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    “And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20.SGOM 90.1

    The term “Reformation” is not here used as applying exclusively to the work and times of Luther. The Reformation from the darkness and the errors of Romanism then commenced, but was not then consummated. It progressed powerfully in the days of the Wesleys, and remains yet to be perfected.SGOM 90.2

    We have no sympathy with the course of those who quote history and offer the opinions of uninspired men to prove points of doctrine. But when we come to facts of existence we must appeal to history. And more especially are we warranted to do so in this case, for history attests the continued existence of that which the Scriptures inform us should continue to exist. Now we are brought to the question, Is there evidence that the gifts of the Spirit have existed and have been manifested in the church since the days of the apostles? The field is a very wide one. Testimony to almost any extent might be given; but we shall content ourselves with giving a few cases which we believe to be well authenticated.SGOM 90.3

    Milner, speaking of the third century, says:-SGOM 90.4

    “Though the miraculous dispensations attendant on Christianity form no part of the plan of this history, I cannot but observe on this occasion how strongly their continuance in the third century is here attested. Pionius affirms that devils were ejected by Christians in the name of Christ; and he does this in the face of enemies, who would have been glad of the shadow of an argument to justify their bitterness, resentment, and perfidy.”-Milner’s Church History, p. 143.SGOM 90.5

    Cyprian speaks thus of the gifts of the Spirit:-SGOM 91.1

    “Hence, an ability is given with sober chastity, uprightness of mind, and purity of language, to heal the sick, to extinguish the force of poison, to cleanse the filth of distempered minds, to speak peace to the hostile, to give tranquillity to the violent, and gentleness to the fierce, to compel, by menaces, unclean and wandering spirits to quit their hold of men, to scourge the foe, and by torments bring him to confess what he is.”SGOM 91.2

    Upon which Milner remarks:-SGOM 91.3

    “The testimony here given to the ejection of evil spirits, as a common thing among Christians, even in the third century, deserves to be noticed as proof that miraculous influences had not ceased in the church.... .Indeed, the testimony of the fathers in these times is so general and concurrent that the fact itself cannot be denied without universally impeaching their veracity. We may safely, therefore, infer that such things were frequent among Christians.”—Church History, Am. Ed., p. 254.SGOM 91.4

    Mosheim, speaking of the progress of Christianity in the third century, says:-SGOM 91.5

    “Among the causes which belong to the first of these classes we do not only reckon the intrinsic force of celestial truth, and the piety and fortitude of those who declared it to the world, but also that special and interposing Providence, which, by such dreams and visions as were presented to the minds of many who were inattentive to the Christian doctrine, or its professed enemies, touched their hearts with a conviction of its truth, and a sense of its importance, and engaged them without delay to confess themselves the disciples of Christ. To this may also be added the healing of diseases, and other miracles which many Christians were yet able to perform by invoking the name of the divine Saviour. The number of miracles, however, we find to have been much less in this than in the preceding century; nor must this alteration be attributed only to the divine wisdom which rendered miraculous interpositions less frequent as they became less necessary, but also to that justice which was provoked to diminish the frequency of gifts, because some did not scruple to pervert them to mercenary purposes.”-History, vol. i. p. 78.SGOM 91.6

    This diminution of the frequency of the gifts in the third century is just what might have been expected in view of the “falling away” of which Paul prophesied, and which was then fully in progress; of the “grievous wolves” who should enter the church, the “false prophets” and the “damnable heresies,” of which Peter wrote, and whose “pernicious ways” so many followed by which the Spirit of God was grieved away. But we cannot see the reasonableness of the historian’s conclusion that the gifts were “less necessary” under such circumstances. Inasmuch as they were given “for the perfecting of the saints, for the edifying of the body of Christ,” they were really more necessary, but less frequent because of the unbelief and worldliness of the church.SGOM 92.1

    Much more reasonable than the conclusion of Mosheim is the answer of Mr. Wesley to the question, “If you allow miracles before the empire became Christian, why not afterward?” He replied as follows:-SGOM 93.1

