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Praise God, Exercise Your Spiritual Sense, and See Reality!
Application ideas for the Christian Science Bible on

“Is the Universe, Including Man, Evolved by Atomic Force?”
December 12—18, 2016

By Craig L. Ghislin, C.S. Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett) / (630) 830-8683

The other day I had the privilege of attending Handel’s Messiah at Principia College. Of course, one of the highlights was the Hallelujah Chorus. Then at church on Sunday it was played as a postlude. Handel’s composition inspires us with awe at God’s glory, majesty, and power. One might feel that the ability of such a composition to inspire us is in itself proof of God’s creative power.

How often do we praise God? When things are going good for us? What about when things aren’t going so well? If we look at life based on the evidence of the material senses, we often run into situations that are threatening, frightening, and ugly. These pictures of evil can make it seem that there is a power opposed to God, or that there might not even be a God at all. What do we have to do to see through these situations?

“Alleluia,” in the Golden Text is a version of the Hebrew, “Hallelujah,” which means, “praise God.” In God’s presence all the inhabitants of heaven give voice to this holy utterance. In context, the battle is over, and the victory over all evil has taken place. That’s significant to us because this exalted praise is stated from the standpoint of perfection. That is the standpoint from which we should begin our prayer. We don’t pray to get God to take over. We pray to recognize that God is already in charge—the only power, and the only lawgiver.

In the Responsive Reading, the song of praise continues calling upon every facet of creation, from the creeping bugs to the tallest mountain; from the oceans to the stars in heaven, to recognize God’s sovereignty, and complete control over all that exists. The psalmist also calls upon every person from young to old, from peasant to king to praise God. There aren’t too many kings on earth any more, but one might say the rulers of today are the researchers and scientists who authoritatively declare mandates and laws based on their findings. But no matter how authoritative a voice they seem to have, the majority of their theories eventually become obsolete and replaced. God’s law is constant, incorruptible, unchangeable, and permanent. Acknowledging God as the only source of being enables us to see through the veil of material belief to the spiritual reality.

Section 1: What’s Behind It All?

How can one begin to describe the magnificence of God? The psalmist turns to the vastness of the universe and to the marvels of nature. Even today, no matter how sophisticated telescopes become, it is impossible for man to account for all the stars in the universe. But the psalmist says God not only knows every single object of His creation, He also knows them by name (B1). Indeed, all creation is precious to God, and His law reigns over all.

The psalmist is clear in his understanding that God has founded all that exists. In modern times, scientists have a pretty good idea of what sets nature in motion. But in ancient times, weather, climate, and the seasons were a mystery. Most people surmise that religion evolved as an effort to explain the origin of things. Philosopher David Hume had a different view. He felt that religious rites and rituals evolved from an effort to appease the gods in order to avert so-called natural disasters. As the scientific age dawned, the need for religious explanations of natural phenomena—beneficial or hazardous—began to recede. The psalmist though, is convinced that the whole of creation, and every single event within it, is ordained, directed, maintained, and sustained by God, and all of it is marvelous. He places the world, and all that is in it in the hands of God (B2). He feels that those who acknowledge God receive special blessing from this acknowledgment. They are “in the light” of God’s ever-adoring face.

The psalmist points out that irrespective of the tumult that sometimes occurs, God’s majesty remains inviolate (B3, PS#1). Abingdon’s Bible Commentary points out that amid all the chaos of the world, there is a spiritual calm that is productive instead of destructive, and not “terror-inspiring” but “peace-bringing.” When there is upheaval around, the tendency is to clench our fists, and try to resolve the issue on our own. But, acknowledging God’s supremacy silences anxiety. Albert Barnes (1798-1870) notes the Hebrew word for “Be still” means to let it fall, and be relaxed, “especially the hands,” and to not put forth exertion, but leave matters with God. Resisting the temptation to get revved up about disconcerting situations is an especially hard thing to do for some. But if we can really trust it all to God, with the confidence that we can safely trust Him, the relief is palpable.

Nothing can surpass the power of God, and to human sense it may seem impossible to fathom, (B4) but God is great, and experience shows a proven record of God’s great acts. Human theories, and human kingdoms, come and go, but God is fixed forever.

