GIFTS BESTOWED BY GOD
You will find tonight very practical, and yet I assure you, very, very spiritual. Christianity has to be continually redeemed from secular history, for Jesus Christ is the human imagination. As Paul tells us in his First Letter to the Corinthians:
“We have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed upon us by God.”
Now tonight we’ll show you one of these gifts if you really understand who Jesus Christ is. I tell you, He is your own wonderful human imagination. That is Christ. It comes as a shock when you first hear it if you were raised in the tradition as the speaker was. I was raised in a Christian home; and naturally, like hundreds of millions of Christians, we were taught it as a secular history: a little boy who was born of a woman who knew not a man, and that his father was God, and he was the son of God; and that was the story as I was taught it. But I was searching and seeking from the time I think I can remember.
I believed the story as Mother taught it to me. I did believe it. And I can’t tell any one the shock that was mine; and sometimes, maybe, I wondered if it would not have been better to turn back, like Israel in the desert, and go back into slavery; but I couldn’t, any more than they could. They had to keep moving towards the Promised Land. For when you are disillusioned, having been taught the story as we all have been taught it, to discover that he is not something in history, — he is nearer than your breathing, — in fact, he can’t even be “near”; he is your very Self; he is your own wonderful human imagination, — it comes as quite a shock.
I can tell it best by telling you a story. The year was 1933. Roosevelt was elected. I had been in this country for eleven years. I never really wanted to go back to Barbados. My parents came up in that year, and they pleaded with me to come to Barbados and join the family – become a member of the family; and I declined. I said, “No.” I saw them off at the boat; and strangely enough, as they sailed, — and they were on the deck and I waved “goodbye” to them, — a peculiar feeling came over me, and I had a desire that I had never had in eleven years to go to Barbados. I had just said “goodbye” to them, and said “No” to their request. They would have paid all expenses and brought me back, and everything would have been perfect.
Then from the boat, I went to my old friend Abdullah. He was born, so I am told, in Ethiopia. He was a black man, raised in the Jewish faith, but really understood Christianity as few men that I ever met understood it. He understood the Law, not the Promise. He understood the Law. So, I went to him and I told him the feeling that came over me: that I wanted to go to Barbados. I had just waved at my parents, and a peculiar feeling possessed me; and he said to me, “You are in Barbados.”
Well, that did not make sense to me. I am standing in his place on 72nd Street, off Central Park West; that’s where he lived. He lived at 30 West 72nd Street. And here I am in his place, and he’s telling me that I am in Barbados! He didn’t explain what he meant.
So, as the days went by, I said to him, “Ab, I am no nearer to Barbados than I was when I spoke to you.”
And he said to me, “If you are in Barbados, you cannot discuss the means of getting to Barbados. You must actually live in Barbados in your imagination as though you were there – just as if – and view the world from Barbados. If you sleep in Barbados and view the world from Barbados, the means will appear, and you will go to Barbados. But as far as I am concerned, you are already in Barbados, because you desired it with intensity. All you had to do was simply to enter it; and you enter it now in New York City even though it is two thousand miles across water, — and you aren’t going to walk across water; but you enter Barbados and view the world from it. If you see the world from Barbados, then you have to be in Barbados.”
He did not explain to me then, but I learned later that man, being all imagination, is wherever he is in imagination; and imagination is the God-in-man. That is the Eternal Body of the Lord Jesus Christ, and “all things are possible to Him,” and “by Him all things were made, and without Him was not anything made that was made,” – that what is now proven was once only imagined. These things I did not know then. He simply talked in the over-all picture.
But I did my best, and I slept mentally in Barbados in my mother’s home. I looked at the world, and saw it from Barbados. I looked at the world, and saw it from Barbados. I saw New York City two thousand miles to the north of me – northwest, for we are at a certain Latitude 13 North; New York is 42 North. We are the 59th Longitude; New York is the 74th; so I saw it northwest, as I could imagine it.
I heard the tropical noises. We call this land tropical. It really isn’t tropical in the really true sense of the word. When you go into the tropics, it’s something entirely different, and I was born in the tropics – almost on the Equator. It’s an entirely different odor. Sunsets go like this: you look at the sun, and the sun disappears suddenly. A ball of red light becomes green. You are looking at the sun, and suddenly, in the matter of a split second, you are seeing a green sun. You are seeing the complement of red. So, we have no twilights in Barbados. The sun goes down rapidly from a red ball to a green ball, and you see the green ball.
