covenant love, then his bounties, instead of being set up as rivals and idols to draw our heart from him, awaken us to fresh exercises of gratitude, and furnish us with fresh motives of cheerful obedience every hour.
... John Newton (1725-1807), in a letter, 1776, The Works of the Rev. John Newton, v. II, New York: Williams and Whiting, 1810, p. 216 (see the book; see also Ps. 117:1-2; Matt. 6:1-18; Eph. 5:20; Col. 1:12; 3:15-17; Jas. 1:17; more at Awakening, Gratitude, Heart, Idol, Love, Obedience)

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The heart must be kept tender and pliable; otherwise agnosticism converts to skepticism. In such a case, the value of apologetics is voided, for apologetics is aimed at persuading doubters, not at refuting the defiant. He who demands a kind of proof that the nature of the case renders impossible, is determined that no possible evidence shall convince him.
... Edward John Carnell (1919-1967), The Case for Orthodox Theology, Philadelphia: Westminister, 1959, p. 84 (see the book; see also Matt. 12:38-41; Mark 8:11-12; Luke 11:16,29-30; John 2:18-19; 4:48; 6:61-63; 1 Cor. 1:22-24; 1 Pet. 2:7-8; more at Agnosticism, Apologetics, Nature, Proof, Skeptic)

Monday, July 14, 2014
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866

The deaf may hear the Saviour’s voice,
The fettered tongue its chains may break;
But the deaf heart, the dumb by choice,
The laggard soul that will not wake,
The guilt that scorns to be forgiven—
These baffle e’en the spells of heaven.
... John Keble (1792-1866), The Christian Year [1827], G. W. Doane, ed., Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1842, p. 186 (see the book; see also Matt. 11:15; Isa. 6:9-10; Jer. 6:10; Zech. 7:11-12; Matt. 11:5; Luke 7:22; Acts 28:25-27; more at Choices, Deafness, Dumbness, Forgiveness, Heart, Heaven, Savior, Sin, Sleep)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274

The Gospels are of transcendent value because of what they tell us of the eternal and unchanging nature of God. Since God is the Supreme Person, naturally His clearest revelation had to be, not in the starry heavens, wonderful and extensive as they undoubtedly are, but in a completely personal existence, with all its pains and victories. Christ is significant, then, in what He reveals. We encounter Him, as did the plain men and women of Galilee, or the Roman soldier, and suddenly it comes to us with a shock of revelation that this is what God is like. The nature of God, as depicted in Christ’s words and deeds, was not something new, but something that has always been true. If there is any change, it is in us, and not in Him.
... Elton Trueblood (1900-1994), The Future of the Christian, Harper & Row, 1971, p. 80 (see the book; see also John 14:7-11; Matt. 27:54; John 1:18; 12:44-45; 17:6,26; Phil. 2:6; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:3; more at Christ, Everlasting, Existence, God, Gospel, Pain, Revelation, Truth)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099

Our help to people is often not in the system of the deliberate actions, influencing their soul, but in the invisible and unknown for us action of our spiritual gifts on them.
... Alexander Yelchaninov (1881-1934), Advice of Fr. Alexander Yelchaninov to Young Priests [1934], in A Treasury of Russian Spirituality, Georgii Petrovich Fedotov, ed., Nordland, 1975 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 14:1; Ps. 29:11; Pr. 2:6; Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 1:5-7; 12:4-11; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29; 1 Tim. 4:14; Jas. 1:5,17; 4:5-6; 1 Pet. 4:10-11; more at Action, Gifts, Helpfulness, People)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jesus the Holy One is the humble one: the holiest will ever be the humblest. There is none holy but God: we have as much of holiness as we have of God. And according to what we have of God will be our real humility, because humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all. The holiest will be the humblest.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), Humility: the Beauty of Holiness, New York: Anson D. F. Randolph & Co., 1895, p. 78 (see the book; see also Mark 10:43-44; Matt. 5:3; 11:29; 18:2-4; 20:26-28; 23:12; Mark 9:35-37; Luke 9:46-48; 14:10-11; 22:26; John 13:14-16; Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor. 1:28-29; Eph. 4:2; 5:21; Phil. 2:3; Jas. 1:9-10; 4:6,10; 1 Pet. 5:5-6; more at God, Holiness, Humility, Jesus, Self, Vision)

Friday, July 18, 2014

The proverb has it that Hunger is the best cook. The Law makes afflicted consciences hungry for Christ. Hungry hearts appreciate Christ. Thirsty souls are what Christ wants.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, tr. Theodore Graebner, MobileReference, 2009, p. 134 (see the book; see also John 4:13-14; Ps. 42:1-2; Matt. 11:28-30; John 6:27,35; 7:38; Gal. 3:21; Rev. 7:16; more at Affliction, Appreciation, Christ, Conscience, Law, Soul)