Christian Science unequivocally holds that God is the creator of all that exists (S1). But here is the departure from most religious theories—In Science God doesn’t make matter. God creates ideas from the infinitesimal to the infinite. God evolves the universe, but as idea, not object. Everything that is made must forever continue to operate under divine law. Man is the apex of creation, the full expression of Mind. He is God’s reflection, and since God is Spirit and infinite, there is no other power, and all that is made is, and must be spiritual (S2).

Traditional theology believes that everything in nature is the result of God’s command and that God is in nature. But what human belief calls “nature” is a mistaken view of God’s creation. Every single aspect of creation is an idea in Mind. That’s very different from the belief that God is “in” His creation. The textbook says, “Christian Science presents unfoldment, not accretion” (S3). Accretion is defined as “the gradual accumulation of additional layers of matter. Unfoldment is a revealing of what is already there. So in Christian Science, there is no growth from matter (nothingness) into Mind, but rather an appearing of Mind’s idea (S4).

Science and Health states that, “The true theory of the universe, including man, is not in material history but in spiritual development” (S5). This is a clear statement that in Christian Science we have to let go of all material theories, and accept only the spiritual facts of creation.

Section 2: Spiritual Resources

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? Are you grateful? Or do you dread the day? Are you motivated to take on new challenges? Or are you fearful over them? The psalmist makes seeking God his number one priority (B5). He sets aside all else so as not to be distracted by ambition, fear, doubt, anxiety, greed, lust, and so on. In fact, the psalmist put his relationship with God above all things, even his own life. To him life furnished no joy without divine Love’s blessings, and every blessing he might have originates with God.

There had been an ongoing feud between Elijah and the prophets of Baal. There was growing acceptance that the Hebrew God was the God of war, but worshippers of Baal believed rainfall to be governed by their god. Elijah refuted this belief having foretold that there would be no rain but by the word of the God of Israel. After three years, and a series of confrontations with the prophets of Baal, Elijah prays for rain (B6). His servant at first doesn’t see any evidence of rain, but Elijah continues to pray, and tells his servant to look for rain seven times. Seven is a number signifying completion. Creation was finished by the seventh day, and it took seven times around Jericho to topple its walls. To us this indicates that we shouldn’t ever give up if there are no apparent results to our prayers. We pray until the results are seen. “Open thou mine eyes” means to “uncover, disclose, or reveal” the things that are hidden from material sense (B7). This is correlated to the concept of unfoldment—revealing what already exists.

In modern times, we don’t have a battle for meteorological supremacy between tribal gods, but there is a firm belief that the weather is governed not by God, but by climatic and environmental conditions. While it would be irresponsible to wantonly continue to pollute the environment without respect for possible consequences to the climate, Christian Science takes these issues into the realm of prayer. “In Science,” or, “in reality,” the divine Mind governs the universe harmoniously (S6). But that doesn’t mean God intervenes, to override so-called natural, material law. If natural law is primary that would make God’s law secondary, and that is incorrect. Some philosophers say that God’s hand preempting “natural law” would be an impossible contradiction; and Christian Science says, “The miracle of grace is no miracle to Love” (S&H 494:15). God’s power is not a supernatural alteration of natural law, but “an explication of nature” (S7).

Material sense always wants to humanize God (S8), but spiritual sense discerns the fact that God’s law is first, and only, and nothing supersedes it (S9). Once more, we see the idea of unfoldment in Mrs. Eddy’s explanation of spiritual understanding. She defines, “Elias” which is the Greek for “Elijah,” as “prophecy”—and as Christian Science itself—which enables us to see the spiritual reality of things (S10).

Thinking spiritually is exercising our prophetic abilities—our ability to see through the material picture to what’s really going on in Spirit. The more we exercise our “prophetic muscles” the more of reality we will see, and the unfoldment—or revealing—of things as yet unseen takes place (S11). Science and Health states, “Unfathomable Mind is expressed,” concluding, “That is enough!” What else could we want? If we wake up worried, let’s replace it immediately with a desire to see what God is revealing, and a firm acknowledgment that God’s power reigns.

