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sage thither is by peaceable holiness." Dr. | the universal antagonist, the Quakers assailed Owen, one of the foremost in the first rank of him with their tongues. Who could recognise, divines of his age, had borne much; but these in the gentle and benevolent people who now exhortations to concord he could not bear; and bear that name, a trace of their ancestral chahe taught his monitor, that he who undertakes racter, of which Baxter has left the following to reconcile enemies must be prepared for the singular record? "The Quakers in their shops, loss of friends. It was on every account a when I go along London streets, say, alas! desperate endeavour. Baxter was opposed to poor man, thou art yet in darkness. They every sect, and belonged to none. He can be have often come to the congregation, when I properly described only as a Baxterian-at had liberty to preach Christ's gospel, and cried once the founder and the single disciple of an out against me as a deceiver of the people. eclectic school, within the portals of which he They have followed me home, crying out in invited all men, but persuaded none, to take the streets, the day of the Lord is coming. refuge from their mutual animosities. and thou shalt perish as a deceiver.' They have stood in the market-place, and under my window, year after year, crying to the people,

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souls; and if any one wore a lace or neat clothing, they cried out to me, these are the fruits of your ministry.'

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Had Baxter been content merely to establish truth, and to decline the refutation of error, many might have listened to a voice so ear-take heed of your priests, they deceive your nest, and to counsels so profound. But, "while he spoke to them of peace, he made him ready for battle." Ten volumes, many of them fullgrown quartos, vindicated his secession from the Church of England. Five other batteries, equally well served, were successively opened against the Antinomians, the Quakers, the Baptists, the Millenarians, and the Grotians. The last, of whom Dodwell was the leader, typified, in the reign of Charles, the divines who flourish at Oxford in the reign of Victoria. Long it were, and not very profitable, to record the events of these theological campaigns. They brought into the field Tillotson, Stillingfleet, and Dodwell. The men of learning were aided by the men of wit. Under the nom de guerre of "Tilenus Junior," Womack, the bishop of St. David's, had incurred Baxter's censure for his "abusive, virulent accusations of the synod of Dort." To this attack appeared an answer, entitled, "The Examination of Tilenus before the Triers, in order to his intended settlement in the office of a public preacher in the commonwealth of Utopia." Among the jurors empannelled for the trial of Tilenus, are "Messrs. Absolute," "Fatality," "Preterition," "Narrow Grace, alias Stint Grace," Take o' Trust," Know Little," and "Dubious," the last the established sobriquet for Richard Baxter. But neither smile nor sigh could be extorted from the veteran polemic; nor, in truth, had he much right to be angry. If not with equal pleasantry, he had with at least equal freedom, invented appellations for his opponents;-designating Dodwell, or his system, as "Leviathan, absolute, destructive Prelacy, the son of Abaddon, Apollyon, and not of Jesus Christ." Statesmen joined in the affray. Morice, Charles's first secretary of state, contributed a treatise; and Lauderdale, who, with all his faults, was an accomplished scholar, and amidst all his inconsistencies, a stanch Presbyterian, accepted the dedication of one of Baxter's controversial pieces, and presented him with twenty guineas. The unvarying kindness to the persecuted nonconformist of one who was himself a relentless persecutor, is less strange than the fact, that the future courtier of Charles read, during his imprisonment at Windsor, the whole of Baxter's then published works, and, as their grateful author records, remembered them better than himself. While the pens of the wise, the witty, and the great, were thus employed against

