Quotations for April, 2023
Saturday, April 1, 2023
Commemoration of Frederick Denison Maurice, Priest, teacher, 1872
It is far better, safer, truer language to speak of individual depravity than of universal depravity. By individual depravity I mean my own. I find it out in myself; or rather, He who searcheth me and trieth my ways, finds it out in me. That sense of depravity implies the recognition of a law which I have violated, of an order from which I have broken loose, of a Divine image which my character has not resembled. It is the law and the order which are universal. It is this character of Christ which is the true human character. It is easy enough to own [to] a general depravity; under cover of it you and I escape.
... Frederick Denison Maurice (1805-1872), Lincoln’s Inn Sermons, v. V, London: Macmillan, 1892, p. 267
(see the book; see also 1 John 1:8; Ps. 32:5; 38:18; 41:4; 51:1-10; 106:6; 130:1-3; John 3:19; Rom. 5:18; Jas. 5:16; 1 John 1:9-10; more at Christ, Depravity, Law, Sin)
Sunday, April 2, 2023
The bulk of professed Christians are used to speak of man as of a being, who, naturally pure, and inclined to all virtue, is sometimes, almost involuntarily, drawn out of the right course, or is overpowered by the violence of temptation...Far different is the humiliating language of Christianity. From it we learn that man is an apostate creature, fallen from his high original, degraded in his nature, and depraved in his faculties: indisposed to good, and disposed to evil; prone to vice—it is natural and easy to him; disinclined to virtue—it is difficult and laborious; he is tainted with sin, not slightly and superficially, but radically and to the very core.
... William Wilberforce (1759-1833), A Practical View, Boston: Crocker & Brewster, 1829, p. 85-86
(see the book; see also Gen. 6:5; Ps. 51:5; Matt. 15:19-20; Mark 7:21-23; Rom. 3:9-18; 7:18; Eph. 2:1-5; Tit. 3:3; more at Apostasy, Depravity, Evil, Humility, Man, Nature, Sin, Temptation, Virtue)
Monday, April 3, 2023
Having reached the end of the Beatitudes, we naturally ask if there is any place on this earth for the community which they describe. Clearly, there is one place, and only one, and that is where the poorest, meekest, and most sorely tried of all men is to be found—on the cross at Golgotha. The fellowship of the Beatitudes is the fellowship of the Crucified. With him it has lost all, and with him it has found all.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), The Cost of Discipleship, Simon and Schuster, 1959, p. 113-114
(see the book; see also Rev. 22:14; Matt. 5:3-12; John 14:21-23; Rom. 4:6-9; 1 John 3:23-24; 5:3-4; more at Community, Cross, Crucifixion, Fellowship, Golgotha, Jesus)
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
Easter is not the celebration of a past event. The alleluia is not for what was; Easter proclaims a beginning which has already decided the remotest future. The Resurrection means that the beginning of glory has already started.
... Karl Rahner (1904-1984), Everyday Faith, Herder and Herder, 1968, p. 71
(see the book; see also Rom. 8:10-11; Ps. 16:9-10; 49:15; John 6:39-40; 14:19; 1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:13-14; 5:1-5; Phil. 3:10-11,20-21; 1 Thess. 4:14; 2 Tim. 1:7-10; Rev. 1:18; more at Beginning, Easter, Future, Glory, Past, Resurrection)
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
They say it was old sins that troubled him, the past failures of the man, that made things difficult for him now. There had been days when he had been too hectoring or domineering; so, at least, these impossible people had said, though he himself denied it still. At all events, protesting to Rome, they had won the Emperor’s ear, and humbled their governor. And that must not happen again. Ah, me! Is not this life of ours a fearsome thing? Take care! take care! for if you sin that sin, be sure that somehow you will pay for it—and, it may be, at how hideous a price! So Pilate found in his day; so you, too, will find it in ours... Only God knows what may come out of that, if you give way to it. Pilate was curt and domineering to the Jews one day. And it was because of that, months later, his unwilling hands set up the cross of Christ: unwilling—but they did it. Take you care! for sin is very merciless. If you have had the sweet, [sin] will see to it that you quaff the bitter to the very dregs.