Section 3: God Is the Only Reproductive Power [W’s PS#2]

These words from Albert Barnes nicely expound on citation B8:

“The highest idea that we can form of power is that which is evinced in an act of creation; that is, in causing anything to exist where there was nothing before. Every created thing, therefore, is a proof of the existence of God; the immensity of the universe is an illustration of the greatness of his power. …We are not self-created; we derive our being from him. All that we have and are, we owe to him.”

Often when considering this verse in Psalm 100, people tend to think about the creation of man at “the beginning,” or of mankind in general. But these words are also true for each individual throughout all time. Man does not make man. God does. And as mentioned earlier, God doesn’t make material men any more than He creates a material earth. God creates man as idea, and so man remains. He seems to human sense, to be the product of biological processes, but as we explore the idea of unfoldment in this Lesson, we see that the propagation of each idea is an unfoldment of what’s already there, not a layering on of matter.

Adam Clarke (c.1760-1832) points out that Zacharias and Elisabeth, though “stricken in years” were “both righteous before God” (B10). This is a significant fact. Due to their age it was by all accounts impossible for Elisabeth to conceive a child. Therefore, the conception and birth of John, was the result of prophetic vision, or the seeing of a revealed fact that already existed. In order to exercise this spiritual ability, they had to be spiritually and morally in line with God. Clarke writes they were “upright and holy in all their outward conduct and in civil life… Possessing the spirit of the religion they professed; exercising themselves constantly in the presence of their Maker…” This uprightness allowed Zacharias to perceive the angelic vision, and behold the fruition of God’s idea revealed.

It’s also no coincidence that upon the birth of John, those around her rejoiced with her in praise. This is another ongoing theme of this Lesson. We acknowledge God as the only creative power, and rejoice in it.

Our textbook states the spiritual facts so clearly that it’s hard to miss. The reproductive process is not defined by, or confined to biological conditions. God is the only creative power. “Spirit, God, gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, even as he opens the petals of a holy purpose in order that the purpose may appear” (S13). Here again, we see the concept of unfoldment. Divine Love causes His ideas to multiply (S14). Reproduction “is but the reflection of the creative power of the divine Principle of those ideas” (S15).

There is no question in our Leader’s mind as to the truth of creation. “Whatever reflects Mind… is spiritually conceived and brought forth” (S16). There is no way to say this any clearer. To think that man is made both spiritually and materially is false, and this falsehood can never be made true.

These truths have been proven in my own family with the conception and birth of our son. You can read my wife’s testimony in the December 5, 2016 Sentinel. The scientific facts of creation are fixed. Our Leader’s words are true—that we “can never understand God’s creation while believing that man is a creator” (S17). God’s children—each and every one of them—are “already created.” They will be seen only as we find “the truth of being.” This is the activity of seeing spiritually and beholding what has always been there—this is unfoldment. And yes, there is nothing left to do, but rejoice! (S18).

Section 4: Power Over Sin and Sickness [W’s PS#3]

Jesus was well practiced at exercising his prophetic “muscles.” Knowing God governs all, and that God is the only power, he readily saw through the liar’s temptations in the wilderness, and was returning to Galilee “In the power of the Spirit” (B11). He was unimpressed by any evidence of evil no matter what the form. The general population is largely helpless in the face of challenges to God’s allness. But as we have seen, when we turn to God, we can see through the lies to what is really going on.

When they brought a man suffering from palsy to Jesus, he immediately changed the course of the man’s thinking (B12). Though his friends were doing everything they could to help the man find healing, the man was most likely quite downhearted. The Jews firmly believed that “no diseased person could be healed till all his sins were blotted out” (Clarke). It would be natural for those present to assume the man’s physical condition was primarily due to his sins.

This is something that Christian Scientists sometimes believe too. When they are struggling with a physical problem, and their prayers haven’t been as effective as they’d hoped, they almost always start raking themselves over the coals trying to figure out what is wrong in their thinking. Jesus was totally unimpressed with any belief of a material cause. He set about at once to lift the man out of this pit of depression—“Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” What? Could such a thing be possible? Those looking on didn’t think so. They felt God was punishing this man, and that he deserved his suffering. They were also incensed that Jesus had the audacity to do what was believed only God had the authority to do.

