Christian Science: The Science of Divine Completeness

 

Hendrik J. De Lange, C.S.B.

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Existence is irrepressible! Mankind's struggles may be fierce, its prospects appalling; nevertheless, the will to live cannot be extinguished.

How is this explained? By pointing to mankind's innate conviction that, in the last analysis, the human picture of existence is not final, is not true. The conviction that ultimately life must be worth while living; that existence, instead of being dreary and discordant, must be sparkling and spontaneous. The conviction that existence, instead of being deficient and filled with frustration, must be complete and satisfying. The conviction that this completeness of existence and thereby its goodness must be within one's reach; must be the substance of one's own real and everlasting selfhood. Were this not so, even the faintest longing for life, peace, satisfaction could not have stirred the heart of humanity.

 

The Lecture's Purpose

The purpose of this lecture is to explain that Christian Science is the Science of Divine Completeness, and that this completeness is the true and original status of man as he really is. We are here to experience the enlightenment, the health, the strength, the satisfaction, and serene happiness of divine completeness which is the very opposite of the human.

In order to do this, let us begin by drawing your attention to the fact that mankind has from within its mortal sense no explanation for itself or of itself. Mankind neither knows from where It comes, nor from where its hopes and aspirations arise.

 

The Divergence Between the Divine and the Human

The Nazarene showed the marked difference between the divine and the human: the divine understood as infinite, perfect, eternal, self-existent, all-inclusive, hence complete; the human appearing as finite, imperfect, temporal, destructible, exclusive of almost everything, hence incomplete. The allness of the divine includes its universe. The smallness of the human excludes its universe. Here is the divergence, according to human reckoning. Just as forbidding as the "great gulf fixed" between Lazarus in heaven and Dives in hell.

How to do away with this gulf? How to experience the divine? To provide an enlightening and satisfying answer to these questions has been the purpose of true religion and philosophy. Inevitably, every thinker is confronted with them. He must find an answer. Otherwise he has missed the purpose of life and the reason for his existence.

 

Mary Baker Eddy's Discovery

In the year 1866, a devout and spiritually-minded American woman, known to the world today as Mary Baker Eddy, found the answer. Her previous forty odd years of human existence had been of manifold vicissitudes. She discovered the nature of her real being in her true understanding of God.

The unselfish grandeur and depth of her discernment enabled her to explain this discovery to others. She named it Christian Science. She perceived that she was not dealing with personal opinions objectified in visionary ideals. She was dealing with scientific facts, the divine law, immutable, eternal, and universal in application.

 

Originality of Textbook

The impulse to give her discovery to mankind was irresistible. Hence Mrs, Eddy published a book in the year 1875, called "Science, and Health," It was "hopolessly original," as she discerned (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 35). Misunderstanding her point of view, the critics prophesied its early oblivion. Due to the tireless activities and penetrating insight of the author, a few simple New England people became interested. The book survived. It was revised and made into the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures."

 

Scientific Approach to Bible

The scientific approach of Christian Science has done a great deal for the clarification of the Bible. Recognizing the temporal as unreal and the eternal as real, a scientific discrimination becomes possible when reading the Bible. Wherever a statement occurs not in agreement with God's nature, as defined by Christ Jesus, you are dealing with a human concept, with the relative. You do not accept it as real, but recognize it as something about which to know the truth. Wherever a statement is found revealing the true nature of God, you know it to be true here and now. It is divine, hence actual, and independent of time, place, person. Moreover, you are aware that these statements unfold the truth about yourself, and you accept them as such without any mental reservation.

 

Glossary Impersonalizes Scriptures

The chapter called "Glossary" in the textbook (pp. 579-599), providing the spiritual interpretation of a number of names and expressions occurring in the Scriptures, should be frequently consulted. You will note how everything in the Glossary is impersonally interpreted as states and qualities of thought.

Through this scientific method of study, the Book of books has received a new meaning and interest for countless Christian Scientists. The person of average schooling should be acquainted with the historical background of the Scriptures and its characters. No other compilation has ever exercised such an influence in shaping the Western world. However, the main value of the Bible is in its manifold illustrations of the availability of divine power by which the human yields to the divine.