    “Because after the empire became Christian, a general corruption of both faith and morals infected the Christian church; which, by that revolution, as St. Jerome says, ‘lost as much of her virtues as it had gained of wealth and power.’ And this very reason St. Chrysostom himself gave in the words you have afterward cited: ‘There are some who ask, Why are not miracles performed still? Why are there no persons who raise the dead, and cure diseases?’ To which he replies that it was owing to the want of faith, and virtue, and piety in those times.”-Wesley’s Works, p. 700.SGOM 93.2

    Again, of the fourth century Mosheim speaks thus:-SGOM 93.3

    “But I cannot, on the other hand, assent to the opinions of those who maintain that, in this century, miracles had entirely ceased; and at this period the Christian church was not favored with any extraordinary or supernatural work of a divine power engaged in its cause.”-Church History, vol. i. p. 105.SGOM 93.4

    In the time of the Reformation it was the belief that the Spirit of God was yet in the church, in its gifts, and in special answers to prayer. D’Aubigne says:-SGOM 93.5

    “John Huss did more; prophetic words issued from the depths of his dungeon.”SGOM 94.1

    Huss saw the Reformation about one hundred years before Luther came, and was, says D’Aubigne, “the John Baptist of the Reformation.”SGOM 94.2

    Martin Luther not only believed in the direct interposition of God by the power of the Spirit, but he recorded the following remarkable case:-SGOM 94.3

    “A woman at Isenack, lying very sick, had endured horrible paroxysms, which no physician was able to cure; for her indisposition was directly the work of the devil, and an unnatural thing, occasioned by devilish frightenings, insomuch that she fell into a faint swooning, and thereupon had four paroxysms, each enduring the space of three or four hours; her hands and feet bended in the manner of a horn. She was chill and cold, her tongue rough and dry; her body, by reason of the disease, was much swelled; she, seeing Luther, who came to visit her, was much rejoiced thereat, raised herself up and said, ‘Ah! my loving father in Christ, I have a heavy burden upon me. Pray to God for me;’ and so she fell down into her bed again—whereupon Luther fetched a deep sigh and said, ‘God rebuke and command thee, Satan, that thou suffer this his creature to be in peace!’ Then, turning himself to the standers-by, he said, ‘She is plagued of the devil in the body, but the soul is safe and shall be preserved. Therefore let us give thanks to God and pray for her.’ And so they all repeated aloud the Lord’s prayer. After which Luther concluded with these words, ‘Lord God, Heavenly Father, who hast commanded us to pray for the sick, we beseech thee, through thy only beloved Son, that thou wouldst deliver this thy servant, from her sickness and from the hands of the devil. Spare, O Lord, her soul, which together with her body thou hast purchased and redeemed from the power of sin, of death, and of the devil.’ Whereupon the sick woman said, Amen. The night following she took good rest and the next day was graciously delivered from her disease and sickness.”-Table Talk, p. 359.SGOM 94.4

    Zwingle, of Switzerland, the great reformer, was seized by the plague called “great death,” which was sweeping off its thousands; and he was so near gone that he was supposed by some to be dead; but he was miraculously restored in answer to prayer. D’Aubigne says:-SGOM 95.1

    “The believers cried to God night and day, earnestly entreating that he would restore their faithful pastor. The prayer was answered, and the news was soon flying everywhere that Zwingle had been snatched from the brink of the grave.”-Hist. Ref., vol. ii. p. 331.SGOM 95.2

    Mr. Wesley records the following case of the healing of a Mrs. Jones, an eminently pious woman:-SGOM 95.3

    “She had various physicians but still grew worse and worse; still perceiving herself to be no better, she left them off. She had a continual pain in her groin, with such a prolapsus uteri as soon confined her to her bed. There she lay two months helpless and hopeless; till a thought came one day into her mind, ‘Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me whole! Be it according to thy will!’ Immediately the pain and the distress ceased. Feeling herself well, she rose and dressed herself. Her husband coming in and seeing her in tears, asked, ‘Are those tears of serious joy?’ She said, ‘Of joy!’ on which they wept together. From that hour she felt no pain, but enjoyed perfect health. I think our Lord never wrought a plainer miracle, even in the days of his flesh.”-Wesley’s Journal, vol. iv. p. 748.SGOM 95.4

    All who are not deeply prejudiced will acknowledge that there was much consecration among the early Methodists, and that the Spirit often witnessed to their work with great power. There were among them many godly persons of strong faith, and the fruits of faith were often manifested according to the gracious promises of the Saviour. The following case of curing of blindness is copied from the life of Bramwell:-SGOM 96.1