Jesus picked up on it immediately and called them out. The scribes were operating under an outmoded belief that needed correcting, and Jesus not only freed the man of both his belief that sin had power and his consequent inability to master his own body, but he freed the scribes of a false theological belief that restricted their faith. The crowd marveled, and true to one of the themes of this Lesson, they glorified God with praise.

Our textbook declares time and again, that God is “omnipresent and omnipotent” (S19). There is no other power, and Jesus is the one who proved this better than anyone else. Mrs. Eddy was a spiritual seer too. She understood how it was that Jesus could exercise power that was previously thought to be beyond human reach. She saw, as Jesus did, that the real man is “incapable of sin, sickness, and death” (S20). God simply doesn’t allow his creation to go astray. This is the understanding that a “genuine Christian Scientist” applies in his treatment. This spiritually scientific view overrules sin and sickness through the destruction of the false beliefs that erroneously give the body the power to act by itself (S21). There is no need for us to continue believing man is a servant to sin, and a victim of sickness. Sin and sickness are impossible in Science (S22). Seeing “the true idea”—letting spiritual sense reveal what’s already there—enables us to break the “earthly spell.” Truth destroys what we “seem to have learned from error, and man’s real existence as a child of God comes to light” (S23).

Section 5: Power Over the Elements [W’s PS#4 and #5]

In Section 2 we touched on God’s dominion over meteorological phenomena. In this section too, Jesus demonstrates the power of spiritual authority over hazardous weather conditions. Throughout the Scriptures God’s glorious power is praised (B13, B14). As uplifting as the Scriptural stories are, many feel that nothing can stop the laws of nature. That’s where Christian Scientists differ from most. We feel that even the weather is subordinate to the law of God. Jesus proved it several times, as did our Leader.

There have been a number of times in my experience that threatening weather has been met with prayer too. Once my wife and I were on an Interstate in a blinding rain storm. The rain was horizontal in one direction and in a short while the rain was horizontal in the other direction. The sky was almost black in the middle of the day. We drove slowly and continued to declare that God was the only presence and power. Shortly the rain stopped, and the sky lightened. Later we saw on the news that we were in an area where there was a “red cell,” and possible tornadoes. We didn’t see a tornado, but the winds around us were definitely rotating. We were very grateful for divine Love’s protection. To me this experience, and others like it indicate that it is certainly possible to exercise our God-given dominion today as in biblical times.

Mrs. Eddy attributed Jesus’ dominion over the weather to his “divine origin” (S25). To human sense the properties of physics govern meteorological outcomes. But material forces do not govern anything. Everything is governed by God (S26). Wind, wave, earthquake, lightning, fire, and so forth have no intelligence. They are mindless evil (S27). Hazardous conditions seem to be unstoppable, but we can remain solidly grounded on the rock of Christ. Mrs. Eddy foresees mortal mind as leading toward inevitable self-destruction. That’s true even to human sense. In my geology class in college, the professor underscored that all geological phenomena was a product of entropy. Entropy is a lack of order and predictability, and a gradual decline into disorder. The belief is that it takes a huge amount of energy to hold things together, and eventually it all breaks down, hence earthquakes and similar events.

As Christian Scientists, we can pray to overcome these so-called natural catastrophes. God holds the “wind in His fists” and no power can be opposed to God (S28). If harsh conditions do come, we can remain undisturbed right in the midst of it knowing that in reality God is ever present and omnipotent (S29).

Section 6: God’s Power Over Men and Nations

This section opens with another of the texts used in Handel’s Messiah—“Glory to God in the highest” (B17). This angelic song trumpets God’s magnificence, power, and majesty. God’s power governs everything including the relations of men and nations. Only God can inspire peace on earth. God’s man is always peaceful, but as is true throughout this Lesson, it takes spiritual vision to reveal what God has already done. Human theories, kingdoms, and regimes come and go, but God is unchanging, eternal (B18).

This unchanging omnipotence and glory is revealed in Science. Divine Mind relies on no power but its own (S30). It really is a very simple idea. God is the only creator, and there is no power but that which comes from Him (S31). Our Leader says it best, “If Mind was first chronologically, is first potentially, and must be first eternally, then give to Mind the glory, honor, and power everlastingly due its holy name.” So let’s praise God, and exercise our spiritual sense to behold what He has already done.