 

Christian Science Organization

Mrs. Eddy was divinely inspired to start an organization. Its purpose was and is to .help the receptive thought, through mutual aid and co-operation, in showing forth what Christian Science is, and how to live it.

The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, was founded in Boston, Massachusetts. Under the provision of the Manual of The Mother Church, branch Churches of Christ, Scientist, sprang up. They are now existent in many parts of the civilized world. These churches maintain Reading Rooms where you can study and ponder the divine facts of your being in quietude and under harmonious conditions.

Mrs. Eddy is the Founder of Christian Science and the Leader of the Christian Science movement. She lovingly undertook the pioneer work with the manifold pains and scant compensations attached to it. In a letter to The Christian Science Board of Lectureship (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 249), which this Board cherishes as one of its most prized possessions, she declared: "Millions may know that I am the Founder of Christian Science. I alone know what that means."

In her compassionate greatness, she was willing to meet the brunt of the carnal mind's enmity, in order to help and teach her faithful followers how to prevent these trials from becoming their experience. Here you have the outstanding purpose of Christian Science, making it entirely different from the teachings of Christian sects misunderstanding the Master.

 

Right Recognition

Christian Science reveals the divine as the real, the only. This means that you have to reject the human, limited sense about yourself and what appears as your universe, as unreal and illegitimate. You have to identify yourself with the divine, or, better still, recognize the divine as your true status. Problems are solved and also prevented in this way.

In the above-mentioned letter to the Board of Lectureship, this pertinent statement is made just as essential for an audience as for a member of this Board delivering the lecture (p. 248): "Your highest inspiration is found nearest the divine Principle and nearest the scientific expression of Truth."

 

Human Mind's Unreality

In accepting this, the reality, substantiality, and actuality of human thought are gradually receding into the fabulous precincts of mortal imagination.. Truth is discovered to be far more real, substantial, and tangible than ever before. Divine Principle explains all true knowledge as Science. In the monumental wording of the textbook (p. 126): "All Science is divine. Human thought never projected the least portion of true being. Human belief has sought and interpreted in its own way the echo of Spirit; and so seems to have reversed it and repeated it materially; but the human mind never produced a real tone nor sent forth a positive sound."

Particularly may be stressed the statement that human belief misinterprets the spiritual or real. As a result of this, the impression is made that the spiritual universe has a kind of imperfect repetition in a material universe. It is this fallacy, this misinterpretation, which constitutes the tenacious belief that you are living within a material world in which almost everything is wrong, while somewhere afar off is the spiritual universe, good and perfect, in fact, heaven itself.

 

Personal Sense Spells Lack

Moreover, unenlightened by Christian Science, the average person thinks he is a mixture of mind and matter, dominated by the latter. He creates his own insufficiency by objectifying his universe as material or outside of himself. He fancies that he constantly needs something external by the way of matter: food, clothing, housing, persons, and what not. Thereby he habitually identifies himself with lack and incompleteness. The material things he needs appear mostly outside of his volition and dominion. They yield only in part, often reluctantly or not at all, to his cravings for completeness. Thus his attitude is one of striving to get. Conceiving of everything as material and that means limited he thinks in terms of numbers. He imagines himself to live in a universe of persons. To these persons he ascribes similar needs and ambitions as to himself. Owing to his sense of limitation, things appear frequently as being either wrongly distributed or entirely lacking. Fear is felt that he might not have enough. Fear engenders strife. Strife engenders fighting, war, destruction.

 

Nazarene Explains Divine Completeness

By recognizing that the material world with its persons is a misinterpretation, a misapprehension, of the spiritual, the only universe, the liberation from limitation, lack, fear, destruction becomes possible. How to think of oneself correctly, and how to slake one's thirst for satisfaction and completeness, are clearly illustrated by Jesus of Nazareth. He proved that matter was not a factor in healing the sick, raising the dead, feeding the multitudes, stilling the desires of the sinner.

The incident of the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well reveals the method Jesus so consistently and successfully practiced. When you reach your home after this lecture in order to ponder its import, may I request you to read verses 5 to 29 in the fourth chapter of the Gospel according to St. John?

