Obrazy na stronie

were collectively termed a Church. It is were called, and few chosen," but left in their allowed that the truth may be held with own chosen ways to their ruin. When, again, greater purity in one Church than in another. the wise and foolish virgins came, as a matter The Church of Smyrna separated from the of duty, to attend the bridegroom, though five company, and protested against the teaching, only had lasting oil, and five had only lamps, of carnal and hypocritical men who had crept there also we have the emblem of a true, in among them. The Church of Philadel-visible Church. When the sower went out to phia had stedfastly kept the commands and sow the word of God, though some fell among institutions of Christ, though exposed to per- thorns, some on a rock, some by. the waysecutions and dangers; and for this purity of side, and but some upon good ground, yet profession both those Churches are praised. each of the classes, the three unprofitable as The Church of Ephesus, on the contrary, well as the one fruitful class, were professing after having been fervent and active, had be- hearers, and so made up a true, ostensible come formal and cold : that of Sardis had people of God. The net cast into the sea, not advanced in proportion to its privileges; which gathered fish of every kind, both bad while that of Laodicea had fallen into luke- and good, describes the kingdom of heaven warm indifference; and for these faults each upon earth, where multitudes are brought to of those religious communities was visited profess Christianity, and live and worship in with a sharp rebuke. It is true, also, that the public congregation as long as they consome Churches may be in their infancy, and tinue in this world; and in such a descriptherefore less perfect than others of longer tion we see the type of a true Church in the standing ; the Church of Crete was in this earth. When a man sowed good seed, and case, where Titus was left to redress the his enemy sowed tares, which sprung up as things that were amiss :-or a Church may from the same root, both being destined to have but lately left the errors of some other grow together unto the harvest, there was faith, and thus old prejudices not having quite another striking emblem of a mingled and worn away, it may be in a tender condition ; perplexing crowd of outward worshippers, such were those Churches of the Gentiles, of but, nevertheless, of a true Church, upon the which the apostle James (Acts, xv. 19) ad- great field of the world. We may suppose vised, that they should not be troubled about the case of a newly discovered continent, circumcision, or the ritual law, lest the “rent which should be peopled by a multitude of should be made worse." And those of riper hitherto untutored men : if the word of God age may be in a very unsettled state, like the should be imported into this colony, and reChurch of Jerusalem (of which James was the ceived by the inhabitants, they would, all of bishop), insomuch that it was necessary for them, after having submitted to baptism, the apostles to hold a council before they which is the seal of profession, rise into and could even, finally, determine the form of constitute a true Church : they would be a Church-government. Or a Church of great “ candlestick” (Rev. i. 20) containing the excellence, like that of Philippi, which had word and Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, bishops and deacons resident among them, and holding forth that light to others, by the might even furnish occasion for admonition preaching of the word, and due administrathat they would continue "sincere and with- tion of the sacraments on the part of the out offence.”

But in each of these cases,--- ministers; and by the profession of their obdifferent and almost opposite as were the ligation to “ livé soberly, righteously, and characters of some--since they join together godly," on the part of the people. to “confess the faith of Christ crucified," Nor will extensive corruptness of practice at there is no one of them, not excepting the all affect the claim of a religious community most degenerate, which is not a true, visible to be esteemed a true Church. Every such Church of Christ.

society must, indeed, purify itself from "all We find in the Scriptures many illustra- false ways," when they are plainly convicted tions of these principles. When the King is to be so by Scripture; but that it must be represented as sending forth his servants into actually and at all times thus pure, or be un" the highways to gather together all, as many churched, is utterly false. Israel was God's as they could find, both bad and good(Matt. people when the sons of Eli, in communion xxii.), to the marriage-supper of his Son, we with them, were sons of Belial, and knew see God calling a Church, in the midst of the not the Lord.” Moses calls them God's mixed multitude that is in the world ; and people even when they were not separated when these “bad and good” that were in- from idolatry, because he had no authority to vited, listened to the invitation and came in to cast them off, before God himself had given the banquet, there we see the avowed pro- them a “bill of divorcement." God, by fessing members of Christ's religion in this or Isaiah, calls the Jews his children and people, any land. Here was a Church, though “ many when they were so far from being separated