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Against the divorce of divinity and politics, Baxter vehemently protested, as the putting asunder of things which a sacred ordinance had joined together. He therefore published a large volume, entitled The Holy Commonwealth; a Plea for the cause of Monarchy, but as under God the Universal Monarch." Far better to have roused against himself all the quills which had ever bristled on all the "fretful porcupines" of theological strife. For, while vindicating the ancient government of England, he hazarded a distinct avowal of opinions, which, with their patrons, were to be proscribed with the return of the legitimate sovereign. He taught that the laws of England are above the king; that Parliament was his highest court, where his personal will and word were not sufficient authority. He vindicated the war against Charles, and explained the apostolical principle of obedience to the higher powers as extending to the senate as well as to the emperor. The royal power had been given "for the common good, and no cause could warrant the king to make the commonwealth the party which he should exercise hostility against." All this was published at the moment of the fall of Richard Cromwell. Amidst the multitude of answers which it provoked may be especially noticed those of Harrington, the author of the "Oceana," and of Edward Pettit. "The former," says Baxter, "seemed in a Bethlehem rage, for, by way of scorn, he printed half a sheet of foolish jests, in such words as idiots or drunkards use, railing at ministers as a pack of fools and knaves, and, by his gibberish derision, persuading men that we deserve no other answer than such scorn and nonsense as beseemeth fools. With most insolent pride, he carried it as neither I nor any ministers understood at all what policy was; but prated against we knew not what, and had presumed to speak against other men's art which he was master of, and his knowledge, to such idiots as we, incomprehensible." Pettit placed Baxter in hell, where Bradshawe acts as president, and Hobbes and Neville strive in vain for the crown which he awards to the nonconformist for pre-eminence of evil and mischief on earth. 'Let him come in," exclaims the new Rhadamanthus, "and be crowned with wreaths of

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serpents, and chaplets of adders. Let his triumphant chariot be a pulpit drawn on the wheels of cannon by a brace of wolves in sheep's clothing. Let the ancient fathers of the Church, whom out of ignorance he has vilified; the reverend and learned prelates, whom out of pride and malice he has belied, abused, and persecuted; the most righteous king, whose murder he has justified-let them all be bound in chains to attend his inferual triumph to his 'Saint's Everlasting Rest;' then make room, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites, atheists, and politicians, for the greatest rebel on earth, and next to him that fell from heaven." Nor was this all. The "Holy Commonwealth" was amongst the books which the University of Oxford sentenced to the flames which had been less innocently kindled at the same place in a former generation, against the persons of men who had dared to proclaim unwelcome truths. Morley and many others branded it as treason; and the king was taught to regard the author as one of the most inveterate enemies of the royal authority. South joined in the universal clamour; and Baxter, in his autobiography, records, that when that great wit and author had been called to preach before the king, and a vast congregation drawn together by his high celebrity, he was compelled, after a quarter of an hour, to desist, and to retire from the pulpit exclaiming, "the Lord be merciful to our infirmities!" The sermon, which should have been recited, was afterwards published, and it appeared that the passage at which South's presence of mind had failed him, was an invective against the "Holy Commonwealth." After enduring for ten years the storm which his book had provoked, Baxter took the very singular course of publishing a revocation, desiring the world to consider it as non scriptum;-maintaining the while the general principles of his work, and "protesting against the judgment of posterity, and all others that were not of the same time and place, as to the mental censure either of the book or revocation, as being ignorant of the true reasons of them both." We, therefore, who, for the present, constitute the posterity, against whose rash judgment this protest was entered, should be wary in censuring what, it must be confessed, is not very intelligible, except, indeed, as it is not difficult to perceive, motives enough for retreating from an unprofitable strife, even though the retreat could not be very skilfully accomplished.

Two volumes of Ecclesiastical History, the first a quarto of five hundred pages, the second a less voluminous vindication of its predecessor, attest the extent of Baxter's labours in this department of theological literature, and the stupendous compass of his reading. The authorities he enumerates, and from a diligent study of which his work is drawn, would form a considerable library.

Such labours as those we have mentioned, might seem to have left no vacant space in a life otherwise so actively employed. But these books, and the vast mass of unpublished manuscripts, are not the most extensive, as they are incomparably the least valuable, of the produce of his solitary hours.

With the exception of Grotius, Baxter is the first of that long series of writers who have undertaken to establish the truth of Christianity, by a systematic exhibition of the evidence and the arguments in favour of the divine origin of our faith. All homage to their cause, for we devoutly believe it to be the cause of truth! Be it acknowledged that their labours could not have been declined, without yielding a temporary and dangerous triumph to sophistry and presumptuous ignorance. Admit (as indeed it is scarcely possible to exaggerate) their boundless superiority to their antagonists in learning, in good faith, in sagacity, in range and depth of thought, and in whatever else was requisite in this momentous controversy;-concede, as for ourselves we delight to confess, that they have advanced their proofs to the utmost heights of probability which by such reasonings it is possible to scale;-with these concessions may not inconsistently be combined some distaste for these inquiries, and some doubt of their real value.

