Christ, our Light

Quotations for January, 2006

Sunday, January 1, 2006
Feast of the Naming & Circumcision of Jesus

Why does He make our hearts so strangely still,
Why stands He forth so stately and so tall?
Because He has no self to serve, no will
That does not seek the welfare of the All.
... Edwin Markham (1852-1940), New Poems: eighty songs at eighty, Doubleday, Doran, 1933, p. 99 (see the book; see also John 5:30; Matt. 11:28-30; John 4:34; 5:19; 6:38; 8:15-16,28,50; 14:10; 17:4; Rom. 2:2; 8:28; 15:3; more at Heart, Jesus, Self, Service)

Monday, January 2, 2006
Feast of Basil the Great & Gregory Nazianzen, Bishops, Teachers, 379 & 389
Commemoration of Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Mystic, Staretz, 1833

The labours of the farm do not seem strange to the farmer; the storm at sea is not unexpected by the sailor; sweat causes no wonder to the hired labourer; and so to those who have chosen to live the life of piety the afflictions of this world are not unforeseen. Nay, to each of the aforesaid is joined a labour that is appropriate and well known to those who share it—a labour that is not chosen for its own sake, but for the enjoyment of expected blessings. For hopes, which hold and weld together man’s entire life, give consolation for the hardships which fall to the lot of each of these.
... St. Basil the Great (330?-379), Saint Basil, the Letters, tr. Roy Joseph Deferrari, Martin Rawson, Patrick McGuire, London: William Heinemann, 1950, p. 119 (see the book; see also Heb. 6:10-12; Deut. 32:4; Ps. 23:4; Matt. 10:42; 25:40; Mark 9:41; John 13:20; 16:32-33; Acts 10:4; 14:21-22; Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 8:1-2; 2 Thess. 1:6-7; 2 Tim. 1:16-18; more at Affliction, Blessing, Consolation, Labor, Weakness)

Tuesday, January 3, 2006
Commemoration of Gladys Aylward, Missionary in China, 1970

Two movements merge in the real act of communion. First, the creature’s profound sense of need, of incompleteness: its steadfast desire... Next, a humble and loving acceptance of God’s answer to that prayer of desire, however startling, disappointing, and unappetizing it may be.
... Evelyn Underhill (1875-1941), The Mystery of Sacrifice, New York: Longmans, Green, 1938, p. 64 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 10:16-17; John 6:53-58; Acts 2:46-47; Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:3,27; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11; 1 John 1:3; more at Church, Communion, Humility, Need, Prayer)

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Scripture will ultimately suffice for a saving knowledge of God only when its certainty is founded upon the inward persuasion of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, these human testimonies which exist to confirm it will not be vain if, as secondary aids to our feebleness, they follow that chief and highest testimony. But those who wish to prove to unbelievers that Scripture is the Word of God are acting foolishly, for only by faith can this be known.
... John Calvin (1509-1564), The Institutes of the Christian Religion, v. I [1559], tr. John Allen, Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath-School Work, 1921, I.viii.13, p. 90-91 (see the book; see also Acts 5:32; Ps. 143:10; Jer. 6:10; Matt. 22:43; Luke 16:31; 24:45; Acts 1:8; Rom. 8:13-16; 1 Cor. 1:18; 2 Cor. 1:21-22; 5:5; Gal. 4:6; 5:25; Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Tim. 3:16; 1 John 4:13; more at Faith, Holy Spirit, Knowing God, Proof, Salvation, Scripture)

Thursday, January 5, 2006

We find not in the Gospel, that Christ hath anywhere provided for the uniformity of churches, but only for their unity.
... Roger Williams (1603?-1683), The Bloudy Tenent [1644], London: J. Haddon, 1848, p. 224 (see the book; see also 1 Cor. 12:12-18; Ps. 133:1; Matt. 23:8; Acts 4:32; Rom. 12:16; 15:5-6; 2 Cor. 13:11; Eph. 4:3; Phil. 1:27; 2:1-2; more at Christ, Church, Gospel, Unity)