from the rulers of Sodom, the rebellious | away.” The whole Church of Corinth was princes, and “companions of thieves," that thus the body of Christ, as well as any the they had for their very teachers men who healthiest member of it: it was “in Christ caused them to err; such rich men as were Jesus,” though too many of its members cruel oppressors ; such inhabitants as that the professed that they knew God, but in works “ earth was defiled" under them; and such a denied him:" for profession brings a Church face of the Church at large as that “the into outward fellowship with Christ's body, as faithful city was become an harlot.” St. it brings a faithless wife into a real relation to Paul salutes the Corinthians as the Church of her husband, or bad servants to a good masGod, saints by calling, and sanctified in Christ ter of a family, or soldiers to their captain, Jesus (at least sanctified by baptismal conse- after they have declared themselves ready cration), at the moment when he was threat- to fight under his colours, and have taken ening to visit them with the "rod" of aposto- their oath, who become thereby, by that mililical severity. The Church of Corinth, at tary sacrament, a true, visible army, though that time, was worse, in some things, than many run away in the day of battle. Such ours can possibly be, having in it carnal men, an army is the Church in a nation, “a comwho both went to law before infidels, and pany of two armies” (Cant. vi. 13), having partook with idols, thereby scandalising the in it countless descendants of Cain, Ham, weak : it had in it envyings and heresies, Judas, Simon the sorcerer, and Demas, whose abuse of the Lord's supper by drunkenness profession makes them members of the true and gluttony, neglect of the poor, and the Church upon earth equally with Abel, Noah, foulest incest; and yet, when he writes to Peter, Philip, and Paul : they go back inthem, even before the incestuous person was deed afterwards, and walk no more with their cast out, he salutes them, collectively, in the faces towards Zion, or they are ejected by a above terms — terms than which none can spiritual sentence of excommunication ; but be conceived stronger or more positive, if their junction to profess the truth constituted every individual member of that communion them legitimate Churchmen, as the profession had been of the most unspotted character. of the same trade, or craft, or science, makes The seven Churches of Asia had in them men members of that society, how ignorant much abominable wickedness, and yet they soever or unskilful they may prove. are crowned with the name of “ Churches The Church of Rome claims as her own all by Christ himself; and if any should imagine baptised persons throughout the world. And that these Churches ought to have separated, she would have a right to set up this claim, we grant that they ought to have been much unless, having herself declined from the better than they were ; and because they

“ faith” as it was

once delivered unto the were so bad, they afterwards felt the heavy saints," she had forfeited her title to be conhand of God: but that the good among them sidered the Catholic Church : but the right should have fallen out with God, and sepa- which she has lost has been transferred to rated themselves from the “ feast of fat that Church which has “ come out from her," things” of his ordinances, because of the refusing to be “partaker of her sins.” God wickedness of those who were in outward“ will have all men to be saved, and to come communion with themselves, this we no where to the knowledge of the truth :" his Church read, and assuredly never shall read, in the must be constructed on a model not less exstatute-book of God's Church, the Bible. tensive. Should some of his zealous, but in

The Church is Christ's body. This may discreet servants wish now to select the wheat be taken two ways ; either for a body of all from the tares, He forbids them to attempt those who be saved—this is the “holy this delicate and difficult task, saying, “ At Church throughout all the world,” the the time of harvest, I will command the “ Church of the first-born, whose names are reapers to make this separation." written in heaven,” and is identical with the imagine that by the door thus widely opened communion of saints ;-- or it may be taken the demons of licentiousness and presumption for the body of those who are in the way of will rush into the Church, let him remember salvation, if they be not wanting to them that the King, who has “ compelled" all, both selves. Even if they are thus wanting to bad and good, to come to the marriage, sees themselves, if they “think scorn of that plea- even now, from an upper window, every unsant land” to which they are invited, and holy intruder, and shall, ere long, put to him shew unequivocal symptoms that they “de- a question, to answer which he shall be spise their birthright,” they are yet true " speechless." “Blessed are they who are members of the body of Christ in this latter called” effectually by their obedience thereto, sense ; for Christ himself says, in words most even as they are now outwardly and truly, remarkable and decisive of the point, “Every " to the marriage-supper of the Lamb." branch in me that beareth not fruit, he taketh

If any


has been impressed upon us from childhood, that in HINTS ON SEARCHING THE SCRIPTURES.