The sacred writers have none of the timidity of their modern apologists. They never sue for an assent to their doctrines, but authoritatively command the acceptance of them. They denounce unbelief as guilt, and insist on faith as a virtue of the highest order. In their Catholic invitations, the intellectual not less than the social distinctions of mankind are unheeded. Every student of their writings is aware of these facts; but the solution of them is less commonly observed. It is, we apprehend, that the apostolic authors assume the existence in all men of a spiritual discernment, enabling the mind, when unclouded by appetite or passion, to recognise and distinguish the Divine voice, whether uttered from within by the intimations of conscience, or speaking from without in the language of inspired oracles. They presuppose that vigour of understanding may consist with feebleness of reason; and that the power of discriminating between religious truths and error does not chiefly depend on the culture, or on the exercise of the mere argumentative faculty. The especial patrimony of the poor and illiterate-the gospel-has been the stay of countless millions who never framed a syllogism. Of the great multitudes whom no man can number, who before and since the birth of Grotius have lived in the peace, and died in the consolations of our faith, how incomparably few are they whose convictions have been derived from the study of works like his! Of the numbers who have addicted themselves to such studies, how small is the proportion of those who have brought to the task either learning, or leisure, or industry sufficient to enable them to form an independent judgment on the questions in debate! Called to the exercise of a judicial function for which he is but ill prepared-addressed by pleadings on an issue where his prepossessions are all but unalterable, bidden to examine evidences which he has most rarely the skill, the learning, or the leisure to verify, and pressed by arguments, sometimes overstrained, and sometimes fallacious-he who lays the foundations of his faith in such "evidences" will but too com

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monly end either in yielding a credulous, and therefore an infirm assent, or by reposing in a self-sufficient and far more hazardous incredulity.

For these reasons, we attach less value to the long series of Baxter's works in support of the foundations of the Christian faith than to the rest of his books which have floated in safety down the tide of time to the present day. Yet it would be difficult to select, from the same class of writings, any more eminently distinguished by the earnest love and the fearless pursuit of truth; or to name an inquirer into these subjects who possessed and exercised to a greater extent the power of suspending his long-cherished opinions, and of closely interrogating every doubt by which they were obstructed.

In his solicitude to sustain the conclusions he had so laboriously formed, Baxter unhappily invoked the aid of arguments, which, however impressive in his own days, are answered in ours by a smile, if not by a sneer. The sneer, however, would be at once unmerited and unwise. When Hale was adjudging witches to death, and More preaching against their guilt, and Boyle investigating the sources of their power, it is not surprising that Baxter availed himself of the evidence afforded by witchcraft and apparitions in proof of the existence of a world of spirits; and therefore in support of one of the fundamental tenets of revealed religion. Marvellous, however, it is, in running over his historical discourse on that subject, to find him giving so unhesitating an assent to the long list of extravagances and nursery tales which he has there brought together; unsupported as they almost all are by any proof that such facts occurred at all, or by any decorous pretext for referring them to preternatural agency. Simon Jones, a stout-hearted and able-bodied soldier, standing sentinel at Worcester, was driven away from his post by the appearance of something like a headless bear. A drunkard was warned against intemperance by the lifting up of his shoes by an invisible hand. One of the witches condemned by Hale threw a girl into fits. Mr. Emlin, a bystander, "suddenly felt a force pull one of the hooks from his breeches, and, while he looked with wonder what had become of it, the tormented girl vomited it up out of her mouth." At the house of Mr. Beecham, there was a tobacco pipe which had the habit of "moving itself from a shelf at the one end of the room to a shelf at the other end of the room." When Mr. Munn, the minister, went to witness the prodigy, the tobacco pipe remained stationary; but a great Bible made a spontaneous leap into his lap, and opened itself at a passage, on the hearing of which the evil spirit who had possessed the pipe was exorcised. "This Mr. Munn himself told me, when in the sickness year, 1665, I lived in Stockerson hall. I have no reason to suspect the veracity of a sober man, a constant preacher, and a good scholar." Baxter was credulous and incredulous for precisely the same reason. Possessing by long habit a mastery over his thoughts, such as few other men ever acquired, a single effort of the will was sufficient to ex