 

Woman at Well Typical

The woman here recorded is typical of the generally accepted theory about man being a human person, craving for completeness. Jesus told her that material things could not ultimately satisfy her. Said he: "Whosoever drinketh of this water [from Jacob's well] shall thirst again: but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Naturally the woman was aroused. She harbored a wrong sense of completeness. The Nazarene quickly discovered it and lovingly, but candidly, rebuked her. She felt the loving intent, took the correction, and became receptive for the true concept of completeness.

Gleaning the truth of Jesus' statements, the woman said, "I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things." She saw that the advent of the Messiah meant the explanation of existence as it really or divinely is, in all its satisfying beauty and beautifying satisfaction.

 

Christ Satisfies

Christ Jesus plainly answered the woman, "I that speak unto thee am he." Understandingly she recognized this "I" was not personal, human, material. It was the Christ, the divine acknowledgment of her own real being. Thus spiritual understanding began to well up within her as the recognition of her divine status, "springing up into everlasting life."

Jacob's well the supposed material source of satisfaction, wealth, health, happiness may have been in far-off Samaria, centuries ago. It may be just as much in any part of our land at the present time. Perhaps you have sometimes felt like the woman a great desire for beauty, love, the joy of exquisite things, the warmth of a refined home, the satisfaction of worthwhile employment.

 

Present-day Application

This may seem almost within your reach, and still it evades you. How can human needs be met? The answer is Christian Science. It reveals the fact that real happiness, satisfaction, usefulness, consist in living spiritually and not materially. The Master explained it. His method may be yours too; yes, right here and now, without any postponement. He was truly scientific by understanding that all correct reasoning should be out from the one cause. The average person accepts the veracity of the material senses. He attempts to build his religious or philosophical system upon these shifting and treacherous sands.

 

Acknowledging One's Divine Nature

Jesus built upon the rock, Christ the recognition of his divine origin and status. He called no man on earth his father. He refused to be identified with the finite, temporal, imperfect. He identified himself with the infinite, eternal, perfect, by calling God his Father, and emphasizing that "I and my Father are one." Everything being basically mental, one can readily understand what an enormous difference this makes. By constantly identifying yourself with the limited and imperfect, you perpetuate these restrictions for yourself and thereby for that which appears as your world.

 

How Jesus Did It

Christ Jesus' method of identifying himself with the divine "I am the way, the truth, and the life" glorified his experience. He overcame that which he humanly seemed to be with his highest idea of perfect, eternal, infinite, complete existence. He called this heaven.

Had the Master accepted as his habitual thought of himself the picture painted of him by his family and friends a loving person going around performing miracles he never could have, accomplished a single one of his works. That which appears as a person con never attain his highest aspiration of divine good, unless tho personal sense yields to the dlvlno, and unless this Incontrovertible fact Is unflinchingly maintained in the face of all argument to the contrary. "No mnn bath ascended up to heaven, but ho that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which Is In heaven."

 

Error's Confrontation with Truth

It is as a result of this spiritual understanding that false suggestions about man as mortal, deficient, and destructible cannot maintain themselves. Error fades out in the presence of Christ, Truth. However, error must first be seen as error, before such confrontation becomes operative. As long as error is permitted to pose as truth, this confrontation does not take place, and error persists in its suggestion.

Here is the answer to the question why prayer for healing the sick has lost its efficacy among many adherents of Christian sects: why they frequent the physicians. The Nazarene practiced healing by prayer with hitherto unsurpassed skill. Mary Baker Eddy restored it in Christian Science.

The Christian Scientist affirms divine completeness by recognizing himself as the full expression of God. Disease is seen to be an utter lie, a baseless suggestion void of all reality. This lie is confronted with the truth of divine wholeness or true health. The darkness of the lie cannot maintain itself in the blazing light of Truth. The lie, the disease, fades out.

Human sense may interpret it as a better, healthier condition of material body. But the Christian Scientist, realizing man's spiritual nature, is not content to regard healing as merely physical. He avoids identifying himself with the mortal and material, and so becomes less subject to the suggestion of disease. Through this spiritually mental attitude, one prevents a recurrence after having been healed in Christian Science.