So, the whole atmosphere differs. Well, I put myself into that, and felt that my mother and father were in their room, and that my brothers – those who were not yet married – were in the house. It’s a huge, big, old home of ours. And there I “slept.”
This was, now, late October. When it came to the end of November, I said to Ab, I said, “Ab, I am no nearer Barbados.”
He said, “You are in Barbados.” Then he turned his back on me, walked towards his bedroom, and slammed the door, which was not an invitation to follow him, if you understood Ab. He was teaching me a lesson, the lesson of faith.
If I am actually sleeping in Barbados, no power in the world could interfere with my journey to Barbados. This is, now, late November. The last ship out of New York City sailing for Barbados was the 6th of December. I wanted to get there by Christmas, and so I could not raise the question any more. But on the morning of the 4th or the 3rd of December I got a letter from my brother Victor. I did not ask him or any member of my family to bring me to Barbados.
He wrote a letter and justified the contents in this manner: He said, “We are, you know, a large family” – nine brothers and a sister. “We have never been united around our Christmas table at Christmas since we were a family,” – for there was an interval between my sister Daphne and the last two boys of eight years. By that time, my oldest brother had left for Demerara* in British Guiana; and by then, when he came back, my brother Lawrence went off the McGill (?) to study medicine, and we were always moving around. But this time, every one was present but Yours Truly. And he said, “I am enclosing a small, little draft” — $50.
But in 1933 when there were seventeen and a half million unemployed, and we didn’t have two hundred and four million citizens, we only had a hundred and twenty-odd million, — it was an enormous thing. If you were old enough to know it, may I tell you? It was really a horror! Well, I was numbered among the unemployed; so he knew that I could come if the terms were there, that I had my passage paid; so he enclosed a $50 draft to
buy a suit. Well, you could buy a suit in those days for $12, $10. You could buy a pair of shoes, McCann shoes, for $3.00.
So, I went down to the steamship company because in the letter he said, “I’ve notified the Company to issue you a ticket; then with the $50 you buy what you need for the trip, and then sign the chips; and when the ship comes in, I will meet the ship and pay all the things that you have incurred, all the debts.”
So, when I went down to the ship company, they said to me, “I am sorry, Mr. Goddard, but I do not have a first-class passage for you. We can accommodate you third class. You have the first-class accommodation for meals, and you can have all the other areas of first class; but for sleeping, you have to move into the third class.”
I said, “That’s perfectly all right with me. I’ll take it.”
I went back to Abdullah and I told him. Do you know what he did when I said, “I am going third class to Barbados, but I have the accommodations of the first for the daylight hours?” *Georgetown
He said, “Who told you you’re going third class” You are already in Barbados, and you went first class.” Again, he closed the door on me.
I went down to the ship the morning it sailed, on the 6th of December; and the ticket agent said to me, “Mr. Goddard, I have good news for you. We have a cancellation, and now you can go first class, but you will share it with two others. There are three in the cabin.”
“That is perfectly all right with me.” So, I went down first class.
Abdullah said to me, “You know, Neville, when you return from Barbados, you will have died!” He never explained a statement of that nature. “You will have died.” I am coming back from Barbados, but I will have died!
He spoke in these cryptic manners. Well, I did. I went down to Barbados. I was a strict vegetarian. I had not eaten one piece of meat or fish or fowl in seven years. No smoking, no alcohol, no sex; disillusioned in my first marriage, and the whole thing was simply — I became a celibate. I came back from Barbados – and in Barbados, I was the same being that I was when I arrived, to the annoyance of my family, for they made all their money in groceries – selling meat, fish, alcohol – everything; and I am enjoying a trip based upon
their efforts, and yet I am not taking what they are offering. On my way north, I did everything I had not done in seven years.
He was right: I “died.” That state of consciousness died. That’s what died. Neville is the Immortal Being, — that is, the Inner Man is immortal. I was locked in a state. The state I departed from: so, as far as I am concerned, I died to that state.