clude from his view whatever recollections he judged hostile to his immediate purpose. Every prejudice was at once banished when any debatable point was to be scrutinized; and, with equal facility, every reasonable doubt was exiled when his only object was to enforce or illustrate a doctrine of the truth of which he was assured. The perfect submission of the will to the reason may belong to some higher state of being than ours. On mortal man that gift is not bestowed. In the best and the wisest, inclination will often grasp the reins by which she ought to be guided, and misdirect the judgment which she should obey. Happy they, who, like Baxter, have so disciplined the affections, as to disarm their temporary usurpation of all its more dangerous tendencies!

Controversies are ephemeral. Ethics, metaphysics and political philosophy are doomed to an early death, unless when born of genius and nurtured by intense and self-denying industry. Even the theologians of one age must, alas! too often disappear to make way for those of later times. But if there is an exception to the general decree which consigns man and his intellectual offspring to the same dull forgetfulness, it is in favour of such writings as those which fill the four folio volumes bearing the title of "Baxter's Practical Works." Their appearance in twenty-three smart octavos is nothing short of a profanation. Hew down the Pyramids into a range of streets, divide Niagara into a succession of water privileges, but let not the spirits of the mighty dead be thus evoked from their majestic shrines to animate the dwarfish structures of our bookselling generation. Deposit one of those gray folios on a resting-place equal to that venerable burden, then call up the patient and serious thoughts which its very aspect should inspire, and confess that, among the writings of uninspired men, there are none better fitted to awaken, to invigorate, to enlarge, or to console the mind, which can raise itself to such celestial colloquy. True, they abound in undistinguishable distinctions; the current of emotion, when flowing most freely, is but too often obstructed by metaphysical rocks and shallows, or diverted from its course into some dialectic winding; one while the argument is obscured by fervent expostulation; at another the passion is dried up by the analysis of the ten thousand springs of which it is compounded; here is a maze of subtleties to be unravelled, and there a crowd of the obscurely learned to be refuted; the unbroken solemnity may shed some gloom on the traveller's path, and the length of the way may now and then entice him to slumber. But where else can be found an exhibition, at once so vivid and so chaste, of the diseases of the human heart-a detection so fearfully exact, of the sophistries of which we are first the vo luntary and then the unconscious victims-a light thrown with such intensity on the madness and the wo of every departure from the rules of virtue-a development of those rules so comprehensive and so elevated-counsels more shrewd or more persuasive-or a proclamation more consolatory of the resources provided by Christianity for escaping the dan

gers by which we are surrounded-of the habits, and thoughts of mankind;-manifesting eternal rewards she promises-or of the tem- itself most distinctly in those great exigencies poral blessings she imparts, as an earnest and of life, when disguise is the least practicable. a foretaste of them? "Largior hic campis To refer to an external spiritual agency, deather." Charles, and Laud, and Cromwell are termining the will to a wise or a foolish choice, forgotten. We have no more to do with anti- is only to reproduce the original question in pædobaptism or prelacy. L'Estrange and another form what is that structure or Morley disturb not this higher region; but man mechanism of the human mind by means of and his noblest pursuits-Deity, in the highest which such influences operate to control or conceptions of his attributes which can be ex-guide our volitions? The best we can throw tracted from the poor materials of human thought-the world we inhabit divested of the illusions which insnare us—the word to which we look forward bright with the choicest colours of hope-the glorious witnesses, and the Divine Guide and Supporter of our conflict -throng, animate, and inform every crowded page. In this boundless repository, the intimations of inspired wisdom are pursued into all their bearings on the various conditions and exigencies of life, with a fertility which would inundate and overpower the most retentive mind, had it not been balanced by a method and a discrimination even painfully elaborate. Through the vast accumulation of topics, admonitions, and inquiries, the love of truth is universally conspicuous. To every precept is appended the limitations it seems to demand. No difficulty is evaded. Dogmatism is never permitted to usurp the province of argument. Each equivocal term is curiously defined, and each plausible doubt narrowly examined. Not content to explain the results he has reached, he exhibits the process by which they were excogitated, and lays open all the secrets of his mental laboratory. And a wondrous spectacle it is. Calling to his aid an extent of theological and scholastic lore sufficient to equip a whole college of divines, and moving beneath the load with unencumbered freedom, he expatiates and rejoices in all the intricacies of his way-now plunging into the deepest thickets of casuistic and psychological speculation - and then emerging from them to resume his chosen task of probing the conscience, by remonstrances from which there is no escape-or of quickening the sluggish feelings by strains of exalted devotion.

