Quotations for July, 2015
Wednesday, July 1, 2015
Commemoration of John & Henry Venn, Priests, Evangelical Divines, 1813, 1873
The sorest afflictions never appear intolerable, except when we see them in the wrong light. When we see them as dispensed by the hand of God, when we know that it is our loving Father who abases and distresses us, our sufferings will lose their bitterness and become even a matter of consolation.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fifteenth Letter, p. 43-44
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:11-12; John 16:33; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17-18; 1 Pet. 1:6-7; more at Abasement, Affliction, Consolation, Light, Weakness)
Thursday, July 2, 2015
If the Lord is indeed our shepherd, then everything goes topsy-turvy. Losing becomes finding and crying becomes laughing. The last become first and the weak become strong. Instead of life being done in by death in the end as we always supposed, death is done in finally by life in the end. If the Lord is our host at the great feast, then the sky is the limit.
... Frederick Buechner (b. 1926), Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons, Zondervan, 2007, p. 130
(see the book; see also Ps. 23:1; Matt. 10:39; 20:16; John 10:11; 1 Cor. 15:54-55; more at Death, Life, Strength, Victory, Weakness)
Friday, July 3, 2015
Feast of Thomas the Apostle
The bells say: we have spoken for centuries from the towers of great Churches. We have spoken to the saints your fathers, in their land. We called them, as we call you, to sanctity. What is the word with which we called them?We did not merely say “Be good, come to church.” We did not merely say “Keep the commandments” but above all, “Christ is risen, Christ is risen!” And we said: “Come with us, God is good, salvation is not hard, His love has made it easy!” And this, our message, has always been for everyone, for those who came and for those who did not come, for our song is perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect, and we pour our charity out upon all.
... Thomas Merton (1915-1968), Thoughts in Solitude , Macmillan, 1999, p. 62
(see the book; see also Matt. 11:29-30; 28:5-6; Luke 2:10; 24:6-7; Rom. 5:5; more at Call, Charity, Christ, Church, Commandment, Father, Love, Resurrection, Righteousness, Salvation)
Saturday, July 4, 2015
As for what the Church thinks and says, what influence does that have on the handling of American politics, the conduct of American education, the regulation of marriage and divorce, on sex and drink, on how industrial disputes are settled, on how we carry on business? As a plain matter of fact, religion in this country is generally regarded as a tolerated pastime for such people as happen to like to indulge in occasional godly exercises—as a strictly private matter in an increasingly close-knit and socially acting society—in other words, as something that does not count. I should like to see the Church recognize that it has been pushed into the realm of the non-essentials, and to persuade it to fight like fury for the right and the duty to bring every act of America and Americans before the bar of God’s judgment.[Christian leaders] are making valiant claim to such a right and duty; but the great mass of Church members are content to regard the Church as a conglomerate of private culture clubs, nice for christenings, weddings and funerals. Most Church members readily agree with the unchurched majority that it is not the proper business of the Church to criticize America or Americans.
... Bernard Iddings Bell (1886-1958), God is Not Dead, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1945, p. 121
(see the book; see also Ps. 2:1-4; 9:17,19-20; 33:10-11; 46:10; 50:7-10; 82:8; Isa. 1:13-17; 42:1; Amos 5:21-24; Phil. 2:9-11; more at Church, Culture, Dispute, Education, God, Influence, Judgment, Marriage, Religion)
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Prayer is not a discourse. It is a form of life, the life with God. That is why it is not confined to the moment of verbal statement. The latter (verbalization) can only be the secondary expression of the relationship with God, an overflow from the encounter between the living God and the living person.
... Jacques Ellul (1912-1994), Prayer and Modern Man, New York: The Seabury Press, 1973, p. 60
(see the book; see also Gal. 4:6; Ps. 10:17; 90:1-2; Zech. 12:10; Rom. 8:26; Eph. 6:18; Jas. 4:3; Jude 1:20; more at God, Life, People, Prayer)
Monday, July 6, 2015
Feast of John Huss, Reformer, Martyr, 1415
Feast of Thomas More, Scholar & Martyr, &
John Fisher, Bishop & Martyr, 1535
If God is present at every point in space, if we cannot go where He is not, cannot even conceive of a place where He is not, why then has not that Presence become the one universally celebrated fact of the world? ... Men do not know that God is here. What a difference it would make if they knew.