... A. J. Gossip (1873-1954), The Galilean Accent, Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1926, p. 134
(see the book; see also Matt. 27:11-24; Mark 15:2-15; Luke 23:4,13-24; John 18:33-38; 19:4-16; 1 Cor. 2:8; more at Bitterness, Cross, Failure, People, Sin, Trouble)
Thursday, April 6, 2023
Commemoration of Albrecht Dürer, artist, 1528, and Michelangelo Buonarrotti, artist, spiritual writer, 1564
There is joy and strength, of course, in this holy food and drink, but it is also an inevitable joining of forces with the vast Scheme of reconciliation and redemption. Now, there is something in our natural selves that may well make us wary of such a contact. The man who in his heart intends to go on being selfish or proud, or who has already decided how far his Christian convictions should carry him, is probably obeying a sound instinct when he keeps away from this glorious but perilous Sacrament. For, if the truth be told, men are often willing to put their trust in a god who in the end must be triumphant, simply because they want to be on the winning side; but they are not nearly so ready to bear any part of the cost of that winning. Yet the fellowship of the broken bread and the poured-out wine can mean no less than that.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Appointment with God, New York, Macmillan, 1954, p. 26
(see the book; see also Matt. 20:22-23; 8:19-20; 10:22; Luke 14:28-33; 1 Cor. 11:27-29; Col. 1:24; Heb. 10:37-38; more at Bread, Church, Fellowship, God, Intention, Joy, Pride, Reconciliation, Redemption, Sacrament, Selfish, Strength, Trust)
Friday, April 7, 2023
The progress of these terrors is plainly shown us in our Lord’s agony in the garden, when the reality of this eternal death so broke in upon Him, so awakened and stirred itself in Him, as to force great drops of blood to sweat from His body... His agony was His entrance into the last, eternal terrors of the lost soul, into the real horrors of that dreadful, eternal death, which man unredeemed must have died into when he left this world. We are therefore not to consider our Lord’s death upon the Cross, as only the death of that mortal body which was nailed to it, but we are to look upon Him with wounded hearts, as being fixed and fastened in the state of that two-fold death, which was due to the fallen nature, out of which He could not come till He could say, “It is finished; Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit.”
... William Law (1686-1761), An Appeal to All that Doubt , in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VI, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 146
(see the book; see also Matt. 26:39-42; Mark 14:35-36; Luke 22:41-44; 23:46; John 12:27-28; 19:30; more at Cross, Death, Easter, Heart, Mortality, Terror)
Saturday, April 8, 2023
Commemoration of William Augustus Muhlenberg of New York, Priest, 1877
Men and women disbelieve the Easter story not because of the evidence but in spite of it. It is not that they weigh the evidence with open minds, assess its relevance and cogency and finally decide that it is suspect or inadequate. Instead, they start with the a priori conviction that the resurrection of Christ would constitute such an incredible event that it could not be accepted or believed without scientific demonstration of an irrefutable nature. But it is idle to demand proof of this sort for any event in history. Historical evidence, from its very nature, can never amount to more than a very high degree of probability.
... J. N. D. Anderson (1908-1994), Christianity: the Witness of History, Tyndale Press, 1969, p. 105-106
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:12-15; 27:62-66; Mark 8:31-33; Luke 24:5-6; Acts 5:40; more at Belief, Easter, Historical, Proof, Resurrection)
Sunday, April 9, 2023
Feast of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Teacher, Martyr, 1945
Make no mistake: if He rose at allit was as His body;if the cells’ dissolution did not reverse, the moleculesreknit, the amino acids rekindle,the Church will fall.