[Warren’s (W's) PS#1, Cobbey Crisler’s comments on “Be still and know…” in Psalms 46:10 (B3)

“Psalm 46, Verse 10. One of the simplest prescriptions for the human mind to take and one of the most difficult. The human mind resists to the hilt taking this one. “Be still and know that I [am] God.” The racket of thought quieted. It’s a very strong word, “Be still.” Jesus used those words to calm violence in nature [Mark 4:39, B14, PS#5], and also to cast out an unclean spirit [Mark 1:25]. It {an unclean spirit] doesn’t belong in nature or human nature. Certainly it’s not part of the divine nature. So, “Be still” is [a] very emphatic verbal rebuke.”]
Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms”, by B. Cobbey Crisler (See PS#6.)

W’s PS#2, Cobbey Crisler on Luke 1: 5-17, (B10) "Miraculous" birth of John the Baptist

[“We know that Zacharias and Elisabeth had a reputation for being extremely religious and deeply devoted to the monotheism of Judaism. They had one domestic tragedy however. They had no children, and for a woman in that day and age, as well as throughout the Old Testament, it was a tragedy. If one tried to explain it surgically, there may have been a physical obstruction that prevented the normal operation of her reproductive capacity physically. That would be bad enough. But Elizabeth was well beyond the age of child bearing. Biology was completely against anything occurring as of this moment.
Did biology stop such things before when you remember some of the Old Testament precedents? Remember Sarah and the wives of Abimelech. Also Hannah, Rachel and Sampson's mother.
The whole attitude of the time used to be that if a woman could not bear a child and in the early Old Testament, you remember, they did have several wives—she moved all the way down the ladder as far as priority. In fact, her husband was fully justified to separate himself, to divorce her. She was looked down upon by the other wives.
You remember when Sarah realized she could not bear a child, she offered Hagar as Abraham's second wife. And Abraham married Hagar and had a child by Hagar, who is Ishmael.
In those days sterility was entirely blamed on the wife. Consequently the wife took it very much to heart feeling that God was punishing her for something. Do you remember the deep sense of sorrow that Hannah was in when she prayed to have a child (I Sam. 1:1-20)? Elisabeth undoubtedly went through some of that same agony.
Something completely different is now going to occur after centuries of an absence of this sort of intervention. In fact, between the Old and New Testament we have about a four-hundred-year gap. Prophecy had declined to the point where it finally disappeared altogether. Ritual had increased.
The ceremonial law became primary. And ecclesiasticism lost the Spirit that breaks through the inspired Word of the Bible.
In Luke 1:8-11, Zechariah went through the motions of his office in the Temple, burning the incense… The announcement comes in Verse 13. Notice how angels begin their opening lines, “Fear not." Does that sound familiar? Who else said that? In Greek it's phobeomai, the root of our word "phobia." The phrase "fear not" appears 158 times in the New Testament: phobeomai 95 times, phobos 47 times (p. 1275, in The One Volume Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1985). The angel deals with that negative condition of thought right away, "Fear not" or sometimes translated, "Be not afraid.” This changes the mentality which might obstruct the next spiritual move forward…
[“…John the Baptist had been predicted hundreds of years earlier and Zacharias and Elizabeth were to be his human parents. Zacharias, just like Abraham, said, “How can this happen?" In fact, in Verse 18, the question, “Whereby shall I know this?” is word-for-word what Abraham said in Genesis. The angel Gabriel is used as the name of this angel, identifying the character of the angel. Gabriel also appears in the Book of Daniel. Every time Gabriel appears, this angel has a special characteristic. It appears in order to assist human thought so that it will be able to comprehend, understand, and yield to the divine. Gabriel says to Daniel, "I have come that man might understand" (Daniel 9:22)… It’s our link, then, to the intelligent, divine plan. Gabriel begins to give some of that plan to Zacharias (Luke 1:19)…

Elisabeth conceives (Verse 24). In Verse 25 you get some hint about how women felt when they were unable to have a child. She calls it "reproach, “that her having a child "takes away her reproach among men."]
Luke, the Researcher, by B. Cobbey Crisler (See PS#6)

[W’s PS#3, Cobbey Crisler on Matt. 9:2-8 (B12), healing with “good cheer” & forgiveness…