... A. W. Tozer (1897-1963), The Pursuit of God , Christian Publications, 1982, p. 44
(see the book; see also Ps. 139:7-12; 63:8; 73:23; Isa. 41:13; Jer. 23:23-24; Matt. 6:3-4; 10:42; more at God, Knowledge, Man, Omnipresence, World)
Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Other sins find their vent in the accomplishment of evil deeds, whereas pride lies in wait for good deeds, to destroy them.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The Letters of Saint Augustine, v. II, Marcus Dods, tr., as vol. XIII of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1875, Ep. ccxi, p. 396
(see the book; see also Rev. 3:17-18; Matt. 23:2-12; Luke 9:46-48; 18:9-14; Gal. 6:5; more at Deed, Evil, Goodness, Pride, Sin)
Wednesday, July 8, 2015
It was indeed [Luther’s] lack of any knowledge of the principles of historical and literary criticism... which prevented him from arriving at a Christian doctrine of Holy Scripture which can satisfy our minds today. But he points us along the right way by insistence upon truths which any Christian doctrine of Holy Scripture must embody, such as that Scripture itself must be the primary interpreter of Scripture, and that the interpretation of Scripture must depend on the constant employment of some master-key, which for Christians can only be Christ. By his bold selection of a single principle of interpretation, which springs out of his own experience of salvation through the Word of God in the Bible, he gives us a living demonstration of the way in which faith in Christ becomes the vital principle of scriptural interpretation. As the result of his own deep understanding of faith, he finds in the Epistle to the Romans a light so clear that it is sufficient to illuminate the whole Scripture, and he thus becomes a classic witness to the truth that personal faith is the condition and source of all truly Christian biblical interpretation and exegesis.
... Alan Richardson (1905-1975), Christian Apologetics, London: SCM Press, 1947, p. 187-188
(see the book; see also Luke 24:44-45; Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 15:28; Eph. 4:15; Col. 3:11; more at Bible, Christ, Criticism, Faith, Historical, Illumination, Light, Scripture, Truth, Understanding)
Thursday, July 9, 2015
It is that spirit of greed which Jesus said God hated more than any other. It is so diametrically opposite to the spirit of God. For God forever lavishes His gifts upon the good and bad alike, and finds all His joy in endless giving.
... Frank C. Laubach (1884-1970), from a letter, October 7, 1930, Man of Prayer: Selected Writings of a World Missionary, Laubach Literacy International, 1990, p. 45
(see the book; see also Matt. 5:45; Ps. 112:9; Matt. 7:11; Luke 11:13; 1 Tim. 6:10; Jas. 1:17; more at Gifts, Giving, God, Greed, Hatred, Jesus, Joy)
Friday, July 10, 2015
This is my Father’s world, and to my listening earsAll nature sings, and round me rings the music of the spheres.This is my Father’s world: I rest me in the thoughtOf rocks and trees, of skies and seas;His hand the wonders wrought.
This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise,The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.This is my Father’s world: He shines in all that’s fair;In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;He speaks to me everywhere.
This is my Father’s world. O let me ne’er forgetThat though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,And earth and Heav’n be one.
... Maltbie D. Babcock (1858-1901), 
(see the book; see also Ps. 65:9-13; 96:11-13; 98:7-9; 148:4-13; Isa. 14:7-8; 35:1-2; 42:10-11; 44:23; 55:12; Rev. 21:1; more at Earth, God, Light, Listening, Music, Nature, Praise, World, Wrong)
Saturday, July 11, 2015
Feast of Benedict of Nursia, Father of Western Monasticism, c.550
If a sudden jar can cause me to speak an impatient, unloving word, then I know nothing of Calvary love. For a cup brimful of sweet water cannot spill even one drop of bitter water, however suddenly jolted.
... Amy Carmichael (1867-1951), If , London: SPCK, 1961, p. 37
(see the book; see also Isa. 53:7; Matt. 10:42; 27:14; Gal. 5:22-23; Eph. 5:1-2; Col. 1:10-12; 3:12; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 Pet. 2:21-24; 2 Pet. 3:15; more at Bitterness, Calvary, Knowledge, Love, Patience, Water)
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Consider what two petitions Christ couples together in His prayer: when my body, which every day is hungry, can live without God’s giving it daily bread, then and no sooner shall I believe that my soul, which daily sinneth, can spiritually live without God’s forgiving it its trespasses.
... Thomas Fuller (1608-1661), The Cause and Cure of a Wounded Conscience , “Dialogue VI”
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:11-12; Deut. 8:3; Neh. 9:20; Ps. 78:23-25; Matt. 26:27-28; John 6:27,35,48-58; Acts 2:38; 1 Cor. 10:3-4; ; more at Bread, Christ, Forgiveness, God, Life, Prayer)
Monday, July 13, 2015
They that know God will be humble. And they that know themselves, cannot be proud.