    “William Greensmith, son of Thomas Greensmith, of Watnall, near Nottingham, when about nine years of age, was severely afflicted with a scrofulous humor in his eyes, so that he was unable to bear the light, even with a bandage upon them. Mr. Bramwell was then in Nottingham circuit, and went in his regular turn to preach in Mr. Greensmith’s house. On one of these occasions he remained all night; and previous to his departure the next morning, when his horse was brought to the door, he asked where the boy was who had sore eyes. Mrs. Greensmith replied that he was in a dark room behind the door. He wished him to be called out. He came and stood near Mr. Bramwell, who put his hand on the boy’s head, and looked upward as if in ejaculatory prayer. He then went out leaving the child standing, while the latter, as if conscious of some important change, pulled off his bandages, looked out of the window, and asked if Mr. Bramwell was gone. On perceiving that his eyes were perfectly healed, all the family were completely astonished. He is now about thirty years of age, and has never since had any complaint in his organs of sight.”-Memoir, p. 157.SGOM 96.2

    The following is one of many cases of healing by faith, recorded in Wesley’s Journal:-SGOM 97.1

    “In returning to Canterbury I called upon Mr. Kingsford, a man of substance as well as piety. He informed me, ‘Seven years ago I so entirely lost the use of my ankles and knees that I could no more stand than a new-born child.... . I could not move from place to place, but on crutches. All the advice I had, profited me nothing. In this state I continued about six years. Last year I went on business to London, then to Bristol and to Bath. At Bath I sent for a physician; but before he came, as I sat reading the Bible, I thought, Asa sought to the physicians and not to God; but God can do more for me than any physician. Soon after I heard a noise in the street; and rising up found I could stand. Being much surprised I walked several times about the room, then I walked into the square, and afterward on the Bristol road; and from that time I have been perfectly well; having as full a use of all my limbs as I had seven years ago.’”-Wesley’s Journal, vol. iv. p. 682.SGOM 97.2

    The reader must not suppose that these things transpired without awaking some opposition in the minds of the unconsecrated. Prejudice was aroused which often manifested itself in bitter reproaches. To the charge of egotism and self-righteousness Mr. Wesley made the following reply, which we would commend to the consideration of all who think there is a lack of humility in claiming answers to the prayer of faith:-SGOM 97.3

    “Now let the candid man judge, does humility require me to deny a notorious fact? If not, which is vanity? to say I by my own skill have restored this man to health, or to say that God did it by his own almighty power?”SGOM 98.1

    Bishop Hall, speaking of the good offices which angels do to God’s servants, says:-SGOM 98.2

    “Of this kind was that marvelous cure which was wrought upon the poor cripple at St. Madern’s, in Cornwall; whereof besides the attestation of many hundreds of the neighbors, I took a strict examination in my last visitation. This man, for sixteen years together, was obliged to walk upon his hands, the sinews of his legs being so contracted. Upon following an admonition in his dream to wash in a certain well, he was suddenly so restored to his limbs that I saw him able to walk and get his own maintenance. The name of this cripple was John Trebble.”SGOM 98.3

    Wesley remarks: “And were ‘many hundreds of the neighbors,’ together with Bishop Hall, deceived in so notorious a matter of fact? or did they all join together to palm such a falsehood on the world? O incredulity! what ridiculous shifts art thou driven to! what absurdities wilt thou believe rather than own any extraordinary work of God!”-Wesley’s Journal, vol. vi. pp. 565, 566.SGOM 98.4

    Wesley’s Journal, Dec. 20, 1742, says:-SGOM 98.5

    “When I came home they told me the physician said he did not expect Mr. Meyrick would live till the morning. I went to him, but his pulse was gone. He had been speechless and senseless for some time. A few of us immediately joined in prayer (I relate the naked fact); before we had done, his sense and his speech returned. Now, he that will account for this by natural causes has my free leave; but I choose to say, This is the power of God.SGOM 99.1

    Saturday, 25. The physician told me he could do no more. Mr. Meyrick could not live over the night. I went up and found them all crying about him; his legs being cold, and (as it seemed) dead already. We all kneeled down and called upon God with strong cries and tears. He opened his eyes and called for me; and from that hour he continued to recover his strength till he was restored to perfect health. I wait to hear who will either disprove this fact, or philosophically account for it.”-Vol. iii. p. 275.SGOM 99.2