Friday, January 6, 2006

Do you think you love your children better than He who made them? Is not your love what it is because He put it into your heart first? Have you not often been cross with them? Sometimes unjust to them? Whence came the returning love that rose from unknown depths in your being, and swept away the anger and the injustice? You did not create that love. Probably you were not good enough to send for it by prayer. But it came. God sent it. He makes you love your children.
... George MacDonald (1824-1905), Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood, v. I [1867], London: Strahan & Co., 1873, p. 201 (see the book; see also Matt. 18:10; 1 Cor. 7:14; Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21; more at Child, God, Grace, Heart, Love, Prayer)

Saturday, January 7, 2006

Jesus has also been accused of being ineffective, in a political sense, and of having done little to right social injustices. But it is clear from the Sermon on the Mount that he was deeply concerned that his disciples should be both the “salt” and the “light” of secular society; he endorsed the authority of those Old Testament prophets who vehemently rebuked social injustice; and he consistently identified himself with the poor and weak, with social outcasts and those who were regarded as morally disreputable... It is true that he did not lead a rebellion against Rome, seek to free slaves, or introduce a social revolution. He had come for a particular purpose, which was far more important than any of these things—and from that purpose nothing could or did deflect him. [Continued tomorrow]
... J. N. D. Anderson (1908-1994), Christianity: the Witness of History, Tyndale Press, 1969, p. 50-51 (see the book; see also Matt. 5:13-16; Lev. 2:13; Num. 18:19; 2 Chr. 13:5; more at Bible, Disciple, Jesus, Prophet, Purpose, Social)

Sunday, January 8, 2006
Commemoration of Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Pete Fleming, martyrs, Ecuador, 1956

[Continued from yesterday] [Christ] was primarily concerned to change men as men rather than the political regime under which they lived; to transform their attitude rather than their circumstances; to treat the sickness of their hearts rather than the problems of their environment. But he laid down in a single pregnant sentence man’s duty both to God and to the State when he said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s;” and it is certainly not his fault that the Christian church has been so slow, down the centuries, in applying to one after another of the world’s social evils the principle he emphasized so strongly, that we must love our neighbours as ourselves.
... J. N. D. Anderson (1908-1994), Christianity: the Witness of History, Tyndale Press, 1969, p. 51 (see the book; see also Luke 20:20-26; Matt. 22:16-22; Mark 12:13-17; more at Attitudes, Church, Duty, Evil, God, Love, Sickness, Social)

Monday, January 9, 2006

Every time that the words contrition or humility drop from the lips of prophet or psalmist, Christianity appears.
... Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), Literature and Dogma, New York: The Macmillian Company, 1875, p. 70 (see the book; see also Isa. 66:1-2; Ps. 51:17, Isa. 57:15; 61:1; Micah 6:8; Matt. 5:3-4; 11:29; Luke 18:10-14; John 13:14-15; Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; more at Authenticity, Bible, Contrition, Faith, Humility, Prophet)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The overwhelming recognition of human sin controls the Old Testament and the New Testament alike, and no understanding of our Lord’s words and actions is possible if we persist in denying it.
... Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns (1884-1937), Cambridge Sermons, London: SPCK, 1938, p. 58 (see the book; see also 1 John 1:8; Ps. 143:2; Pr. 20:9; Eccl. 7:20; Isa. 53:6; 64:6; Matt. 1:21; Acts 2:38; Rom. 3:23; 1 John 1:10; 3:6; more at Action, Bible, Sin, Teach, Understanding)

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Commemoration of Mary Slessor, Missionary in West Africa, 1915