You see, life is nothing more than a hunger. This whole vast world is a hunger, and there are unnumbered states of consciousness from which you and I can view the world to satisfy that hunger. So, we get out of one state into another state; and we do it in the same way I went to Barbados: sleeping physically in New York City, in my imagination I slept in Barbados; and my brother was moved to send me a ticket, and justified it by telling me the story of the family who had never been together at Christmas, to make it easy for me to say, “Yes,” for I did not request it. I did not ask it. He simply wrote the letter and enclosed a little draft, and told me to go and get my ticket.
So, I was there for three months, and I came back; and then, I tell you, to discover the creative power of the world was my own imagination was an awful shock! It was easier in the past to believe in an external Christ – much easier to believe in an external God to whom I could pray; and then if He didn’t answer I would say, “Well, all right; so He doesn’t want me to have it.” I could justify failure. But then I had no escape, and that is a very difficult thing. I couldn’t turn to the left or the right and praise or blame any one, for I had found the Cause of the phenomena of life, and that Cause was my own wonderful human imagination, and that is what Scripture calls “God” and calls “Jesus Christ.”
Then I would read it differently. I would go to the pictures with him. I recall the day I took him to see a certain picture; and he said, “Neville, tell me, did you get anything out of it?” So, I began to interpret it for him. It was the Count of Monte Cristo. He said, “Interpret it for me;” and when I did, he was so excited and so thrilled that I had learned the lesson that everything is teaching us the same lesson in this world: there is nothing but God in the world.
So here, I one day took up the 14th chapter of John, and I interpreted this for him, because he would have me rise, and not more than, say, a dozen or twenty of us came to the meetings; he taught Hebrew. That’s where I learned my Hebrew. And when I took the 14th of John and began to explain it in this manner, now again the excitement that came over him!
“Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God. Believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there you shall be also.”
And I explained it to him in the lines of what I have just told you about my trip to Barbados. I prepared a place for this outer man that could do nothing but be anchored by his senses. Here I was, living in a basement on 75th Street, and my senses dictated the fact that I had no money – but none, and unemployed. I couldn’t possibly get to the Bronx without borrowing the nickel, and yet I wanted to go to Barbados! The Inner Man is my imagination, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, and “All things are possible to Him,” if I can believe in Him.
So, now, I go and prepare a place for you, Neville, — the outer man. So, I slept in Barbados, and I saw the world as I would have to see it, were I in Barbados; and in a short six weeks the means came, and I made the most heavenly trip to Barbados, spent three months in Barbados, and had a lovely trip back, bringing back adequate sums to tide me over for a while – all a gift of my family, which I did not solicit. So, I then discovered who the Christ of Scripture was. He was my own wonderful human imagination.
But by tradition, I fought along the way, and went back to the traditional concepts and the belief in my senses and the belief in the evidence of my senses, and what they dictated, until finally you break through from the traditional “god” to the God of experience. I experienced God on that trip, because who did it? I did it all in my imagination, and it came to pass; and if “by Him all things are made, and without Him is nothing made that is made,” and I know exactly what I did, — well, then, I’ve found Him. I found Him of whom Moses in the Law and the Prophets wrote; but I found Him and I still called
Him “Neville!” I didn’t call Him by another name. The Bible calls Him Jesus Christ,” which means “God the Savior.” I found the Savior, and He was my own wonderful human imagination; and that was an awful shock, because here is a normal man, with all the weaknesses of the world, all the limitations of the flesh, — things I had done of which I was not proud and possibly still capable of doing; and yet that was God!
So, your own wonderful human imagination, I know from experience, is God. That’s the Christ of Scripture.
Now, imagination plus faith is the stuff out of which we fashion our world. We are told that “without faith it is impossible to please Him.” Read that in the 11th chapter, the 6th verse, of the Epistle to the Hebrews. “Without faith, it is impossible to please Him.”
Now, what is faith? It’s described in that same 11th chapter. Well, let me give you another definition:
Faith is the subjective appropriation of the objective hope.
I hoped to go to Barbados. I subjectively appropriated it. Physically, I was in New York City on 75ht Street. Subjectively I was in Barbados. And then to prove that I was in Barbados, I simply looked at the world. If I could see the world as I would have to see it were I in Barbados, then I subjectively appropriated that state.