whatever worldly undertaking we be engaged, it is neBy The Rev. C. W. LLOYD, M.A.

cessary for the success of that undertaking, that it be Assistant Minister of St. Peter's, Vere Street, London. pursued with constancy and diligence: the truth of There are very few in the world, we should imagine, this principle we allow; for the disastrous effects of a who would deliver it as their sober judgment, that man contrary course are soon found in the decay of worldly stands in no need of a revelation. The light which we prosperity, terminating not unfrequently in poverty possess by nature is neither full nor clear, nay, it is far

and actual want. It is from a desire to avoid this too feeble, as must be acknowledged by those who think state-impelled, moreover, by the charins of successful at all, to satisfy the mind, and to lead it unto truth. enterprise, by a longing after the conveniences, and not Such was the sorrowful conclusion to which many of least, the importance which worldly wealth affordsthe heathen moralists came, after all their labours to that men are prompted to devote all their time, their discover truth by the light they enjoyed. They found strength of body, and energy of mind, to the accomthemselves inhabitants of a world full of evil and of plishment of, to them, so desirable an end. And, alas ! sorrow—for what purpose they were placed there, they in this respect how the worldly man shames the Chriscould not tell-whither they were going, they knew not tian--the Christian, in his enterprise so far nobler, in -the future was a dark uncertainty, with no light to his hopes so far higher, the end for which he labours gild the prospect; and it was a darkness which filled corruptible crown,'

," " but an incorruptible — the their minds, as they looked into it, with doubt and dis- end of his faith, even the salvation of his soul.” The may. If the need, therefore, of a revelation be ad- service which Christ demands of his followers is no mitted, the duty of studying that revelation when given easy, though it be a delightful service ; it requires selfmust be admitted likewise. But the Christian is not denial, energy, and determination, even as these qualiallowed to arrive at this conclusion by the exercise of ties are deemed essential by the worldly man in his his reasoning faculties alone. In that revelation, the pursuit of temporal good. To “search the Scriptures" necessity of which he deeply feels, which he loves, and is a past of our service as Christians; and the original in which he glories, he finds it a positive injunction

word which is rendered search, denotes diligence, pathat it should be searched : “Search the Scriptures,” tient investigation, determination in our inquiry; and says our Lord--a command of universal application, it is to the absence of the spirit which gives these, that, equally binding upon Jews and Gentiles—“for in them we say again, is to be attributed much of our unprofitis eternal life; and they are they which testify of me.” ableness, much of the darkness and indistinctness of With him, therefore, the duty of searching the Scrip- our religious views, over which we have to deplore. It tures is a pressing and momentous duty. But, with all is impossible to lay down any general rules for the our convictions of the necessity of this exercise, alas! reading of the Scriptures--the rule must vary with the how few comparatively are there who act upon their different dispositions and pursuits of the different convictions : with the multitude of professing Chris- readers; but this we are bold and decided in affirming, tians the Bible is a neglected book, its wells of salva- that when we give ourselves to the study of the Bible, tion an untasted stream. But it is not of these of whom whether it be with the intention of reading it hiswe purpose now particularly to speak, but of another torically or doctrinally, it must have our heart, it and more hopeful class. If there be one complaint must have our attention ; the words of the book, as is more general than another, amongst those of whom we often the case, must not be surveyed only by the eye, might hope favourably as to the sincerity of their re- while the sense of the passage remains undiscovered ligious profession, it relates to the little benefit which or unheeded, while the heart is engaged far away in has resulted to them from the long and continued prac- other pursuits more suitable to its taste. We affirm, tice they have followed of reading the Scriptures. The likewise, that the Scriptures must be read with reguBible is described as a " light unto our feet, and a lamp larity: they must not, for instance, be taken up one unto our paths ;” but they, notwithstanding, “walk in day and read, and then laid aside for a week or more, darkness, and have no light:"--the Bible contains the till the inclination returns to open their pages. No; great remedy for human misery, but little have they this is not the diligence which must be carried into our experienced its virtues; for they are harassed by doubt investigation of Scripture: we want the diligence which and distracting care, even as those who have never men give to the attainment of scientific objects, or to sought an interest in the hopes which it unfolds ; un- matters, of whatever kind they be, of intellectual purholy tempers prevail; pride and a worldly spirit are suit; we want a careful weighing of each passage as for the most part unchecked ; in fact, they find them- we read it; an inquiry into the truth which it contains, selves, to their sorrow, but little influenced by the as necessary for our guidance ; an examination of diffispirit of Christianity, but little benefited by a know- culties as they occur ; a comparing of Scripture with ledge of the salvation which it declares. Now, if it be Scripture. Thus alone we shall become mighty therein; thus in any individual case, it is certain that the fault thus alone have strength and skill to use with effect the rests no where but in the person himself; this unfruit- sword of the Spirit; thus alone will our exertions refulness of his is not to be attributed to any deficiencyceive a blessing, and we become better men and better in the word of God, nor to any unwillingness on the Christians. part of God to render effectual his word in the sancti- 2. Again; is there not with some of us a want of sinfication of the heart. May it not be ascribed to one or cerity in our study of the Scriptures. By this we mean, an other of the causes which we are about to mention? honest and firm determination to abide by the instruc