Give me an open ear, O God, that I may hear Thy voice calling me to high endeavor.
Give me an open mind, O God, a mind ready to receive and to welcome such new light of knowledge as it is Thy will to reveal to me.
Give me open eyes, O God, eyes quick to discover Thine indwelling in the world which Thou hast made.
Give me open hands, O God, hands ready to share with all who are in want the blessings with which Thou hast enriched my life.
... John Baillie (1886-1960) & Donald M. Baillie (1887-1954), A Diary of Private Prayer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1939, p. 63 (see the book; see also Col. 4:2-4; Matt. 13:16; Luke 10:23-24; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1:18-19; 2:10; Phil. 3:8-9; more at Blessing, Call, Giving, God, Knowledge, Light, Mind, Prayers, Share, World)

Thursday, January 12, 2006
Feast of Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
Commemoration of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689

God’s unchangeableness is the very foundation of desire, and hope, and activity, in things religious as in things natural. The uniformity of nature’s operations in the one, and the constancy of God’s promises in the other, give aim and calculation and certainty to events.
... Edward Irving (1792-1834), “The Reasonableness and Rule of Prayer” in The Collected Writings of Edward Irving, v. III, London: Alexander Strahan, 1865, p. 4 (see the book; see also Ps. 119:89-91; Num. 23:19-20; Mal. 3:6; Heb. 6:17-20; 13:8; Jas. 1:17; more at Certainty, God, Hope, Nature, Promise, Providence)

Friday, January 13, 2006
Feast of Hilary, Bishop of Poitiers, Teacher, 367
Commemoration of Kentigern (Mungo), Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde & Cumbria, 603

Idolatry is... all manner of devotion in those that would serve God without Christ the Mediator, his Word and command. In [the Roman Catholic world] it was held a work of the greatest sanctity for the monks to sit in their cells and meditate of God, and of his wonderful works; to be kindled with zeal, kneeling on their knees, praying, and having their imaginary contemplations of celestial objects, with such supposed devotion, that they wept for joy. In these their conceits, they banished all desires and thoughts of women, and what else is temporal and evanescent. They seemed to meditate only on God, and his wonderful works. Yet all these seeming holy actions of devotion, which the wit and wisdom of man holds to be angelical sanctity, are nothing else but works of the flesh. All manner of religion, where people serve God without his Word and command, is simply idolatry, and the more holy and spiritual such a religion seems, the more hurtful and venomous it is; for it leads people away from the faith of Christ, and makes them rely and depend upon their own strength, works, and righteousness.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Table-Talk [1566], CLXXI (see the book; see also Col. 3:4-6; Isa. 41:24; 66:3-4; Hab. 1:11; 1 Cor. 12:2-3; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 3:8-9; more at Idol, Meditation, Sin, Work)

Saturday, January 14, 2006
Commemoration of Richard Meux Benson, Founder of the Society of St John the Evangelist, 1915

Let all our employment be to know GOD; the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him. And as knowledge is commonly the measure of love, the deeper and more extensive our knowledge shall be, the greater will be our love; and if our love of GOD were great, we should love Him equally in pains and pleasures.
... Brother Lawrence (c.1605-1691), The Practice of the Presence of God, New York, Revell, 1895, Fifteenth Letter, p. 44 (see the book; see also Phil. 1:9-11; Rom. 11:33-34; Hos. 4:6; 1 Cor. 13:9-12; 2 Cor. 2:14; Phil. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:5-7; more at Knowing God, Love, Pain, Pleasure)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

When the will abandons what is above itself and turns to what is lower, it becomes evil—not because that is evil to which it turns, but because the turning itself is wicked. Therefore it is not an inferior thing which has made the will evil, but it is itself which has become so by wickedly and inordinately desiring an inferior thing.
... St. Augustine of Hippo (354-430), The City of God, v. I [426], Marcus Dods, ed., as vol. 1 of The Works of Aurelius Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Edinbugh: T & T Clark, 1871,, p. 488-489 (see the book; see also Eccl. 10:3; Matt. 15:11,17-20; Mark 7:15,18-23; Luke 11:38-41; Tit. 1:15; more at Evil, Intention, Sin)