Saturday, July 19, 2014
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379

Be filled with his Spirit, and he will give you objects enough to pray for. He will give you as much of the spirit of prayer as you have strength of body to bear.
... Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), Lectures on Revivals of Religion, New York: Leavitt, Lord & Co., 1835, p. 76 (see the book; see also Eph. 6:18; Luke 4:1; Acts 2:4,8; 4:31; 6:3-4; 7:55; 9:17; 13:52; Eph. 5:18-20; Jude 1:20; more at Bearing, Giving, Holy Spirit, Prayer, Strength)

Sunday, July 20, 2014
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566

Thank God that He will not make peace with sin in my heart... I bless His name for the thunder of His authority, and for the profound conviction that He is fierce and furious in His anger against sin, wherever it manifests itself.
... G. Campbell Morgan (1863-1945), Living Messages of the Books of the Bible, v. I, New York: Fleming H. Revell, 1912, p. 114 (see the book; see also Ps. 51:10; 24:3-4; 30:5; 51:7; Isa. 57:15-16; John 3:19-20; Heb. 12:14; more at God, Peace, Sin)

Monday, July 21, 2014

As to the poor, I am afraid I was always in some danger of being a partisan of theirs against the rich; and that a clergyman ought never to be. And, indeed, the poor rich have more need of the care of the clergyman than the others, seeing it is hardly that the rich shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, and the poor have all the advantage over them in that respect.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I [1867], London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 61 (see the book; see also Matt. 19:23-24; Ps. 49:5-10; Eccl. 5:10; Matt. 6:19-21; 24; Mark 10:24-25; Luke 12:15; 16:13; 18:24-25; 1 Tim. 6:9-10; Heb. 13:5; Jas. 1:9-10; 5:1-3; more at Kingdom, Minister, Need, Poverty)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles

The Hebrew word, nabi, which is translated “prophet” in English Bibles, has the connotation of “message bearer.” The prophets were men called by God to serve as His messengers to a stubborn and unheeding people. They were always careful to point out that they were not voicing their own wisdom. Their warnings, entreaties, and promises were always prefaced by the awesome proclamation:
“Thus says the Lord...”
When the prophets did engage in prognostication, they usually were concerned with events which were fairly close at hand, such as the Assyrian conquest of Israel and the Babylonian conquest of Judah (both of which they foretold with deadly accuracy). But occasionally a prophet’s vision ranged farther into the future, to the day when God would enter into a new covenant with his rebellious children. The hope of reconciliation was often linked with the coming of a very particular person, a Messiah or Savior.
What made the prophets so sure that they had a right—nay, a duty, to speak in the name of God? It is clear from their writings that they were not megalomaniacs who confused their own thoughts with the voice of God. On the contrary, they were humble men, awe-stricken by the responsibilities thrust upon them...
The prophets minced no words in their indictments of the sins of Israel and Judah, and they trod especially hard on the toes of the rich, the powerful, and the pious. The Establishment responded then as some church members are wont to respond now when a preacher speaks out on controversial public issues:
“One should not preach of such things!”
... Louis Cassels (1922-1974), Your Bible, Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967, p. 186-187,189 (see the book; see also Mic. 2:11; 1 Kings 22:8; Isa. 30:10; 52:13-15; 53; Jer. 31:31-34; 38:2-4; Eze. 37:3-14; Mic. 2:3-7; more at Bible, Church, Future, Humility, Israel, Messiah, Power, Preach, Prophet, Reconciliation, Vision)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373

It is the fellowship of the Cross to experience the burden of the other. If one does not experience it, the fellowship he belongs to is not Christian. If any member refuses to bear that burden, he denies the law of Christ.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Life Together [1954], tr. Daniel W. Bloesch & James H. Burtness, Fortress Press, 2004, p. 101 (see the book; see also Gal. 6:2; Isa. 53:4; Matt. 5:41; 8:17; 11:29-30; Rom. 15:1; 1 Pet. 2:24; more at Bearing, Burden, Christ, Church, Cross, Experience, Fellowship, Law)

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471

Whoever loves much, does much.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ [1418], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, I.xv.2, p. 51 (see the book; see also John 21:15-17; Ps. 78:70-72; John 14:15; Acts 20:28; 2 Cor. 5:14-15; Gal. 5:6; 1 Pet. 5:1-4; 1 John 4:19; more at Action, Affection, Love, Service)

Friday, July 25, 2014
Feast of James the Apostle

God, as we know Him, is a gift to us from Christ.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), From the Edge of the Crowd, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1924, p. 9 (see the book; see also John 14:9-11; Luke 24:44; John 5:39-40; Acts 26:22-23; Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Pet. 1:10-11; Rev. 1:5-6; more at Christ, Gifts, God, Jesus, Knowing God)

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The prayer which moves the arm of God is still a sinful prayer, and only moves that arm because the Sinless One, the great Mediator, has stepped in to take away the sin of our supplication.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), Spurgeon’s Sermons Volume 9: 1863, CCEL, Sermon 515 (see the book; see also Rom. 8:26-27,34; Isa. 6:6-7; 64:6; Zech. 12:10; Eph. 2:18; 1 John 2:1; more at God, Intercession, Prayer, Sin)