... John Flavel (1628-1691), Sermon XXIXThe Whole Works of the Reverend Mr. John Flavel, v. I, Paisley: A. Weir and A. McLean, 1770, p. 394
(see the book; see also 2 Chr. 7:14; Pr. 15:33; 29:23; Isa. 6:5; Mic. 6:8; Matt. 5:3; Rom. 7:9; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 5:5; more at God, Humility, Knowledge, Pride)
Tuesday, July 14, 2015
Feast of John Keble, Priest, Poet, Tractarian, 1866
Sun of my soul! Thou Saviour dear,It is not night if Thou be near;O may no earth-born cloud ariseTo hide Thee from thy servant’s eyes.
... John Keble (1792-1866), The Christian Year , G. W. Doane, ed., Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1842, p. 20
(see the book; see also Ps. 84:11; Mal. 4:2; Eph. 5:8; 1 John 2:8; Rev. 1:16; more at Earth, Night, Prayers, Savior)
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
Commemoration of Swithun, Bishop of Winchester, c.862
Commemoration of Bonaventure, Franciscan Friar, Bishop, Peacemaker, 1274
Do not try to stir and arouse faith from within. How often I have tried to do that, and made a fool of myself! You cannot stir up faith from the depths of your heart. Leave your heart, and look into the face of Christ, and listen to what He tells you about how He will keep you.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), Absolute Surrender, Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1897, p. 108
(see the book; see also Eph. 2:8-9; Isa. 31:1; John 1:17,29; Rom. 3:22-24; Heb. 12:1-2; 1 John 1:1-3; more at Christ, Faith, Fool, Heart, Listening)
Thursday, July 16, 2015
Commemoration of Osmund, Bishop of Salisbury, 1099
The surest symbol of a heart not yet fully subdued to God and His will is going to be found in the areas of money, sex, and power; in wanting these things for ourselves. The surest symbol of spiritual earnestness will be the checkbook, the affections, and the ego-drive surrendered to Him. A disciple must have discipline. He must not be afraid of being asked by God for some of the time, the money, and the pleasure he has been in the habit of calling his “own.” This does not mean that there will not be time for the family, and time for some healthy diversion. But it does mean that we are never—on vacation, or wherever we may be—exempt from our primary commitment to Him.
... Samuel M. Shoemaker (1893-1963), The Experiment of Faith, New York: Harper, 1957, p. 37-38
(see the book; see also John 14:15-17; Matt. 10:32-33; Luke 14:33; Rom. 8:12-13; Gal. 5:5; 2 Tim. 1:7; more at Commitment, Family, Love, Money, Obedience, Pleasure, Power, Time)
Friday, July 17, 2015
The Creed sets forth what Christ suffered in the sight of men, and then appositely speaks of that invisible and incomprehensible judgment which he underwent in the sight of God in order that we might know not only that Christ’s body was given as the price of our redemption, but that he paid a greater and more excellent price in suffering in his soul the terrible torments of a condemned and forsaken man.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I , tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, II.xvi.11, p. 465
(see the book; see also Mark 15:34; Ps. 22:1; Isa. 53:5; Matt. 27:46; Acts 2:24; 1 Pet. 3:19; more at Christ, Condemnation, Creed, Jesus, Judgment, Man, Redemption, Sight, Suffer)
Saturday, July 18, 2015
Constantly add the private means of grace, particularly prayer and reading. Most of you have been greatly wanting in this; and, without this, you can never grow in grace. You may as well expect a child to grow without food, as a soul without private prayer; and reading is an excellent help to this. I advise you to read, in particular, constantly and carefully, the New Testament.