    Mr. Bramwell’s biographer writes:-SGOM 99.3

    “I was once attacked by a violent pleuritic fever, when all around me despaired of my life. Many of our kind friends visited me in my affliction; and almost unceasing supplication was offered up to God for my recovery. But all prayers appeared to be without effect till Mr. Bramwell came home out of the circuit. He immediately came to see me, and on entering the room was quite astonished at beholding such a woeful change in my appearance. He thought. I had all the marks of a speedy dissolution upon me; and giving me a look of the greatest sympathy he raised my head a little higher by means of a pillow. He then went to the foot of the bed and began to pray to God in my behalf. His faith seemed to gain ground as he proceeded. He continued his intercessions with the greatest fervency; and, in agony, asked in submission to the will of God, that I might be restored. The Lord heard and answered his servant’s prayers; for I immediately experienced such a sweet tranquillity and melting of soul, as I am unable to describe. From that moment my recovery commenced, and I was soon strong enough to resume my ordinary occupations.”-Memoir, pp. 163, 164.SGOM 99.4

    Mr. William Carvosso, who was sixty years a class-leader in the Wesleyan Methodist connection, gives an account of the healing of a sick woman as follows:-SGOM 100.1

    “The next morning, a friend asked me to visit a woman who was sick, and offered to accompany me. When we arrived at the house, we were informed she was very ill. I went up stairs and found her, to all appearance, on the borders of eternity. Finding that she had been three years a member of the society and knew nothing of salvation by the remission of her sins, I felt no little concern for the salvation of her soul.... I explained to her the plan of salvation.... ‘And now,’ said I, ‘it is a duty which God requires of you to believe in Jesus Christ and in the truth of his promises.’ While I was thus speaking to her she was seized in a strange manner; and it appeared to me and those present that she was dying. But in a moment or two she lifted up her hands and eyes to heaven, and cried out, ‘Glory be to God, I am healed! I am healed!’ And for some considerable time she kept on repeating, ‘The Lord has healed me, body and soul.’SGOM 100.2

    “The news of this was soon conveyed to her neighbors, who rushed into the chamber in such crowds that I was afraid the beams would give way. But she continued saying, ‘The Lord has healed my body and my soul.’ We then kneeled down to praise the Lord for what he had done; and while engaged in prayer, two of those who came in were awakened and began to pray for mercy. With these distressed souls I was occupied four hours before I could leave the place. The next day Mr. Sibley, from Truro, came there to preach, and dined with us at the friend’s house where I lodged; when the friend who had been with me the preceding day related the circumstance to him. Having expressed a desire to see the woman, I went with him to the house; and to our very great astonishment, we found her down stairs, sitting by the fire. I visited her several times after this, and found her not only happy in God, but confirmed in her restoration of health. I have seen many of the mighty works of the Lord, both in convincing and converting sinners, but never before saw the body healed as well as the soul.”-Memoir of Carvosso, pp. 73-75.SGOM 101.1

    The memory of Hester Ann Rogers will ever be precious to the Christian world. In her journal of June 29, 1782, she says:-SGOM 101.2

    “This day the Lord instantaneously removed a rapid mortification in my dear mother’s limb, in answer to prayer. The doctor having given his opinion that in a few hours it would be fatal, I flew to my almighty Refuge, and felt I had power with God, through faith in that promise-‘The prayer of faith shall save the sick.’ And when in half an hour I looked again at the wound, all the bad symptoms were gone; and the same doctor, standing astonished, said no danger now appeared. I could not forbear weeping aloud for joy and gratitude, praising the God of my life.”SGOM 101.3

    “June 10, 1794. I had a peculiar season in wrestling prayer with my God this night, on account of my dear little Mary. The great weakness of her limbs for three months past, and her seeming total inability to walk, has caused much pain to my dear husband as well as myself. It appears to me I had used every possible means in vain. But this night I had power to cry unto my God, and tell him, ‘Thou art the same yesterday, to-day, and forever: thou art my God! Thou hast said, Call upon me in the day of trouble, and I will hear thee. Thou hast healed cripples, made the lame to walk, yea, raised even the dead in answer to praying faith! Lord, hear me now; stoop to my request; let the child’s feet and ankle bones receive strength; give power to walk, and let me soon know thou hast heard my prayer;’ and I had power to believe it would be done; my soul was filled with the divine presence.SGOM 102.1