Sunday, July 27, 2014
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011

The incentive to peacemaking is love, but it degenerates into appeasement whenever justice is ignored. To forgive and to ask for forgiveness are both costly exercises. All authentic Christian peacemaking exhibits the love and justice—and so the pain—of the cross.
... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), The Cross of Christ, Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1986, p. 289 (see the book; see also Ps. 85:8; 122:6-8; Matt. 5:9; Luke 17:3-4; Rom. 12:1-2,18; 14:17-19; Gal. 5:22-23; 6:1-2; Col. 3:13; Jas. 3:18; more at Authenticity, Cross, Forgiveness, Justice, Love, Pain, Peace)

Monday, July 28, 2014
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750

Jesu, priceless treasure,
Source of purest pleasure
Truest friend to me!
Long my heart has panted,
Till it well-nigh fainted,
Thirsting after Thee!
Thine I am, O spotless Lamb!
I will suffer naught to hide Thee,
Ask for naught beside Thee.
In Thine arm I rest me,
Foes who would molest me
Cannot reach me here;
Though the earth be shaking
Every heart be quaking,
Jesus calms my fear;
Sin and hell in conflict fell
With their heaviest storms assail me,
Jesus will not fail me.
Hence, all thoughts of sadness,
For the Lord of gladness,
Jesus, enters in!
Those who love the Father,
Though the storms may gather,
Still have peace within;
Yea, whate’er we here must bear,
Still in Thee lies purest pleasure,
Jesu, priceless treasure!
... Johann Franck (1618-1677), Christian Singers of Germany, Catherine Winkworth, New York: Macmillan & Co., 1869, p. 228-229 (see the book; see also John 15:14-16; Matt. 6:21; 12:50; 13:44-46; John 14:15; 1 Cor. 2:9-10; Col. 2:2-3; more at Fear, Foe, Heart, Jesus, Longing, Peace, Pleasure, Rest, Sadness, Treasure, Worship)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord

As long as you notice, and have to count, the steps, you are not yet dancing but only learning to dance. A good shoe is a shoe you don’t notice. Good reading becomes possible when you need not consciously think about eyes, or light, or print, or spelling. The perfect church service would be one we are almost unaware of; our attention would have been on God.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, New York: Harcourt Brace and World, 1964, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 4 (see the book; see also Luke 4:8; Deut. 6:13; Ps. 83:18; Matt. 4:10; 2 Cor. 12:2-4; Col. 2:18; more at Church, God, Meditation, Perfection, Service, Thought)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833

It seems to be an opinion pretty generally prevalent, that kindness and sweetness of temper; sympathizing, benevolent, and generous affections; attention to what in the world’s estimation are the domestic, relative, and social duties; and, above all, a life of general activity and usefulness, may well be allowed, in our imperfect state, to make up for the defect of what, in strict propriety of speech, is termed religion.
Many indeed will unreservedly declare, and more will hint the opinion, that “the difference between the qualities above-mentioned and religion, is rather a verbal or logical, than a real and essential difference; for in truth, what are they but religion in substance if not in name? Is it not the great end of religion, and in particular the glory of Christianity, to extinguish the malignant passions; to curb the violence, to control the appetites, and to smooth the asperities of man; to make us compassionate, and kind, and forgiving one to another; to make us good husbands, good fathers, good friends, and to render us active and useful in the discharge of the relative social and civil duties? We do not deny that, in the general mass of society, and particularly in the lower orders, such conduct and tempers cannot be diffused and maintained by any other medium than that of religion. But if the end be effected, surely it is only unnecessary refinement to dispute about the means. It is even to forget your own principles; and to refuse its just place to solid practical virtue, while you assign too high a value to speculative opinions.”
Thus a fatal distinction is admitted between morality and religion: a great and desperate error, of which it is the more necessary to take notice; because many who would condemn, as too strong, the language in which this opinion is sometimes openly avowed, are yet more or less tinctured with the notion itself.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 197-198 (see the book; see also Gal. 5:22-23; Eccl. 7:29; Acts 2:40; Rom. 3:10; 2 Tim. 2:24-25; more at Duty, Error, Generosity, Kindness, Morality, Religion, Social, Virtue, World)

Thursday, July 31, 2014
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556

The end we ought to propose to ourselves is to become, in this life, the most perfect worshipers of God we can possibly be, as we hope to be through all eternity.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fourth Conversation, p. 17 (see the book; see also Isa. 6:3; Ps. 27:4; 29:2; 63:1-2; 100:1-4; 103:1-5; Zech. 14:16; Phil. 3:3; 1 Tim. 2:8; Heb. 12:28-29; more at Eternity, God, Hope, Life, Perfection, Worship)


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