If I sleep in New York City and still know I am in New York City, I will remain there forever. There’ll be no change in my world. I had to subjectively appropriate my objective hope. My objective hope was to be in Barbados.
Now, whatever one has as an objective hope, they must now subjectively appropriate it and sleep in that subjective appropriation. You want to be – and you name it. All right, you simply subjectively appropriate it. And that was the beginning of my transition from a” god” of tradition to a God of experience. And when I came back to New York City, friends of mine who knew me in the days when I never touched alcohol or smoking, — I never acquired smoking. I tried it, and I couldn’t seem to get it. Alcohol I got!
Other things like, — well, you name it; all these things I do, I trust not to excess. Sometimes to excess, yes; but nevertheless, I did it, to discover it didn’t hurt me at all concerning my spiritual advancement. Yet they accused Him – the Human Imagination – of being a glutton and a drunkard and a friend of sinners, — one who loved the company of harlots and tax collectors and all the things in the world that people shun; and here was the Human Imagination in the midst of it all, trying to show every one WhoHe-Is: that He is actually buried in man, and He will rise one day in man as the man in who He rises.
And when it did happen to me in ’59, what a shock! But it was back in 1933 that this thing actually began to unfold within me, when old Ab would not explain what he meant when he said to me, “You are in Barbados.”
So, if you said to me right now, I would like to have a hundred thousand dollars,” if I were now telling you as he would tell it to me, I would have to say, “You have it. And if you do not sleep tonight in the possession of it, you are not doing what I have told you.”
If you want anything, you simply sleep in it as though you had it. The secret of feeling as if it were true – that’s the secret. And so, “We receive not the spirit of the world,” – the spirit of the world is doubt. The body of doubt is Satan. And as Blake so clearly and beautifully stated it:
“Oh, My Satan, thou art but a Dunce,
And dost not know the Garment from the Man.”
[from Epilogue to the Gates of Paradise] It was the “garment” limited by its five senses, limited by what Reason dictated to it.
At night when I go to sleep, Reason tells me, “You are now sleeping at 1025 Carol Drive;” and Reason is telling me what I have in the world. But suppose I don’t like what I seem to have and Reason dictates? I must dare to assume that I am that which I would like to be, and “sleep” in that state, rather than the state that my reason and senses dictate. If I dare to do it, I know from the experience of 1933 that it works.
I have taught that law to everyone who will listen to me. Many will listen, yes; many have proved it. But we are creatures of habit; and when all day long and every moment of time Reason is dictating, we tend to go back to what Reason dictates and what the senses dictate. But the Being who is speaking in you is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He’s your own wonderful human imagination. So, He is telling you, “Be not afraid. Let not your heart be troubled, for in my Father’s house there are many mansions.”
“Mansions” means states of consciousness, and these are all for the purpose of satisfying the hungers of a man. I hungered for Barbados. It was a state to satisfy that hunger. The day will come there will be a hunger that not a thing in this world can satisfy but an experience of God. That’s a state of consciousness. There is a hunger for money that nothing can satisfy but money. There’s a hunger for fame, and nothing but fame, — trivial as it is, not a thing will satisfy it but fame as you understand fame.
So, these are all states; so you enter into the state of the hunger and view the world from it and satisfy your hunger. If you are now known as you want to be known, then the hunger to known is satisfied. If you want to be anything, then you view the world from that state; and the world viewed, although subjective, confirms what you are actually seeing and experiencing subjectively, — well, then, your hunger has been satisfied.
Now, having done it, in my own case a bridge of incidents was built without my conscious reasoning mind. I didn’t write my brother’s letter. I didn’t buy the $50 draft. I didn’t notify the shipping company to issue a ticket to me. All that came by mail. He was influenced
two thousand miles away by my assumption. I dared to appropriate subjectively my objective hope.
So, take your hope – your objective hope, and then appropriate it subjectively, and “sleep” in it as though it were true. If you dare to sleep in it as though it is actually true, in a way that you do not know, that bridge of incidents will appear, and you will be compelled to walk across that bridge to the fulfillment of the subjective appropriation. But when you get to the end, it is now the fulfillment of the objective hope.