... John Updike (1932-2009), from “Seven Stanzas at Easter”, in Telephone Poles and Other Poems, New York: A. Knopf, 1963, p. 72
(see the book; see also Matt. 28:1-7; Mark 16:1-7; Luke 24:1-7; John 11:25; 14:19; Phil. 3:10-11; 2 Tim. 1:10; Rev. 1:18; more at Belief, Church, Resurrection)
Monday, April 10, 2023
Feast of William Law, Priest, Mystic, 1761
Commemoration of William of Ockham, Franciscan Friar, Philosopher, Teacher, 1347
Commemoration of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Priest, Scientist, Visionary, 1955
This Spirit of love, born of that celestial fire, with which Christ baptizes his true disciples, is alone that Spirit which can enter into heaven, and therefore is that Spirit which is to be born in us whilst we are on earth; for no one can enter into heaven, till he is made heavenly, till the Spirit of heaven is entered into him; and therefore all that our Lord hath said of denying and dying to self, and of his parting with all that he hath, are practices absolutely necessary from the nature of the thing.
... William Law (1686-1761), The Spirit of Love [1752-4], in Works of Rev. William Law, v. VIII, London: G. Moreton, 1893, p. 73
(see the book; see also John 12:24-25; Matt. 3:11; 5:20; 16:24; 18:3-4; John 3:3-5; Rom. 6:6-7; 1 Cor. 6:9-10; 15:31; Gal. 2:20; 5:24; 1 Pet. 2:24; more at Baptism, Christ, Fire, Heaven, Love, Self, Spirit)
Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Commemoration of George Augustus Selwyn, first Bishop of New Zealand, 1878
Is not this at length too much to expect? Will a man ever love his enemies? He may come to do good to them that hate him; but when will he pray for them that despitefully use him and persecute him? When? When he is the child of his Father in heaven. Then shall he love his neighbour as himself, even if that neighbour be his enemy. In the passage in Leviticus ... quoted by our Lord and his apostles, we find the neighbour and the enemy are one.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), “Love Thine Enemy”, in Unspoken Sermons [First Series], London: A. Strahan, 1867, p. 217-218
(see the book; see also Lev. 19:18; Ex. 23:4-5; Pr. 25:21; Matt. 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-28,35; 23:34; Rom. 12:14,20-21; 1 Pet. 3:9; more at Enemy, Father, Goodness, Hatred, Love, Prayer)
Wednesday, April 12, 2023
Nothing is too great and nothing is too small to commit into the hands of the Lord.
... A. W. Pink (1886-1952), in a letter, April 14, 1940
(see also Ps. 56:3; 22:9-10; 71:6; 139:14-16; Jer. 1:5; Mark 9:23-24; Luke 23:46; Rom. 1:16-17; Eph. 2:8-9; Heb. 10:35; more at Commitment, God, Prayer, Providence)
Thursday, April 13, 2023
I fear that if you take the preaching throughout the Church of Christ and ask why there is, alas! so little converting power in the preaching of the Word, why there is so much work and often so little result for eternity, why the Word has so little power to build up believers in holiness and in consecration,—the answer will come: It is the absence of the power of the Holy Ghost. And why is this? There can be no other reason but that the flesh and human energy have taken the place that the Holy Ghost ought to have.
... Andrew Murray (1828-1917), Absolute Surrender, Bible Institute Colportage Association, 1897, p. 86
(see the book; see also Gal. 3:2-3; Acts 8:14-17; 10:44-47; Rom. 1:17; 10:16-17; 1 Cor. 3:1; Gal. 5:6; more at Church, Conversion, Holiness, Holy Spirit, Power, Preach)
Friday, April 14, 2023
Risk, as we have seen, is indispensable to any significant life, nowhere more clearly than in the life of the spirit. The goal of faith is not to create a set of immutable, rationalized, precisely defined and defendable beliefs to preserve forever. It is to recover a relationship with God.
... Daniel Taylor, The Myth of Certainty, Jarrell, 1986, p. 123
(see the book; see also Mark 15:34; Job 13:15; Ps. 23:4; 44:6-7; Isa. 26:4; 2 Cor. 1:9; 10:4; more at Belief, Faith, Goal, God, Knowing God, Life, Spirit)
Saturday, April 15, 2023
With [Jesus] the new age had dawned, and the rule of God had broken into history. “Repent,” he cried, “for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Indeed, “He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom.”The Sermon on the Mount, then, is to be seen in this context. It portrays the repentance (metonoia, the complete change of mind) and the righteousness which belong to the kingdom. That is, it describes what human life and humanity look like when they come under the gracious rule of God.