... John Wesley (1703-1791), “To the Societies at Bristol”, The Letters of the Rev. John Wesley, v. IV, The Epworth Press, 1931, p. 272
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 2:2-3; Ps. 1:2; 84:5-7; 119:15,48; Phil. 1:4-6,9-11; Col. 1:10-11; Heb. 6:1-3; 2 Pet. 3:18; more at Bible, Grace, Growth, Prayer, Soul)
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Feast of Gregory, Bishop of Nyssa, & his sister Macrina, Teachers, c.394 & c.379
If anyone thinks that Christians regard unchastity as the supreme vice, he is quite wrong. The sins of the flesh are bad, but they are the least bad of all sins. All the worst pleasures are purely spiritual: the pleasure of putting other people in the wrong, of bossing and patronising and spoiling sport, and back-biting; the pleasures of power, of hatred. For there are two things inside me, competing with the human self which I must try to become. They are the Animal self, and the Diabolical self. The Diabolical self is the worse of the two. That is why a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute. But, of course, it is better to be neither.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 91
(see the book; see also Matt. 21:28-31; 20:6; Luke 7:29,37-38; 15:1-2; 19:9-20; more at Hatred, Hell, Pleasure, Power, Purity, Self, Self-righteousness, Sin, Spiritual life, Wrong)
Monday, July 20, 2015
Commemoration of Bartolomè de las Casas, Apostle to the Indies, 1566
It is for us, in whom the Christian Church is at this moment partially embodied, to declare that Christianity, that the Christian faith, the Christian manhood, can do that for the world which the world needs. You say, “What can I do?” You can furnish one Christian life. You can furnish a life so faithful to every duty, so ready for every service, so determined not to commit every sin, that the great Christian Church shall be the stronger for your living in it, and the problem of the world be answered, and a certain great peace come into this poor, perplexed phase of our humanity as it sees that new revelation of what Christianity is.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Addresses, Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1895, p. 22
(see the book; see also Acts 15:32; Luke 22:32; John 14:21; Acts 15:32; 1 Thess. 3:2-3; Heb. 12:11-13; more at Church, Commitment, Duty, Faith, Life, Revelation, Service, World)
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Christian prayer must forever be distinguished from magic. The true God cannot be manipulated or controlled. He cannot be put in a box. He is not at our disposal even in his revelation. There are no guarantees that God will hear our prayers. Even when our prayers are answered, this is to be attributed to his free grace. Sinful mankind is always dependent on his mercy.
... Donald G. Bloesch (1928-2010), The Struggle of Prayer, Harper & Row, 1980, p. 46
(see the book; see also Job 30:20; Ps. 6:9; John 9:31; Rom. 8:26; Jas. 1:6-7; 4:3; more at Dependence, God, Grace, Mercy, Prayer, Sinner)
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Feast of Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles
It is as if the Spirit stands behind us, throwing light over our shoulder, on Jesus, who stands facing us. The Spirit’s message to us is never, “Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me,” but always, “Look at him, and see his glory; listen to him and hear his word; go to him and have life; get to know him and taste his gift of joy and peace.” The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we stay together.
... James I. Packer (b. 1926), Keep in Step with the Spirit, Baker Books, 2005, p. 57
(see the book; see also John 15:26; 1:29; 6:40; Phil. 3:20-21; Heb. 12:2-3; Rev. 19:9; more at Christ, Gifts, Glory, Jesus, Joy, Light, Peace, Sight, Spirit)
Thursday, July 23, 2015
Commemoration of Bridget of Sweden, Abbess of Vadstena, 1373
If a man, whenever he was in company, where any one swore, talked lewdly, or spoke evil of his neighbour, should make it a rule to himself, either gently to reprove him, or if that was not proper, then to leave the company as decently as he could, he would find that this little rule, like a little leaven hid in a great quantity of meal, would spread and extend itself through the whole form of his life.
... William Law (1686-1761), A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life , London: Methuen, 1899, p. 66
(see the book; see also Luke 6:45; Ps. 34:12-13; Matt. 13:33; Luke 13:12; Eph. 4:29; 5:4; Col. 3:8; more at Evil, Gentleness, Life, Rule)
Friday, July 24, 2015
Commemoration of Thomas à Kempis, priest, spiritual writer, 1471
Be thankful, therefore, for the least benefit, and thou shall be worthy to receive greater. Let the least be unto thee even as the greatest, and let that which is of little account be unto thee as a special gift. If the majesty of the Giver be considered, nothing that is given shall seem small and of no worth, for that is not a small thing which is given by the Most High God.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.x.5, p. 103
(see the book; see also Luke 9:48; Matt. 22:21; 25:40; Mark 12:41-44; Luke 14:10; 21:1-4; more at Gifts, Giving, God, Greatness, Thanksgiving)
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Feast of James the Apostle
The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard. Such thought is a denial of eternal justice. Neither the triumph of the successful nor the bitter hatred which the successful arouse in the hearts of the unsuccessful can ultimately overcome the world. Jesus is certainly no apologist for the successful men in history, but neither does He head the insurrection of shipwrecked existences against their successful rivals. He is not concerned with success or failure but with the willing acceptance of God’s judgement. Only in this judgement is there reconciliation with God and among men.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Ethics, tr. Reinhard Krauss, Charles C. West, Douglas W. Stott, Fortress Press, 2005, reprint, Simon and Schuster, 2012, p. 78
(see the book; see also Luke 12:13-14; Ex. 20:17; Eze. 33:31; Luke 1:53; 12:15-21; Rom. 5:10-11; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; 1 Tim. 6:3-6; more at Crucifixion, God, Historical, Jesus, Judgment, Justice, Reconciliation, Success)
Sunday, July 26, 2015
It is necessary to point out that our responsibility is a relative one only, for as we think of the world-wide disintegration of the human family, the prospect before us could easily fill us with alarm and despondency, if we were not sure first of the absolute sovereignty of God who (I speak reverently) knows what He is doing in conducting this enormous experiment that we call life.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Making Men Whole, London: Highway Press, 1952, p. 15
(see the book; see also 1 Chr. 29:10-12; Ps. 24; Isa. 45:5-6; Hag. 2:7; John 10:29; Acts 17:24-26; Rev. 4:11; more at Desolation, Family, God, Life, Responsibility, Will of God)
Monday, July 27, 2015
Commemoration of Brooke Foss Westcott, Bishop of Durham, Teacher, 1901
Commemoration of John R. W. Stott, spiritual writer and teacher, 2011
The Sermon on the Mount is the most complete description anywhere in the New Testament of the Christian counterculture. Here is a Christian value system, ethical standard, religious devotion, attitude to money, ambition, lifestyle and network of relationships—all of which are the total opposite of the non-Christian world. The Sermon presents life in the kingdom of God, a fully human life indeed but lived out under the divine rule.
... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), Sermon on the Mount , InterVarsity Press, 2000, p. 6
(see the book; see also Matt. 7:12-14; 5:14,22,28,32,39-42; 6:19-20,24,33-34; more at Ambition, Attitudes, Devotion, God, Jesus, Kingdom, Money, Rule, Sermon)
Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Commemoration of Johann Sebastian Bach, musician, 1750
Such music (as ‘tis said)Before was never made,But when of old the Sons of Morning sung,While the Creator greatHis constellations set,And the well-balanced World on hinges hung,And cast the dark foundations deep,And bid the weltering waves their oozy channel keep.
Ring out, ye crystal spheres!Once bless our human ears,If ye have power to touch our senses so;And let your silver chimeMove in melodious time;And let the bass of heaven’s deep organ blow;And with your ninefold harmonyMake up full consort to the angelic symphony.
... John Milton (1608-1674),  from On the morning of Chist’s Nativity, The Complete Poems of John Milton, New York: P. F. Collier, 1909, p. 11
(see the book; see also Luke 2:13-14; Gen. 1:2-10; Ps. 19:1; 33:6; 40:3; 102:25; Isa. 40:26; 45:12; 48:13; Rev. 4:11; more at Blessing, God, Harmony, Heaven, Morning, Music, World)
Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Feast of Mary, Martha & Lazarus, Companions of Our Lord
[The prayer closet] is the battlefield of the Church; its citadel; the scene of heroic and unearthly conflicts. The closet is the base of supplies for the Christian and the Church. Cut off from it there is nothing left but retreat and disaster. The energy for work, the mastery over self, the deliverance from fear, all spiritual results and graces, are much advanced by prayer.
... E. M. Bounds (1835-1913), Purpose in Prayer, New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1920, p. 52
(see the book; see also Matt. 6:6; Ps. 46:4-5; Rom. 8:26; Eph. 6:18; 1 Thess. 5:17; Jude 1:20; more at Battle within, Church, Deliverance, Fear, Grace, Prayer)
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Commemoration of William Wilberforce, Social Reformer, 1833
The generality of nominal Christians... are almost entirely taken up with the concerns of the present world. They know indeed that they are mortal but they do not feel it. The truth rests in their understandings, and cannot gain admission into their hearts. This speculative persuasion is altogether different from that strong practical impression of the infinite importance of eternal things, which, attended with a proportionate sense of the shortness and uncertainty of all below, while it prompts to activity from a conviction that “the night cometh when no man can work,” produces a certain firmness of texture, which hardens us against the buffetings of fortune, and prevents our being very deeply penetrated by the cares and interests, the good or evil of this transitory state.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 170
(see the book; see also 1 John 2:17; Matt. 6:31-34; John 9:4; 15:19; Gal. 1:10; 2 Tim. 2:3-4; Jas. 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16; more at Everlasting, Heart, Mortality, Night, Sin, Truth, Uncertainty, Understanding, Work, World)
Friday, July 31, 2015
Commemoration of Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Society of Jesus, 1556
Man was created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord and in this way to save his soul. The other things on Earth were created for man’s use, to help him reach the end for which he was created.
... St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491/5-1556), The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, New York: P. J. Kennedy & Sons, 1914, p. 19
(see the book; see also Ps. 100:2; Deut. 10:12-13; Josh. 24:15; 1 Sam. 12:20; Ps. 2:11; 111:1; 117; 146:1; Col. 3:23-24; more at Creation, God, Man, Praise, Salvation, Service)
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