out as an answer to the problem is, that the constitution of our frames, partly sensitive and partly rational, and corresponding with this the condition of our sublunary existence, pressed by animal as well as by spiritual wants, condemns us to a constant oscillation between the sensual and the divine, between the propensities which we share with the brute creation, and the aspirations which connect us with the author of our being. The rational soul contemplates means only in reference to their ends; whilst the sensuous nature reposes in means alone, and looks no farther. Imagination, alternately the ally of each, most readily lends her powerful aid to the ignobler party. Her golden hues are more easily employed to exalt and refine the grossness of appetite, than to impart brilliancy and allurement to objects brought within the sphere of human vision by the exercise of faith and hope. Her draperies are adjusted with greater facility, to clothe the nakedness and to conceal the shame of those things with which she is most conversant, than to embellish the forms, and add grace to the proportions of things obscurely disclosed at few and transient intervals. It is with this formidable alliance of sense and imagination that religion has to contend. Her aim is to win over to her side that all-powerful mental faculty which usually takes part with her antagonist, and thus to shed over every step in life the colours borrowed from its ultimate as contrasted with its immediate tendency;-to teach us to regard the pleasures and the pains of our mortal state in the light in which we shall view them in our immortal existence; to make things hateful or lovely now, according as they impede or promote our welfare hereafter. He is a religious, or in the appropriate language of theology, a "regenerate" man, who, trained to this discipline, habitually transfers to the means he employs, the aversion or the dislike due to the end he contemplates; who discerns and loathes the poison in the otherwise tempting cup of unhallowed indulgence, and perceives and loves the medicinal balm in the otherwise bitter draught of hardy self-denial. Good Richard Baxter erected his four folio volumes as a dam with which to stay this confluent flood of sense and imagina tion, and to turn aside the waters into a more peaceful and salutary channel. When their force is correctly estimated, it is more reasonable to wonder that he and his fellow-labourers have succeeded so well, than that their success has been no greater.

That expostulations and arguments of which almost all admit the justice, and the truth of which none can disprove, should fall so ineffectually on the ear, and so seldom reach the heart, is a phenomenon worthy of more than a passing notice, and meriting an inquiry of greater exactness than it usually receives, even from those who profess the art of healing our spiritual maladies. To resolve it "into the corruption of human nature,” is but to change the formula in which the difficulty is proposed. To affirm that a corrupt nature always gives an undue preponderance to the present above the future, is untrue in fact; for some of our worst passions-avarice, for example, revenge, ambition, and the like-chiefly manifest their power in the utter disregard of immediate privations and sufferings, with a view to a supposed remote advantage. To represent the On his style as an author, Baxter himself is world as generally incredulous as to the reality the best critic. "The commonness and the of a retributive state, is to contradict universal greatness of men's necessity," he says, experience, which shows how firmly that per-manded me to do any thing that I could for suasion is incorporated with the language, their relief, and to bring forth some water to