... John R. W. Stott (1921-2011), Sermon on the Mount , InterVarsity Press, 2000, p. 5
(see the book; see also Matt. 4:17; Lev. 11:44; Ps. 37:37; Matt. 4:23; 5:48; 6:8; 10:7; Mark 1:15; Luke 6:35-36; 1 Cor. 7:1; 13:11; Col. 1:28; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; more at God, Grace, Historical, Jesus, Kingdom, Preach, Repentance, Righteousness)
Sunday, April 16, 2023
He has great tranquillity of heart who cares neither for the praises nor the fault-finding of men. He will easily be content and pacified, whose conscience is pure. You are not holier if you are praised, nor the more worthless if you are found fault with. What you are, that you are; neither by word can you be made greater than what you are in the sight of God.
... Thomas à Kempis (1380-1471), Of the Imitation of Christ , Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, 1877, II.vi.2, p. 93
(see the book; see also Ps. 11:4; 139:1; Pr. 25:27; Matt. 6:1-2; Luke 16:15; John 5:41-44; 7:18; 12:42-43; Gal. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:4-7; 1 Tim. 1:5; 3:9; 1 Pet. 3:15-16; more at Contentment, Gold, Holiness, Tranquility)
Monday, April 17, 2023
The whole being of any Christian is Faith and Love... Faith brings the man to God, love brings him to men.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546)
(see also Gal. 5:6; more at Faith, God, Love, Man)
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
[Experience] is the only thing that teaches us the articles of our creed in a way worth learning them. Every one of us carries professed beliefs, which lie there inoperative, bedridden, in the hospital and dormitory of our souls, until some great necessity or sudden circumstance comes that flings a beam of light upon them, and then they start and waken. We do not know the use of the sword until we are in battle. Until the shipwreck comes, no man puts on the lifebelt in his cabin. Every one of us has large tracts of Christian truth which we think we most surely believe, but which need experience to quicken them, and need us to grow up into the possession of them. Of all our teachers who turn beliefs assented to into beliefs really believed none is so mighty as sorrow; for that makes a man lay a firm hold on the deep things of God’s Word.
... Alexander Maclaren (1826-1910), The Holy of Holies, London: Alexander & Shepheard, 1890, p. 361-362
(see the book; see also 2 Cor. 7:10-11; Matt. 26:75; Luke 18:10-14; Eph. 4:26; 6:13-17; more at Belief, Creed, Experience, God, Need, Sorrow, Teach, Truth)
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Commemoration of Alphege, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1012
Christ will be Master of the heart, and sin must be mortified... If your life is unholy your heart is unchanged; and if your heart is unchanged you are an unsaved person. If the Saviour has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, He has done nothing in you of a saving character. The grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves His people not in their sins, but from them.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), for Feb. 8, Evening by Evening, New York: Sheldon and Company, 1869, p. 39
(see the book; see also 1 Pet. 1:14-16; Ps. 130:7-8; Eze. 36:25-29; Matt. 1:21; John 1:29; Acts 3:26; Rom. 6:22; Phil. 3:12-14; 1 Thes. 4:7; Tit. 2:11-14; Heb. 12:10,14; 1 John 1:7; Rev. 7:13-14; more at Christ, Grace, Heart, Holiness, Life, Master, Salvation, Sin)
Thursday, April 20, 2023
It is vain, then, to speak of reposing trust in the Person without believing the message. For trust involves a personal relation between the one who trusts and him in whom the trust is reposed. And in this case the personal relation is set up by the blessed theology of the Cross.
... J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937), Christianity and Liberalism, The Macmillan Company, 1923, p. 44
(see the book; see also 2 Tim. 1:11-12; Ps. 9:10; 31:5; Isa. 53:1; John 1:11-13; Rom. 10:12-15; Phil. 3:8-11; more at Cross, Jesus, Theology, Trust)
Friday, April 21, 2023
Feast of Anselm, Abbot of Le Bec, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1109
For I seek not to understand in order that I may believe; but I believe in order that I may understand. For this also I believe,—that unless I believe, I should not understand.