    “Thursday, the 12th. I already see in the child an answer to my prayer. She is greatly strengthened in her limbs. How good, how faithful, how condescending is the Lord! We may-I may, like Abraham, like Moses, like Elijah, ask and obtain.”—Journal, pp. 116, 119, 120.SGOM 102.2

    What has been said of the early Methodists may be said in truth of the people known as Christians. I mean those who are now bearing the nick-name of New Lights. Elder William Kinkaid was a well-known writer, and minister, and missionary of that church. He said:-SGOM 102.3

    “There have been in the bounds of my acquaintance many miraculous cures performed in answer to prayer. I have been acquainted with several of the people who were healed, conversed on the subject with the persons who were present at the time, and some of these cures I have seen myself. I as firmly believe that Elder David Haggard had the gift of healing, as that the apostles had. He has fallen asleep, but there are many alive who saw him perform cures, and what I saw myself puts the matter beyond doubt with me. I state these facts in honor to God, who, in every age of the world, has shown a willingness to bless his creatures in proportion to their faith and obedience.”-Bible Doctrine, p. 341.SGOM 103.1

    “Discerning of spirits” was set down by the apostle as one of the “gifts of the Spirit” which was “set in the church” according to the promise. The following instance of the exercise of the gift of discernment is recorded in the Memoir of Mr. Bramwell, whose sincerity, piety, and Christian graces were questioned by none:-SGOM 103.2

    “Mr. Bramwell was by no means of a censorious disposition; yet he had the gift of discerning the spirits and dispositions of men in a remarkable manner. I have frequently known him to detect impostors who have stepped forth to exercise in various meetings. On one occasion when he was desired to visit a dying man I went with him. We beheld the wretched object without a shirt to his back. The few rags which hung on him scarcely covered his body. His habitation was a damp, miserable cellar, and a woman was attending him who was represented to be his wife. For some time after our entrance into this dwelling, Mr. Bramwell remained silent. At length he exclaimed, ‘All is not right here! I am clear there is something amiss in this place!’ Then turning to the woman he said, ‘This man is not your husband. You never were married to him, but for several years you have been living together in sin and wickedness!’ His word went with power to their hearts. They both wept exceedingly, acknowledging the charge to be true, and began to entreat the Lord to have mercy upon them.”-Memoir, p. 155.SGOM 103.3

    Other instances in his life might be given, but we omit them for the sake of brevity, promising to refer to facts which have occurred in the present generation as notable as any recorded in the times of the reformers, Luther and Wesley.SGOM 104.1

    The following cases of deliverance from enraged enemies are recorded by John Wesley and Dr. Adam Clarke. While the facts cannot be disputed we must look upon them as direct interpositions of divine grace, and as truly miraculous as any case recorded in the New Testament:-SGOM 104.2

    “The circumstances that follow I thought were particularly remarkable: 1. That many endeavored to throw me down while we were going down hill on a slippery path to the town; as well judging, that if I was once on the ground I should hardly rise any more. But I made no stumble at all, nor the least slip, till I was entirely out of their hands. 2. That although many strove to lay hold on my collar and clothes, to pull me down, they could not fasten at all: only one got fast hold of the flap of my waistcoat, which was soon left in his hand; the other flap, in the pocket of which was a bank-note, was torn but half off. 3. That a lusty man just behind, struck at me several times with a large oaken stick; with which if he had struck me once on the back part of my head it would have saved him further trouble. But every time the blow was turned aside, I know not how; for I could not move the right hand nor the left. 4. That another came rushing through the press, and raising his arm to strike suddenly let it drop and only stroked my head, saying, ‘What soft hair he has!’ 5. That I stopped exactly at the Mayor’s door as if I had known it (which the mob doubtless thought I did) and found him standing in the shop, which gave the first check to the madness of the people. 6. That the very first men whose hearts were turned were the heroes of the town, the captains of the rabble on all occasions, one of them having been a prize-fighter at the bear garden.... . By how gentle degrees does God prepare us for his will! Two years ago a piece of brick grazed my shoulder. It was a year after that the stone struck me between the eyes. Last month I received one blow, and this evening two; one before we came into the town, and one after we had gone out; but both were as nothing; for though one man struck me on the breast with all his might, and the other on the mouth with such force that the blood gushed out immediately, I felt no more pain from either of the blows than if they had touched me with a straw.”-Wesley’s Journal, vol. iii. pp. 297, 298.SGOM 104.3