1. To a want of uniform diligence in the work of read- tions they deliver, to harbour no secret reserve for any ing the Bible. Now we all know, for it is a truth which one sin we find condemned there; but to submit all our


opinions and our whole conduct to be tried by the rules structive error, or in ignorance of any fundamental they contain. There is a species of insincerity, if we truth which the Scriptures reveal.” Let us be conmight use so harsh a term, which is very common, and vinced, therefore, of the absolute necessity of prayerobserved in those who are in the habit of forming their prayer, not only for the Spirit's teaching generally, but religious opinions, and then endeavouring to bring for his teaching in that particular part which may form Scripture in support of them; instead of first applying

the portion of our daily meditation. Indeed, we littl at the source itself of truth, and making that the stand

know the progress we should make in scriptural knoward from which to shape their views. We note this ledge if this were our constant habit ; how we should fault prevalent chiefly among those who have been advance in piety, in heavenly-mindedness; how happy newly awakened to a perception of religious truth. then would each day become; how would the mind They are apt, from having been perhaps the strongest then advert to the season of prayer and meditation on adversaries, to adopt unhesitatingly the religious views the word of God, as to a time of refreshment, of tranof those who have been through grace the means of quillity and joy; prayer would unlock the meaning of their conversion : they conclude too hastily that these, Scripture, and Scripture afford abundant matter for their teachers, must be right; that those who differ

our prayers. from them must be wrong: thus they adopt, without Let us search the Scriptures according to this thought, the interpretations of others ; they go to method ; it will amply repay us for all our trouble ; Scripture with a strong bias on their minds; they pay it will impart a sweetness to every employment, and almost exclusive attention to those parts which seem diffuse somewhat of heaven over all our actions. to favour their own views, to the neglect of those por- And if it be our constant habit to abide by these tions which seem to oppose them; in fact, they are few rules laid down ; if we read the Scriptures with slaves to the opinions of those in whom they confide; diligence, with sincerity, with faith, and with prayer, they reserve not to themselves the right of private

of the happy results that will follow there cannot be judgment, nor the power they possess of comparing the slightest doubt. Then we shall not have to complain Scripture with Scripture, and of applying all they hear of the little advance we make in piety, of sin still unto the touchstone of the word of God. To these how

subdued in our hearts, of coldness and languor of the necessary does the Saviour's injunction appear, “Search

affections, of our being under the dominion of pride, of the Scriptures;" attach not yourselves to any party in unholy passion of whatever kind it be. No; we should religion; believe what the Scriptures affirm ; receive

grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and what they declare, and that alone.

Saviour Jesus Christ ;" we should pass through our 3. Let us inquire, further, if there is not a want of pilgrimage, sorrowful sometimes