... St. Anselm (1033-1109), Discourse on the Existence of God, Chicago: The Opencourt Publishing Co, 1903, p. 7
(see the book; see also Prov. 28:5; John 7:16-18; Eph. 4:17-18; Col. 1:9; 2:2; more at Belief, Faith, Understanding)
Saturday, April 22, 2023
To recognize with delight all high, and generous, and beautiful actions; to find a joy even in seeing the good qualities of your bitterest opponents, and to admire those qualities even in those with whom you have least sympathy—this is the only spirit which can heal the love of slander and of calumny. If we would bless God, we must first learn to bless man, who is made in the image of God.
... Frederick W. Robertson (1816-1853), Sermons Preached at Trinity Chapel, Brighton, v. III, Boston: Ticknor & Fields, 1859, p. 60-61
(see the book; see also Luke 6:27-28; Ps. 34:12-13; 52:4; Pr. 24:17-18; Matt. 5:11,43-45; Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; Rom. 3:13; 12:14; Eph. 4:31; Phil. 4:8; Tit. 3:1-2; Jas. 3:5-6; 4:11; 1 Pet. 3:10,15-16; more at Beauty, Blessing, God, Goodness, Joy, Man, Sympathy)
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Feast of George, Martyr, Patron of England, c.304
Commemoration of Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, Teacher, 1988
Unfortunately, contemporary men and women simply do not value self-knowledge in the same way that all preceding generations have. For us technocratic knowledge reigns supreme. Even when we pursue self-knowledge, we all too often reduce it to a hedonistic search for personal peace and prosperity. How poor we are! Even the pagan philosophers were wiser than this generation. They knew that an unexamined life was not worth living.
... Richard J. Foster (b. 1942), Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, HarperCollins, 1992, p. 30
(see the book; see also Ps. 4:4; 26:2; 139:1,23-24; Lam. 3:40; Hag. 1:7; Rom. 8:26-27; 12:1; 1 Cor. 2:10; 11:27-31; 2 Cor. 13:5; more at Knowledge, Peace, Philosophy, Poverty, Prosperity, Self)
Monday, April 24, 2023
Commemoration of Mellitus, First Bishop of London, 624
We believe that the death of Christ is just that point in history at which something absolutely unimaginable from outside shows through into our own world. And if we cannot picture even the atoms of which our own world is built, of course we are not going to be able to picture this. Indeed, if we found that we could fully understand it, that very fact would show it was not what it professes to be—the inconceivable, the uncreated, the thing from beyond nature, striking down into nature like lightning. You may ask what good it will be to us if we do not understand it. But that is easily answered. A man can eat his dinner without understanding exactly how food nourishes him. A man can accept what Christ has done without knowing how it works: indeed, he certainly would not know how it works until he has accepted it.
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), Mere Christianity, New York: MacMillan, 1952, reprint, HarperCollins, 2001, p. 55
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 15:3-5; Isa. 53:5; Mark 9:23-24; John 6:32-35,48-58; Rom. 5:8-9; Eph. 3:8-10,16-19; Phil. 4:7; Col. 1:25-27; 2:2-3; 3:3; 1 Pet. 3:18-20; more at Belief, Christ, Historical, Knowledge, Man, Understanding, World)
Tuesday, April 25, 2023
Feast of Mark the Evangelist
For many years the Christians met in homes and never possessed any special buildings for their gatherings. As religio illicita, no thought could be had of a permanent structure for gatherings. This would only facilitate matters for the Roman government in its merciless persecutions. The early Church was very conscious of its pilgrim character in a world which was at enmity with God.