This is what, this night, I would share with you. I tell it from experience; and then, from then on, when I have found a crisis in my life, I have applied it. I do not live by it every second of time because I am fairly satisfied with the life I live; and so there is no need for constant change in my life, but there are moments in the lives of all of us where we reach a crisis, and then you have to take action if you know who Christ is. For, bear in mind: “By Him all things were made, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”
So, do not become so completely anchored to the outer garment which you think is yourself – it’s only a garment – and forget the Inner Man, the imaginative man, who is the Immortal You. That Imaginative Man is God Himself! And the day will come that He will be born, for his whole vast drama – I could break it into three patterns: Innocence, Experience, Imagination. And when you reach that stage – the third stage of Imagination, you are going towards the end, for we came out of a world of innocence into the world of experience, and move towards an awakening imagination, which is God Himself!
So, we are told: “All things are possible to God.” Then we are told: “All things are possible to him who believes.” So, the 19th chapter of Matthew tells us, “With God all things are possible.” The 9th chapter of Mark tells us: “All things are possible to him who believes;” so he equates God with the man who can believe. You can’t get away from that equation. If all things are possible to God and all things are possible to the one who believes, when he equates the one-who-believes with god.
No, I know the difference between thinking from my wish fulfilled and thinking of it. I am always thinking from where I am, and of where I am not. Right now, I am thinking from this room, and of my home, where my wife is now. But this room is more real now than where she is because I am thinking from here, and I am thinking of there. The secret is thinking-from.
When you enter into a state and think from it, you give it all the tones of reality, you give it all the tones of reality, you give it all the sensory vividness that you can muster; and
then when you open your eyes and you break the spell, you think, “Now, what have I done?” That was all imagination, the world would say. That’s all it need be, for imagination is God! You set in motion a reality; and you do not have, now, to devise the means which will be employed to take you from where you are physically to where you are in imagination. So listen to the words carefully:
“And now I go to prepare a place for you; and when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to my Self, that where I am, there ye shall be also.”
He is speaking to this “garment.” This garment can’t go. You sit it on a chair, put it on a bed, throw it on the floor; but He – the Inner Man – can be any place in this world; and viewing the world from where He is in imagination, which is Reality, He returns to the “ferment” that He left behind and takes it to Himself. So, I will return, having gone and prepared the place, — I’ll return and take you to myself, that where I am – Where? – in consciousness, in my imagination – which is the only Reality, there ye shall be also.
So I went to Barbados in my imagination, and that was Christ, but I left the little “garment” that I wore on 75th Street in New York City. Then I returned the next morning and took it up. All right, six weeks passed by and seemingly nothing happened, but it came with sudden shockingness – out of the nowhere, the letter under my door, because in those days, what on earth would you do getting up early when there were seventeen-odd million unemployed, and I was a dancer? Who wanted a dancer? When they couldn’t eat, how could they pay to go to see a dancer? If I could find a job in a restaurant dancing for nothing but just for the food, I would have taken it.
People who are not my age have no idea of the Depression of those days. We speak of a “recession” today, where there are six million unemployed with two hundred and four million in our country, and there were seventeen-odd million, and that was not quite the true figure, and we only had a hundred and twenty-odd million.
If you know New York City, there is a place called Gimbel’s, and Gimbel’s moves all the way through to Penn Station; and the hallway walking through from Gimbel’s to Penn Station would be from here to about here (indicating). I have seen men seven deep all the way sleeping at night, — no place to go. At least, they had it heated for them. That’s where they slept. They slept all over the place; and what they could beg or eke out, that’s what they got. We had no Social Security in those days, no welfare aid in those days; and we had seventeen and a half million unemployed. So, I know what it is to go through that experience. And without one nickel I could make a trip
it cost the family – well over a thousand dollars. In those days a dollar was really two or three dollars when it comes to buying things.
But I did have fun. I got on that ship, and these two elderly men – for that was 1933, and
I was born in 1905; so you know my age. I was the young one of the three. One was a Nazi of the extreme – a traumatic fellow, making his trip down south; and one was an Orthodox Jew. And what a combination, the three of us! So, the Orthodox Jew, a little fellow, he saw my new suit, — I had paid $12.50 for it, — and he said to me, “How much did you pay for this?”