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cast upon this fire, though I had not at hand a from his more severe pursuits. His faithful silver vessel to carry it in, nor thought it the pen attended Baxter in his pastime as in his most fit. The plainest words are the most studies; and produced an autobiography, which profitable oratory in the weightiest matters. appeared after his death in a large folio voFineness for ornament, and delicacy for delight; lume. Calamy desired to throw these posthubut they answer not necessity, though some- mous sheets into the editorial crucible, and to times they may modestly attend that which reproduce them in the form of a corrected and answers it." He wrote to give utterance to a well-arranged abridgment. Mr. Orme laments full mind and a teeming spirit. Probably he the obstinacy of the author's literary executor, never consumed forty minutes in as many which forbade the execution of this design. years, in the mere selection and adjustment of Few who know the book will agree with him. words. So to have employed his time, would A strange chaos indeed it is. But Grainger in his judgment have been a sinful waste of has well said of the writer, that "men of his that precious gift. "I thought to have ac- size are not to be drawn in miniature." Large quainted the world with nothing but what was as life, and finished to the most minute detail, the work of time and diligence, but my con- his own portrait, from his own hand, exhibits science soon told me that there was too much to the curious in such things a delineation, of of pride and selfishness in this, and that hu- which they would not willingly spare a single mility and self-denial required me to lay by stroke, and which would have lost all its force the affectation of that style, and spare that in- and freedom if reduced and varnished by any dustry which tended but to advance my name other limner, however practised, or however with men, when it hindered the main work and felicitous. There he stands, an intellectual crossed my end." Such is his own account; giant as he was, playing with his quill as Herand, had he consulted Quinctilian, he could cules with the distaff, his very sport a labour, have found no better precept for writing well under which any one but himself would have than that which his conscience gave him for staggered. Towards the close of the first book writing usefully. First of all the requisites for occurs a passage, which, though often repubexcelling in the art of composition, as one of lished, and familiar to most students of Engthe greatest masters of that art in modern lish literature, must yet be noticed as the most times, Sir Walter Scott, informs us, is “to have impressive record in our own language, if not something to say." When there are thoughts in any tongue, of the gradual ripening of a that burn, there never will be wanting words powerful mind, under the culture of incessant that breathe. Baxter's language is plain and study, wide experience, and anxious self-obperspicuous when his object is merely to in-servation. Mental anatomy, conducted by a form; copious and flowing when he exhorts; hand at once so delicate and so firm, and comand when he yields to the current of his feel-parisons so exquisitely just, between the imings, it becomes redundant and impassioned, pressions and impulses of youth, and the tranand occasionally picturesque and graphic. There are innumerable passages of the most touching pathos and unconscious eloquence, but not a single sentence written for effect. His chief merit as an artist is, that he is perfectly artless; and that he employs a style of great compass and flexibility, in such a manner as to demonstrate that he never thought about it, and as to prevent the reader, so long at least as he is reading, from thinking about it either.


The canons of criticism, which the great nonconformist drew from his conscience, are however, sadly inapplicable to verse. James Montgomery has given his high suffrage in favour of Baxter's poetical powers, and justifies his praise by a few passages selected from the rest with equal tenderness and discretion. It is impossible to subscribe to this heresy even in deference to such an authority; or to resist the suspicion that the piety of the critic has played false with his judgment. Nothing short of an actual and plenary inspiration will enable any man who composes as rapidly as he writes, to give meet utterance to those ultimate secretions of the deepest thoughts and the purest feelings in which the essence of poetry consists. Baxter's verses, which however are not very numerous, would be decidedly improved by being shorn of their rhyme and rhythm, in which state they would look like very devout and judicious prose, as they really are.

Every man must and will have some relief

quil conclusions of old age, bring his career of strife and trouble to a close of unexpected and welcome serenity. In the full maturity of such knowledge as is to be acquired on earth, of the mysteries of our mortal and of our immortal existence, the old man returns at last for repose to the elementary truths, the simple lessons, and the confiding affections of his childhood; and writes an unintended commentary, of unrivalled force and beauty, on the inspired declaration, that to become as little children is the indispensable, though arduous condition of attaining to true heavenly wisdom.

To substitute for this self-portraiture, any other analysis of Baxter's intellectual and moral character, would indeed be a vain attempt. If there be any defect or error of which he was unconscious, and which he therefore has not avowed, it was the combination of an undue reliance on his own powers of investigating truth, with an undue distrust in the result of his inquiries. He proposed to himself, and executed, the task of exploring the whole circle of the moral sciences, logic, ethics, divinity, politics, and metaphysics, and this toil he accomplished amidst public employments of ceaseless importunity, and bodily pains almost unintermitted. Intemperance never assumed a more venial form; but that this insatiate thirst for knowledge was indulged to a faulty excess, no reader of his life, or of his works, can doubt. In one of his most remarkable treatises "On Falsely Pretended Knowledge," the dangerous result of indulging

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