“Verse 2, Chapter 9: ‘We have a man in bed with the palsy.” Can you imagine Jesus going by a man who had been that long without moving and telling him to “be of good cheer”? But there’s nothing Jesus said that he didn’t discern was needed. What that man needed, more than physical movement, was to be of good cheer. Jesus said, “Thy sins be forgiven thee.” Jesus knew at a glance the whole history of a case.”
(Verse 3). The scribes say, “This man blasphemes.” In order to get the healing, he has to eliminate the theological obstruction to healing first.
(Verse 5). He says, “What is easier? To say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?”
(Verse 6). “Because the Son of man does have power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy), Arise, take up thy bed, and he goes.”
Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master: A Tax Collector’s Report, by Cobbey Crisler (PS#6)

[W’s PS#4, Cobbey Crisler on Psalms 107 (B14) on paying your bill by giving praise

[“I'm going to give you an assignment in Psalm 107 because it's a very rewarding one to work with. In the first 22 verses, for example, when you are studying this independently at home, work out the steps that are being given us, the symptoms, the appointment with the Great Physician, the treatment, the complete remedy, and then paying your bill. That happens to be a refrain, "Pay your bill. Pay your bill." In this particular Psalm, in Verse 8, [and Verses 15, 21, 31] "Oh that [men] would praise the LORD [for] his goodness, and [for] his wonderful works to the children of men!" Follow that all the way through and you'll find three different sets of prescriptions and treatments that can be quite relevant to our own experience.”
… The appointment with the Great Physician and then, of course, when you're in front of the Physician, that's face-to-face, seeing God's face, get the treatment, let His face shine upon thee, then the remedy, go out and have the prescription filled. The remedy solves the whole problem, then pay your bill. Follow that through and see what comes.”

Leaves of the Tree: Prescriptions from Psalms, by B. Cobbey Crisler (See PS#6)]

[W’s PS#5, Cobbey Crisler on Mark 4:35-41 (B14) Jesus stills the storm:

[“Verse 36. After he’s through, they took Jesus in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.” No other gospel author tells us that. So, there is something an eyewitness remembers. Peter looked around. He’s a sailor. He cursed and swore like a sailor, too (evidenced later on in Matthew 26:74, when he tried to prove to people that he didn’t know Jesus.) This recollection, “”There were also with him other little ships,” is something that could be dropped out of the account without damaging its integrity. But how wonderful to have it there because it gives an authentic ring that an eyewitness was there.
Verse 37. Then we have the “storm of wind, the waves.”
Verse 38. And another thing that Peter remembers is that Jesus was “asleep on a pillow.” No other gospel tells us that Jesus was asleep on a pillow. Things linger with Peter. Do you remember his roof in Mark 2:4? It took him longer to fix that roof than it took Jesus to heal the paralytic man inside the house.

Now we have another thing that stuck with Peter. In the middle of crisis, there’s Jesus “in the lap of luxury” asleep on a pillow. He was not concerned about that boat or its occupants. There was a great sense of peace, obviously, in the mind of Jesus. But the frantic disciples go and shake him, wake him up. "Don't you care that we're perishing out here?'' They hadn't thought that he was in the same boat. Actually, when one bases it on a different mental concept, he wasn't m the same boat with the disciples.
You know how you and I feel when we're awakened out of a sleep? We usually need a little time to get over the grogginess. Not with Jesus. He immediately arose, and rebuked the wind, just as he did to the man with the unclean spirit in the synagogue. He saw church right out there. So church includes nature. Nature was trying to get outside the definition of church.
Verse 39. Jesus said, "No" and "Yes” to God’s definition of church,
"Peace be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm."
Verse 40. Then he pointed to the problem. The problem was mental. ''You are fearful." That obviously is what needs then to be said "No" to. "You have no faith." Faith is what apparently needs to be said "Yes" to. That calms storms without as well as storms within, showing that the real conquest is that of inner space, not of outer space.”]

What Mark Recorded, by B. Cobbey Crisler (See PS#6.)

[W’s PS#6: You can buy your own transcripts (and audio CDs) of most of Cobbey’s 28 talks at a new website: Email your order or inquiry to, or directly to Janet Crisler, at ]

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