I said, “Twelve-fifty.”
He said, “They robbed you!”
I said, “They robbed me?”
He said, “Yes, they robbed you; and let me tell you something. If it starts to rain, run! Or you’ll never get out of it. It will shrink right up to here on you.”
Here was this other fellow – both elderly gentlemen, the Nazi; he was ranting all day long how Germany is going to take over all the West Indies, and eventually take over America; and the two of them were at it. The little Jewish Orthodox man was reading his Bible most of the time in Hebrew, but would talk to me about my suit or things of that sort; and the other fellow was all science. By “science,” he meant astrology. He believed in astrology. He believed in all these –isms. Well, that was my ten days at sea. What an experience!
You see, it all adds up. In the end, it all adds up. So I had the most fabulous trip all the way down, and came back to fulfill my friend’s prophecy: “You will have died,” and I did. I “died” to a state. The Immortal Man cannot die, but I didn’t realize I was locked in state until I began to sleep in another state; and sleeping in another state, that state became the reality, and the old state that could not eat fish or fowl or meat or eggs or anything, — delighted in eating fish and fowl and all the things that the other one couldn’t do. Every state is right for itself.
And so, until one gets out of a state, don’t try to hit him over the head. He can’t hear you. He knows what he is doing is the only truth, the only reality. If he really believes that clams are going to poison him, do you know? They’ll poison him. You and I will sit down and eat the most glorious bunch of clams; he will sit and eat the same from the same dish and they will poison him. I had that experience when I was a strict vegetarian.
I went to Toronto. A friend of mine invited me – we were house guests. She could ill afford the salmon that she prepared – a beautiful salmon, but I was not eating fish or meat or fowl or anything in those days; but as a guest, I was trained never to offense a host, and so I forced myself to eat what was put before me. That was the first time I broke my fast in these many years. Do you know? There were seven of us at the table: my host and hostess, my dancing partner, her mother, and then two sons – there were a bunch of us around; and I was the only one with Ptomaine Poisoning. I came down – I was poisoned and poisoned beyond measure that night, and every one ate the same fish. But I was eating against the grain of my own being. I knew I was doing wrong by my own – at the moment – my own ethical code, and I was poisoned, and they all survived. Well, my body survived, too; but I mean, I was really sick.
So, the most marvelous thing in the world will poison you if you think that it is wrong in what you do. So, where is it? All in your own wonderful human imagination. That is God!
And we ate of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and came down into the world of experience. And there are only two things in the entire sixty-six books of Scripture that displease God. You can read from beginning to end, and you will not find more than two that truly displease God; and one is lack of faith in “I am He;” and the other is eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now, we all have eaten of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. I know I have. But the whole vast world shuns and turns away from that belief that “I am He.” So, the lack of faith in “I am He” and eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil are the two things that displease God as mentioned in Scripture. I cannot find a third one. I find no third, only those two.
So, “Be still and know that I am God.” As we are told: “Unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” So, the “I AM” in you is your own wonderful human imagination, and you can put it any place in the world. You need not be anchored to where your senses tell you that you are.
Now, let me speak candidly to a lady who is here. She wants to sell her home. You can’t sell the home if night after night you sleep in that home. You have to “sleep” elsewhere – mentally – I do not mean physically. Physically, I slept in a basement on 75th Street in New York City, but in my imagination, I slept in my Mother’s home in Barbados; and within six weeks I was in my Mother’s home in Barbados. And then I had not a nickel towards the venture, which cost well in excess of a thousand dollars. It was all made available as a gift. It was not a loan. It was a gift.
If you want to sell that home seriously, you have to actually let it go in your imagination and “sleep” as you would sleep and where you would sleep if you had sold it. And then, night after night, sleep in that state. Where would you sleep if you had sold it? Unless you want to re-rent a room in your place, which is not what you want to do.
So, I say to everyone: If you know who Jesus Christ is, you are free. The day will come, you will know he really is the Father; and that day is the most thrilling day imaginable, when David in spirit calls you “Father.”
(audio lecture “I AM ALL IMAGINATION”)
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