    Dr. Clarke’s account is as follows:-SGOM 105.1

    “A missionary who had been sent to a strange land to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God, and who had passed through many hardships, and was often in danger of losing his life through the persecutions excited against him, came to a place where he had often before, at no small risk, preached Christ crucified. About fifty people who had received impressions from the word of God, assembled. He began his discourse, and after he had preached about thirty minutes, an outrageous mob surrounded the house armed with different instruments of death, and breathing the most sanguinary purposes. Some that were within shut the door; and the missionary and his flock betook themselves to prayer. The mob assailed the house and began to throw stones against the walls, windows, and roof; and in a short time almost every tile was destroyed, and the roof nearly uncovered, and before they quitted the premises, scarcely left one square inch of glass in the five windows by which the house was enlightened. While this was going forward a person came with a pistol to the window opposite to the place where the preacher stood (who was then exhorting his flock to be steady, to resign themselves to God, and trust in him), presented it at him and snapped it, but it only flashed in the pan! As the house was a wooden building, they began with crows and spades to undermine it and take away its principal supports. The preacher then addressed his little flock to this effect: ‘These outrageous people seek not you but me; if I continue in the house they will soon tear it down, and we shall all be buried in the ruins; I will, therefore, in the name of God, go out to them, and you will be safe.’ He then went toward the door: the poor people got around him and entreated him not to venture out, as he might expect to be instantly massacred. He went calmly forward, opened the door, at which a whole volley of stones and dirt was that instant discharged; but he received no damage. The people were in crowds in all the space before the door, and filled the road for a considerable way, so that there was no room to pass or repass. As soon as the preacher made his appearance, the savages became instantly as silent and as still as night; he walked forward, and they divided to the right and to the left, leaving a passage about four feet wide, for him and a young man who followed him to walk in. He passed on through the whole crowd, not a soul of whom either lifted a hand or spoke one word, till he and his companion had gained the uttermost skirts of the mob. The narrator, who was present on the occasion, goes on to say: ‘This was one of the most affecting spectacles I ever witnessed; an infuriated mob without any visible cause (for the preacher spoke not one word), became in a moment as calm as lambs. They seemed struck with amazement bordering on stupefaction; they stared and stood speechless; and after they had fallen back to right and left to leave him a free passage, they were as motionless as statues! They assembled with the full purpose to destroy the man who came to show them the way of salvation; but he, passing through the midst of them, went his way. Was not the God of missionaries in this work?‘“SGOM 105.2

    By reference to the “Life of Adam Clarke,” it will be seen that the “missionary” above referred to was no other than Clarke himself. From page 209 we take the following:-SGOM 107.1

    “During the whole time of his (Clarke’s) passing through the mob there was a death-like silence, nor was there any motion, but that which was necessary to give him a free passage. Either their eyes were holden that they could not know him; or they were so overawed by the power of God that they could not lift a hand, or utter a word against him. The poor people, finding all was quiet, came out a little after, and passed away, not one of them being either hurt or molested. In a few minutes the mob seemed to awake as from a dream, and finding that their prey had been plucked out of their teeth, they knew not how, they attacked the house afresh, broke every square of glass in the windows, and scarcely left a whole tile upon the roof. He afterward learned that the design of the mob was to put him in the sluice of an over-shot water-wheel, by which he must necessarily have been crushed to pieces.”SGOM 107.2

    It would seem that no one could read this without being struck with the conviction that an angel of God accompanied this humble servant of the Lord as he passed through the midst of the enraged mob who sought his life. What but the power of God could have held them thus in quiet, peaceably making way to him whose life they came to take, until he passed beyond their reach? He who said, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” always means what he says, and always fulfills his promises. He never changes, and it is as safe to trust him now as it ever was.SGOM 108.1

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