Monday, January 16, 2006

The great unity which true science seeks is found only by beginning with our knowledge of God, and coming down from Him along the stream of causation to every fact and event that affects us.
... Howard Crosby (1826-1891) (see the book; see also Prov. 2:3-5; Ps. 25:4-5; 119:72; Matt. 7:7-8; Eph. 1:17; Jas. 1:5; more at Beginning, God, Knowledge, Science, Social, Truth, Unity)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006
Feast of Antony of Egypt, Abbot, 356
Commemoration of Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932

Any such distinction between disreputable and respectable sins... Jesus Christ absolutely refuses to allow. In His eyes avarice, pride, contempt, refusal to forgive, hypocrisy, are at least as bad as fornication or adultery or violence.
... Charles Gore (1853-1932), Christ and Society, London: Allen & Unwin, Ltd., 1928, p. 50 (see the book; see also Mark 7:15, Matt. 23:5-7; Mark 7:21-22; 10:42-44; 12:38-40; Luke 1:51-52; 11:43; 20:46-47; Rom. 1:29-30; 12:3-16; 1 Cor. 13:4; Phil. 2:3; more at Christ, Contempt, Greed, Hypocrisy, Jesus, Pride, Sin)

Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle
Commemoration of Amy Carmichael, Founder of the Dohnavur Fellowship, 1951

May the Spirit of God help you to give of yourself as recklessly for the cause of Christ throughout the whole world as God “recklessly” gave His Son, Jesus Christ.
... Robert Pierce (1914-1978), founder and president, World Vision, in a private communication from World Vision (see also Rom. 8:32; Isa. 53:10; John 3:16,17; Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:21; more at Attitudes, Christ, Giving, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Son, World)

Thursday, January 19, 2006
Commemoration of Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester, 1095

No man can look with undivided vision at God and at the world of reality so long as God and the world are torn asunder. Try as he may, he can only let his eyes wander distractedly from one to the other. But there is a place at which God and the cosmic reality are reconciled, a place at which God and man have become one. That and that alone is what enables man to set his eyes upon God and the world at the same time. This place does not lie somewhere out beyond reality in the realm of ideas. It lies in the midst of history as a divine miracle. It lies in Jesus Christ, the reconciler of the world.
... Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945), Ethics, tr. Reinhard Krauss, Charles C. West, Douglas W. Stott, Fortress Press, 2005, reprint, Simon and Schuster, 2012, p. 82 (see the book; see also Rom. 5:10-11; Matt. 12:25; John 1:9-14; Rom. 8:6-8; 2 Cor. 5:18-19; Eph. 2:14-16; Col. 1:19-22; Heb. 2:17; 7:25; more at God, Historical, Jesus, Miracle, Reconciliation, Vision, World)

Friday, January 20, 2006
Commemoration of Richard Rolle of Hampole, Writer, Hermit, Mystic, 1349

It is of no use to say that Christ as exhibited in the Gospels is not historical and that we know not how much of what is admirable has been superadded by the tradition of his followers... Who among his disciples or among their proselytes was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fishermen of Galilee; as certainly not St. Paul, whose character and idiosyncrasies were of a totally different sort; still less the early Christian writers in whom nothing is more evident than that the good which was in them was all derived, as they always professed that it was derived, from the higher source.
... John Stuart Mill (1806-1873), Three Essays on Religion, New York: Henry Holt, 1874, p. 253-254 (see the book; see also Matt. 7:28-29; 13:54; 28:18; Mark 1:22; 6:2; Luke 4:22,32; 19:47-48; 21:12-15; John 7:15,46; 21:24-25; Heb. 4:12-13; more at Bible, Christ, Disciple, Goodness, Historical, Imagination, Jesus, Knowledge, Revelation, Tradition)