, yet alway rejoicing ; faith to accompany our study of the Scriptures ? that

in the cloud and in the storin at intervals, but with the is, a practical belief that all Scripture is given by in

rainbow of hope ever shining in our view, to tell us the spiration of God. This faith was a quality the Israelites

tempest is ceasing, and will, ere long, be succeeded by wanted. “The word preached by Moses did not profit an unbroken calm. We should enjoy the blessed assurthem, not being mixed with faith in them that heard

ance of an arrival ere long in those happy abodes where it." This faith will enable us to perceive and under

dwells the Omnipotent, before whose throne the elders stand, and always consider, that when we take up the

cast their crowns, and hymn their hallelujahs with unScriptures to read, and meditate thereon, then God is ceasing praise, with voices never tiring, with affections speaking to us individually ; he is teaching us his will;

never ceasing—there to join their triumph, to comprehe is holding converse with us, as certainly as in the

hend better than we do now “ the unsearchable riches days of old he spake to Abraham, to Moses, to Joshua,

of Christ,” and to see fully the importance of having Samuel, and all the prophets; and we shall be enabled given heed to his injunction : “Search the Scriptures : to believe that what God has said will surely come to for in them is eternal life; and they are they that tespass, "what he has promised, he will surely keep and

tify of me.” perform."

4. But there is one more necessary attendant upon our searching the Scriptures, which remains yet to

Biography. be noticed, and the absence of which will render all exertion fruitless, and that is prayer. Diligence, sincerity, faith, are the product of prayer ; and so prayer

MERE names are worthless things; but when they may be considered the most important requisite of all;

describe qualities, which really adorned the individual

on whom those names are bestowed, they become it is the only means by which we may arrive at any

honourable titles. The subject of this memoir obprofitable understanding of the word of God. The

tained the titles of the " Apostle of the North," and highest saint and the weakest believer stand equally in the “ Father of the Poor:" how abundantly he deneed of prayer: “Open thou mine eyes,” says the

served them, the facts of his history will shew. Psalmist, “that I may behold wondrous things out of

Bernard Gilpin was born in the year 1517; he was thy law." “Give me understanding, that I may learn

the youngest son of Edwin Gilpin, of an ancient and

honourable family in Westmoreland. His early youth thy precepts.” “Oh teach me thy statutes." We may

was passed at a grammar-school, where he exhibited see, therefore, from his example, the need in which we much talent and industry. Hence he was removed by stand continually of prayer -- prayer for the direction his parents to Oxford ; and, at the age of sixteen, was and teaching of the Holy Spirit, the only infallible in

entered on the foundation at Queen's college, in that terpreter in things divine : and we may be assured, if

University. He was led to direct his attention par

ticularly to the writings of Erasmus, who, at this we be instant therein, "we shall never continue," as time, was notorious for his bold exposure of popish has been observed, " under the influence of any de- errors and priestly usurpation.


seem to

At this carly period of his career, Mr. Gilpin gave arrived at a settled state of religious sentiment: he evidence of the independence of his mind, by exa- urged him, therefore, to entrust the interests of his mining the arguments of Erasmus for himself; an parish to some competent person, and pass one or inquiry which ended in his great admiration of that two years in Germany, France, and Holland; in which writer, and his ultimate adoption, in their fullest ex- countries he would have an opportunity of meeting tent, of Protestant principles. He applied himself and conversing with the most distinguished advocates principally to the study of divinity, read the Scriptures of both views of the question which disturbed his with great delight, and gained a thorough acquaint- mind. Mr. Gilpin resolved to go, but not until he ance with the Greek and Hebrew languages; in which had resigned his living : after doing this he embarked he was much assisted by Mr. Neal, a fellow of New for Holland, and proceeded immediately to Malines College, and afterwards professor of Hebrew at Ox- to visit his brother, who was studying there. The ford.

object of this visit was probably a religious one : his He was soon much noticed by the leading men of brother was a papist at that time; but he soon proved his college as a young man of much ability and great a most earnest champion of the reformation, as was promise; and, after taking the degree of M.A., was evinced by his taking the pains to translate from elected fellow of his college. Mr. Gilpin had been Dutch into English a satirical treatise against popery, bred up in the Romish faith, and to this period con- called “the Bee-hive of the Romish Church." From tinued steady to it: in defence of it, while he resided this place he went to Louvain, where he took up his at Oxford, he held a disputation against Bishop abode for some time, and for which he always exliooper; but soon after King Edward had ascended pressed a great affection. It was a place that afforded the throne, Peter Martyr having come to Oxford, and the very best opportunities for pursuing his objects, having read some divinity lectures there, Gilpin was being full of divinity students and eminent theologians induced to encounter him in argument; but soon on both sides of the question. found the arguments of his opponent too strong for About this time, when his mind was gaining inhim; he generously confessed that he could not stand creased light on the doctrines of the reformers, a prohis ground, and resolved to dispute no more until he posal reached him from Bishop Tonstal (through his had gained sufficient materials with which to skirmish. brother George, at Malines) to accept a valuable benePeter Martyr was much struck with this ingenuous- fice that had just become vacant. The bishop hoped ness in Gilpin, and used to say, that he was not much that he might, by this time, have got the better of his troubled for Weston, Morgan, and Chedsey (Gilpin's religious difficulties : he had done so, but in a direcfellow-disputants), and the rest of those hot-headed tion that placed him much farther off than before from zealots; but " as for that Gilpin,” said he, “ I am the possibility of holding preferment on the principles very much moved concerning him ; for he doeth and on which alone his uncle could bestow it. He declined speaketh all things with an upright heart. The rest the offer therefore, and wrote the following letter to