... Donald L. Norbie (1923-2014), New Testament Church Organization, Interest, Chicago: 1955, p. 21
(see the book; see also 1 Cor. 16:19; Ps. 137:4; Luke 9:54-58; John 15:18-20; Acts 16:14,15; Rom. 5:10; 8:7; 16:5; Col. 4:15; Philem. 1:2; Heb. 11:16; 1 John 3:13; more at Church, God, Home, Permanence, Pilgrim, War)
Wednesday, April 26, 2023
As long as I see any thing to be done for God, life is worth having: but O how vain and unworthy it is, to live for any lower end!
... David Brainerd (1718-1747), Memoirs of the Rev. David Brainerd, New Haven: S. Converse, 1822, p. 424
(see the book; see also Job 13:14-15; Ps. 39:4-7; 94:11; 119:81; Isa. 47:8-9; Luke 8:14; 12:16-21; Rom. 15:13; Heb. 11:24-26; more at God, Life, Obedience, Vanity)
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Feast of Christina Rossetti, Poet, 1894
A Rose Plant in Jericho.
At morn I plucked a rose and gave it Thee,A rose of joy and happy love and peace,A rose with scarce a thorn:But in the chillness of a second mornMy rose bush drooped, and all its gay increaseWas but one thorn that wounded me.
I plucked the thorn and offered it to Thee;And for my thorn Thou gavest love and peace,Not joy this mortal morn:If Thou hast given much treasure for a thorn,Wilt Thou not give me for my rose increaseOf gladness, and all sweets to me?
My thorny rose, my love and pain, to TheeI offer; and I set my heart in peace,And rest upon my thorn:For verily I think to-morrow mornShall bring me Paradise, my gift’s increase,Yea, give Thy very Self to me.
... Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), Christina Rossetti: the complete poems, London: Penguin Classics, 2001, p. 224
(see the book; see also Rev. 21:3-5; Matt. 7:13-14; 27:28-29; Mark 15:17; John 14:27; 2 Cor. 12:7; more at Gladness, God, Joy, Love, Pain, Peace, Treasure, Weakness)
Friday, April 28, 2023
Commemoration of Peter Chanel, Religious, Missionary in the South Pacific, Martyr, 1841
If your path had been smooth, you would have depended upon your own surefootedness; but God roughened that path, so you have to take hold of His hand. If the weather had been mild, you would have loitered along the watercourses, but at the first howl of the storm you quickened your pace heavenward and wrapped around you the warm robe of a Saviour’s righteousness.
... Thomas De Witt Talmage (1832-1902), The Pathway of Life, Historical Publishing Company for the Christian Herald, 1894, p. 100
(see the book; see also Acts 2:21; Lam. 3:32-33; Amos 4:6-11; Matt. 14:25-33; Rom. 5:3-4; 8:28; 2 Cor. 4:17; 12:7-9; Jas. 1:12; Rev. 3:19; more at Dependence, God, Guidance, Righteousness, Savior)
Saturday, April 29, 2023
Feast of Catherine of Siena, Mystic, Teacher, 1380
You, O eternal Trinity, are a deep Sea, into which the deeper I enter the more I find, and the more I find the more I seek; the soul cannot be satiated in Your abyss, for she continually hungers after You.
... Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), Dialog of Catherine of Siena , Treatise of Obedience, xi.
(see the book; see also Ps. 34:8; 36:5-6; 42:7; Luke 12:32-34; Rom. 11:33; Col. 2:2-3; more at Need, Prayers, Sea, Soul, Trinity)
Sunday, April 30, 2023
Commemoration of Pandita Mary Ramabai, Translator of the Scriptures, 1922
It is out of the question to be one with Him in any other way than in the way of nature, and character, and life. Unless we are Christ-like in our thoughts and our ways, we are not one with Him, no matter how we feel.
... Hannah Whitall Smith (1832-1911), Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, London: F. E. Longley, 1876, p. 130 (new ed.)
(see the book; see also 1 John 4:16-17; Matt. 10:37-38; John 6:53-56; 14:23; Rom. 8:10-11,29; 12:2; 1 Cor. 15:48-49; 2 Cor. 5:21; Phil. 2:5-7; 3:10-11; 1 John 3:2; 4:12-15; more at Attitudes, Christ, Life, Nature, Thought, Way)
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