Saturday, January 21, 2006
Feast of Agnes, Child Martyr at Rome, 304

A Christian man is most free lord of all, and subject to none; a Christian man is the most dutiful servant of all, and subject to everyone.
... Martin Luther (1483-1546), Treatise on Christian Liberty [1520], p. 312 (see the book; see also Rom. 6:18; Ps. 116:16; 119:32,45; Matt. 20:25-28; Mark 9:35; 10:42-45; Luke 14:8-11; John 8:32,36; Rom. 6:14,19-23; Gal. 5:1; 1 Pet. 2:16; more at Freedom, Man, Service, Social)

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The “great” commitment is so much easier than the ordinary, everyday one—and can all too easily shut our hearts to the latter. A willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice can be associated with, and even produce, a great hardness of heart.
... Dag Hammarskjöld (1905-1961), Markings, tr. Leif Sjöberg & W. H. Auden, (q.v.), New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1964 (post.), p. 131 (see the book; see also Phil. 3:17-19; Jer. 6:16; 1 Cor. 10:32-33; 11:1; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thess. 1:6; 2 Thess. 3:9; Heb. 12:1; 13:7; more at Commitment, Heart, Obedience, Sacrifice)

Monday, January 23, 2006
Commemoration of Phillips Brooks, Bishop of Massachusetts, spiritual writer, 1893

If the true revelation of God is in Christ, the Bible is not properly a revelation, but the History of a Revelation. This is not only a Fact but a necessity, for a Person cannot be revealed in a Book, but must find revelation, if at all, in a Person.
... Phillips Brooks (1835-1893), Life and letters of Phillips Brooks, v. II, Alexander V. G. Allen, New York: E. P. Dutton, 1901, p. 477 (see the book; see also Heb. 1:1-4; Matt. 3:17; 11:25; 16:16-17; 17:5; Luke 10:21-22; John 1:1,14,18; Col. 1:19-20; more at Bible, Christ, God, Historical, Jesus, Revelation)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Feast of François de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher, 1622

Our business is to love what God would have [us do]. He wills our vocation as it is: let us love that, and not trifle away our time in hankering after other people’s vocation.
... François de Sales (1567-1622), A Selection from the Spiritual Letters of St. Francis de Sales [1622], New York: E. P. Dutton, 1876, p. 56 (see the book; see also Rom. 12:4-8; Eph. 4:1,4-6; 2 Thess. 1:11; 2 Pet. 1:10-11; more at Call, God, Love, Obedience, People)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Feast of the Conversion of Paul

The life of faith does not earn eternal life; it is eternal life. And Christ is its vehicle.
... William Temple (1881-1944), Readings in St. John’s Gospel, London: Macmillan, 1939, 1952, p. 93 (see the book; see also Rom. 6:4; John 3:14-15; 6:35; Rom. 6:23; 7:6; 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:22-24; 1 Tim. 1:16; 1 John 2:6; more at Christ, Eternal life, Faith)

Thursday, January 26, 2006
Feast of Timothy and Titus, Companions of Paul
Commemoration of Dorothy Kerin, Founder of the Burrswood Healing Community, 1963

The Christian Mission is what the New Testament calls a ‘mystery’. It is what St. Paul calls the mystery—a secret hidden within God even before the creation of the world, but now made known to men and women of faith, whereby all nations are to be gathered up and presented to God through Jesus Christ. This gathering up takes place in the Church, the mystical Body of Christ. The mystery has been unfolded according to a divine plan; prepared by the vocation of the Jewish people; and substantially realized by the mission of the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, who by His Ascension introduced human nature for all eternity into the sphere of the life of the Divine Trinity: and this plan is to be accomplished among the various peoples of the world, during the time between Pentecost and the Second Coming. [Continued tomorrow]
... David M. Paton (1913-1992), Christian Missions and the Judgment of God, London: SCM Press, 1953, p. 11 (see the book; see also Eph. 3:8-11; Matt. 13:11; Rom. 16:25-26; 1 Cor. 2:7-10; Col. 1:26-29; more at Ascension, Bible, Body of Christ, Incarnation, Mission, Mystic, Nation, Trinity)