me to be men who regard their bellies the bishop:most of all, and, being inconstant, are carried away “ My very bonourable good lord, and most worthy with every blast of ambition and covetousness. But ever to be honoured by me, I thought it not fitting to Gilpin, resting firmly upon gravity of manners, and conceal from your lordship that my brother hath writthe testimony of a most laudable life, seemeth to honour ten to me of late, that, setting all excuse aside, I with his own goodness the cause which he under- should give him a meeting at Malines, because he had taketh." He sincerely prayed that Gilpin might something to say unto me touching very necessary “come to the knowledge of the truth ;" and the prayer affairs, which could not be despatched by letters. was heard : for his heart was gradually brought nearer When we were met, I understood that his business and nearer to the full perception of Protestant truth. with me was nothing else but to try me if I could take

Having taken holy orders, he remained a resident upon me a living, while I myself, in the meantime, at Oxford until the thirty-fifth year of his age : about should remain a student in the University. But had which time he was prevailed on by his friends to I known beforehand that this was the cause of my accept the living of Norton, in the diocese of Durham, journey, I should not have thought it necessary to contrary to his own will; for he wished not to be in- interrupt my studies with going to Malines. For now, volved in the cure of souls while his mind remained I confess, I have discussed it with all the learnedin that undecided state. Before he went to reside, he but especially with the holy prophets--and with the was appointed to preach before the king, who was most ancient and most godly writers since the time then at Greenwich. “ The reigning vice of that age," of our Saviour; so that I am fully resolved, so long as its historians inform us, “ was avarice, or, more as I live, never to burden my conscience in this case, properly, rapine. Accordingly, Mr. Gilpin made the nor to keep a living in mine own charge with condiavarice of the times the subject of his sermon before tion to live from it. He answered, that your lordship the king; resolving, with an honest freedom, to cen- had written unto him, that you would gladly confer sure corruption in whatever rank of men he observed a living upon me, and that your lordship and mine it. He therefore very pointedly and faithfully ad- other friends, whereof himself was one, judged me too dressed the clergy, the king, and the magistrates, on scrupulous in conscience in this case. Whereunto I this subject.” This sermon, uncompromising as it answered, if I be somewhat too scrupulous (as I think was, was highly approved of; and Secretary Cecil, I am not), yet it is a matter of that nature, that I had afterwards Lord Burleigh, obtained for him the king's rather be a little too strict than to give my conscience license to become a general preacher during his ma- too much scope therein. Forasmuch as I am once jesty's life.

persuaded that I shall not offend God in refusing such To procure a license of this kind was then by no a living as I cannot be resident upon, so long as I means an easy thing: to none but men of tried ability do not censure evil of other men, as I hope I never and excellence were they granted. Not more than shall; yea, I pray daily for all those who have the twenty-three clergy throughout the whole kingdom care of souls, that they may be able to give an account obtained“ the general license" during the king's unto God of the charge committed untu them, as may reign; among these were Jewel, Grindal, and Cover- be most for the glory of God and the edification of dale. Mr. Gilpin's mind, however, remained uneasy ; his Church. and in this state he applied to Cuthbert Tonstal, bishop “ He told me also, that your lordship would not of Durham, who was his uncle, and well disposed to- confer any charge upon me but such a one as should wards him. The bishop, who was no bigot, and who be served as well, or perhaps better, in my absence felt well pleased with the conscientious uneasiness of than if I were there myself. Whereunto I answered, that his nephew, advised him to do nothing until he had I doubted not but there might be in England a great

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