 

Christian Science Treatment Restorative

The Christian Science prayer or treatment is an acknowledgment of the divine facts of Being. It is restoration, not accretion. That is to say, do not assume that you are a person lacking in good health and praying for it as something to be added unto you. You have to know that divine wholeness, or health, is an idea already included in your true being.

Should the acknowledgment or affirmation of the truth not have instantaneous results, definite denials have to be made of the phases of evil. These denials should be both general and specific. The most sweeping and basic denial is: there is no mortal mind, since God, divine Mind, is All. This clarifies the atmosphere; now Truth can operate directly as the treatment.

The inevitable result of the treatment is a falling away of all sorts of human limitations. Hereby one recognizes the divine more readily and continually as one's own and only being. Far from losing anything worth while, it means a constant unfoldment in satisfaction and completeness. Science and Health (p. 264) describes it as follows: "As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible. When we realize that Life is Spirit, never in nor of matter, this understanding will expand into self-completeness, finding all in God, good,, and needing no other consciousness." Consequently man is understood in the way it is recorded in Genesis 1, as created "in the image of God." In modern language, this man is defined as (Science and Health, p. 475) "the compound idea of God, including all right ideas." Nothing is more needed than the acknowledgment of this satisfying sense of divine completeness.

 

Man's Dominion

"Dominion . . . over all the earth" was not extended, according to the divinely inspired Genesis 1, to a state of thought habitually thinking of itself as a person, with either a small or a large understanding of Truth. Dominion belongs to that state of thought knowing itself in terms of divine completeness the image and likeness of God.

True liberty is the understanding and progressive experience of infinite, divine completeness. Liberty is divine and not human. Liberty, as mankind thinks of it, is more or less negative, that is, freedom from certain restrictions.

 

Mankind Progressive

Notwithstanding all wars and attempts to reverse the course of liberty, the history of mankind shows a progressive picture. There is a spiritual tide running through the affairs of men which cannot be subdued. Progressive unfoldment is based upon a clearer perception of man's spiritual origin.

Wherever certain limitations were outgrown and human codes did not yield, revolution broke the enslaving clasps. The great American Revolution is a shining example. Its spiritually progressive nature is shown in the motives initiating it. In the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence, its justification was based upon the recognition of man's true or divine nature, which implies certain inalienable rights, such as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The spiritual understanding of man's divine nature releases divine power, which alone is able to obliterate outgrown concepts and conditions.

 

United States' World Prominence

The results of this revolution have been far-reaching. The United States of America was born a symbol of certain inner convictions springing from the soil of Spirit, thereby irresistible and deathless. The leading part the United States is playing at present in world affairs is not accidental. It is due to the political revolution of 1776, and the even greater revolution of 1866 when Christian Science was discovered on the same coasts.

 

Christian Science Revolutionary

The culmination of liberty comes in Christian Science, in the recognition of man's entire freedom as "the full representation of Mind" (Science and Health, p. 591). This is truly revolutionary! Mrs. Eddy was already aware of this when the Christian Science movement was still very young.

At the National Convention of Christian Scientists, held in Chicago, in 1888, she made the following statement (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 99): "Science is absolute and final. It is revolutionary in its very nature; for it upsets all that is not upright. It annuls false evidence, and saith to the five material senses, 'Having eyes ye see not, and ears ye hear not; neither can you understand.'"

The revolution inaugurated by the Master's "I and my Father are one," has been rounded out and completed by Christian Science in the bold and entire rejection of all material sense. The mist of. personal sense, hiding real existence, has been lifted. Man is now enabled to behold himself in fullness and immortality, In boundless bliss and fetterless freedom, in the Science of Divine Completeness.

 

Impartiality of Divine Law

The Christian Science revolution is set apart. It favors every step in line with the divine. It is impartial. It is never meant to benefit certain classes or certain nations at the expense of others. This revolution is from within. It operates by permitting the divine to assert itself as one's own being. The human is forced to yield. The power involved is divine law, not human will. If anyone should try to use this divine power for a human selfish purpose, it would slip from his grasp. The selfish motive would sever his identification with the divine.