Friday, January 27, 2006

[Continued from yesterday]
The Christian Mission is thus anchored in dogma, is a result of what ordinary Christians believe. It is God’s plan, God’s activity; but because God became man and took up manhood into Himself, it is God’s will embodied in active obedience on the part of the Christian individual, the Christian group within the Church, and the Christian Church as a whole—we are all involved in it, all of us, in our various callings.
... David M. Paton (1913-1992), Christian Missions and the Judgment of God, London: SCM Press, 1953, p. 11 (see the book; see also Eph. 3:12; Rom. 5:1-2; Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-22; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; more at Body of Christ, Church, Dogma, Mission, Obedience)

Saturday, January 28, 2006
Feast of Thomas Aquinas, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1274

This Christian claim [of universal validity] is naturally offensive to the adherents of every other religious system. It is almost as offensive to modern man, brought up in the atmosphere of relativism, in which tolerance is regarded almost as the highest of the virtues. But we must not suppose that this claim to universal validity is something that can quietly be removed from the Gospel without changing it into something entirely different from what it is... Jesus’ life, his methods, and his message do not make sense, unless they are interpreted in the light of his own conviction that he was in fact the final and decisive word of God to men... For the human sickness there is one specific remedy, and this is it. There is no other.
... Stephen Neill (1900-1984), Christian Faith and Other Faiths, London: Oxford U.P., 1970, p. 16-17 (see the book; see also Luke 5:29-32; John 10:7-9; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 2:23; Rev. 20:15; more at God, Gospel, Jesus, Revelation, Sickness, Tolerance, Virtue)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

If we once accept the doctrine of the Incarnation, we must surely be very cautious in suggesting that any circumstance in the culture of first-century Palestine was a hampering or distorting influence upon His teaching. Do we suppose that the scene of God’s earthly life was selected at random?—that some other scene would have served better?
... C. S. Lewis (1898-1963), The World’s Last Night [1960], Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002, p. 97 (see the book; see also Gal. 4:4-5; Gen. 49:10; Mal. 3:1; Mark 1:15; 1 Cor. 2:6-8; Eph. 1:9-10; more at Culture, God, Incarnation, Influence, Jesus, Life, Teach)

Monday, January 30, 2006
Commemoration of Lesslie Newbigin, Bishop, Missionary, Teacher, 1998

O brethren, it is sickening work to think of your cushioned seats, your chants, your anthems, your choirs, your organs, your gowns, and your bands, and I know not what besides, all made to be instruments of religious luxury, if not of pious dissipation, while ye need far more to be stirred up and incited to holy ardour for the propagation of the truth as it is in Jesus.
... Charles Haddon Spurgeon (1834-1892), The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit: Sermons, Passmore & Alabaster, 1856, p. 83-84 (see the book; see also Jas. 5:1-5; Mark 4:13-20; 12:38-40; John 14:6; more at Authenticity, Evangelization, Jesus, Need, Pleasure, Sloth, Truth)

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Commemoration of John Bosco, Priest, Founder of the Salesian Teaching Order, 1888

Much of today’s Christianity is almost completely earthbound, and the words of Jesus about what follows this life are scarcely studied at all. This, I believe, is partly due to man’s enormous technical successes, which make him feel master of the human situation. But it is also partly due to our scholars and experts. By the time they have finished with their dissection of the New Testament and with their explaining away as “myth” all that they find disquieting or unacceptable to the modern mind, the Christian way of life is little more than humanism with a slight tinge of religion.
... J. B. Phillips (1906-1982), Ring of Truth, London: Hodder & Stoughton; New York: The Macmillan Company, 1967, p. 102 (see the book; see also Rom. 16:17-18; 1 Cor. 1:19-23; 3:18-19; 2 Cor. 10:5; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 4:3-4; more at Belief, Bible, Jesus, Life, Master, Myth, Religion, Success, Way)


Christ, our Light

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