The divine does not discriminate between mine and thine. By lifting the veil of divisibility and limitation covering the earth and constituting its human sense, the glory of infinity, individuality, oneness, fullness, appears, what humanly seems an ally or an enemy is equally blest. The bane of lack is lifted. Dissatisfaction dwindles away. Fear loses its frightfulness. Divine assurance waters the arid wastes of wavering and unrighteous judgment.

 

Dictators Usurp Principle

Wherever man's divine origin is not acknowledged, liberty is not understood and cannot prosper. The Christian Science textbook (p. 84) points out that "tyranny, intolerance, and bloodshed, wherever found, arise from the belief that the infinite is formed after the pattern of mortal personality, passion, and impulse." Consider man merely as a cog in the machine of material production, and you have slavery. No ideology, however cleverly and mesmerically advocated, can change that! In dictatorships, attempting to usurp the place of imperative Principle, there is no liberating revolution; there is enslaving reaction. Where these two clash is total war. Christian Science brings the antidote for total war with total revolution.

 

How to Meet Total War

Total war has come to this age. How to meet it is the question. And the answer is: in exactly the same attitude as the Christian Scientist has met successfully other forms of evil, such as disease. Disease, being discordant and destructive, has no place or recognition in the cause of creation. For that reason there is no disease, for it has no truth, no law, no mind, no reality. It cannot exist even as a false suggestion. Nowhere can it be accepted as a reality or a necessity. This divine knowledge, or Christ Science, operates as the law of instant, full, permanent obliteration to false suggestions, under whatever disguise they may attempt to parade. Whether a suggestion claims to be little by calling itself a disease of a person, or big by pretending to be a war between nations, its basis being nowhere, such pretensions should have no power to frighten or mesmerize. And these pretensions should be emphatically and understandingly denied, and thus annulled.

 

True Safety Explained

Thousands upon thousands of soldiers are nowadays in danger of death, according to human standards. It is the outcome of the generally accepted theory that the universe is material and man destructible. It is scientifically correct to say, and it has been proved, that by not admitting the material picture of existence, and simultaneously recognizing man's all-inclusive divine completeness, protection from danger of bombing has been realized in many instances.

True safety is not to be found in digging into the earth. If you really wish to help your loved ones serving in the armed forces, you should not continue thinking about them merely as good, as brave human boys. It is not sufficient to try to surround them as human persons with good thoughts. As long as you think in terms of persons, there persists the danger of destruction. Listen to Mrs. Eddy's counsel, of many years' standing, but more compelling now than ever (Miscellaneous Writings, pp. 308, 309): "I earnestly advise all Christian Scientists to remove from their observation or study the personal sense of any one, and not to dwell in thought upon their own or others' corporeality either as good or evil."

 

How to Think of Soldier Son

Parents, think of your boy as the son of God, as the divine manifestation, forever existing, full, free, dwelling securely within "the city [consciousness] of the living God." Man's true selfhood abides in this city unassailable, never invaded, never bombed. Explosions are only possible in a world of three dimensions, in a realm of limitation.

Whatever you love of your human son, whatever you admire as his goodness, bravery, joy, indicates divine ideas, spiritual qualities, though misinterpreted and objectified in a mortal person. Really, these ideas exist forever in divine completeness your true status. Your knowledge of this, being divine and not human, reveals the operation of God's law protecting and succoring whatever humanly seems normal, right, and essential concerning you and your boy. Here is "the peace of God, which passeth all [human] understanding."

 

Peace Movement's Failure

The international peace movement has signally failed. Not because of lack of good will and Christian endeavor. It has failed because it was fighting war as a formidable reality, Of course, such an attitude is unavoidable until Christian Science reveals the unreality of all evil. This is the point which seems to be most reluctantly admitted the fact of the unreality of evil. All merely human efforts fail for lack of divinely scientific insight. They are made in the wrong direction, Every human attempt to accomplish good, however noble and praiseworthy, is vitiated by the misconception that one is dealing with an outward material reality.

Christian Science shows the paramount necessity of reducing evil things and conditions to false suggestions. Thus they come within the scope of the Christian Science treatment. Evil claims to be material, personal, actual, in order to evade the operation of the treatment which, avowedly, is spiritually mental.

 

Salvation

The Christian Science movement is the only true peace movement. Its efficacy depends upon the willingness and understanding of its members to live their real selfhood. Herein one finds salvation for oneself and for that which appears as one's world. The Christian Science textbook defines "salvation" thus (p. 593): "Life, Truth, and Love understood and demonstrated as supreme over all; sin, sickness, and death destroyed."'

Salvation does not take place from the basis of persons or mortal beings. In fact, as long as one thinks in terms of persons to be saved, one is excluding oneself from the presence of Life, Truth, and Love. The belief of mortals or persons is divisibility, antagonizing the oneness, infinity, and indivisible divine completeness which man reflects.

 

The Blue Glass

The use of human comparisons for explaining spiritual facts is always more or less futile. In this connection, however, it may be helpful to draw your attention to the following illustration. Looking through a blue glass, everything and everybody appears blue. To get rid of the blue, one has to remove the blue glass. "Delusion, sin, disease, and death arise," according to the textbook (p. 301), "from the false testimony of material sense, which from a supposed standpoint outside the focal distance of infinite Spirit, presents an inverted image of Mind and substance with everything turned upside down." Here is the illuminating explanation of Mrs. Eddy, showing that the difficulty is in a wrong approach.

Instead of conceiving existence through the finite and fallible human senses, one must behold it in terms of Truth. Then existence is discerned as it really, divinely, is, not externally, but inclusively. Thus one finds that man, as divine manifestation, is universal. When this is seen, all will appear increasingly well, because all is well!

It is never a question of how many persons are knowing the truth; although your knowing of the truth and thereby living it humanly may appear as more people seeking the truth. It is always the question how well, how consistently, how fully, how infinitely, how lovingly, you are knowing the truth as Truth's manifestation.

 

Truth's Realization Dynamic

In the sacred clarity of your spiritual being, in that crystal sense that all existence is Truth manifesting itself in all its majesty and glory, things really happen. That is to say, in this mighty inner understanding, all is well, and even the argument that something is wrong has not any more to be silenced because it simply does not exist. God's law operates in all-encompassing directness and unfailing efficiency. This is Love's reign and realm.

 

Love's All-Encompassing Oneness

Your understanding of Love, revealing that you are its manifestation, is the most precious prize. Love, as nothing else can, shows the indivisible oneness of Being. Here is no fear, no friction, no strife, no destructlon. Only Love makes it possible to encompass existence as one glorious whole.

He who declared, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," truly understood the oneness of existence, because he truly loved.

When asked which was the great commandment in the law, Jesus' said: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. . . . And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

 

Scientific Lawfulness

In order to be a scientific exponent of the Master, it is not any more enough to think of oneself and of. others in terms of loving persons trying to obey God. Thanks to Mary Baker. Eddy, we have a higher concept of these two commandments on which "hang all the law and the prophets." These commandments mean that you shall definitely realize that your heart, your Soul, your Mind, is actually God, divine, infinite Love; therefore you are Love's full expression. And whatever appears as the goodness of your neighbor is a divine idea included in your real selfhood the manifestation of God's infinite completeness.

This is far from belittling anything which is humanly observed to be good and loving. Turning from the human, its longings and frustrations, to the spiritual acknowledgement of the divine as one's conscious being, you experience much more of what in human terms may he called goodness, love, satisfaction. However, the divine is really something far more stable, practical, enduring the steadily increasing experience of God, of divine Love expressed.

 

Lecture's Infinite Scope

Our experience here is exemplifying this very Love in manifestation. Let us view it as it really is, from the standpoint of Truth itself. In so doing, the active and releasing power of the message will be felt far beyond the short span of a mortal hour, far beyond the limited scope of an audience.

By realizing that the divine ideas expressed here are the fuller experience of our own being, liberated from the evil suggestions exposed as unreal, we, in the sacred assurance of divine completeness, are fulfilling our life-purpose, and are thereby the blessing bountiful for all mankind.

 

[Published in the Red Bank (New Jersey) Register, April 22, 1943.]

 

 

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