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    THOUSANDS upon thousands suppose that history shows a unanimous and uninterrupted observance of Sunday on the part of Christians from the days of Christ, and that just as unanimously and continually, the seventh day which had been the Sabbath to that time, was disregarded by them. Many innocently hold this view in ignorance; others assert it who know better than to believe it.TBI 157.1

    The popular Sunday view is well expressed in these words of Mosheim: “All Christians were unanimous in setting apart the first day of the week, on which the triumphant Saviour arose from the dead, for the solemn celebration of public worship. This pious custom which was derived from the church of Jerusalem, was founded upon the express appointment of the apostles, who consecrated that day to the same sacred purposes, and was observed universally throughout the Christian churches, as appears from the united testimonies of the most credible writers.”TBI 157.2

    1. What historian states the Sunday view?
    2. What is his language?
    3. What historian makes a counter statement?
    4. What is his language?

    This reads very much to the mind of the Sunday-keeper; but lo! in the following century another historian, equally worthy of credit, arises and says: “The festival of Sunday, like all other festivals, was always only a human ordinance, and it was far form the intentions of the apostles to establish a divine command in this respect; far from them, and from the early apostolic church, to transfer the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday. Perhaps at the end of the second century a false application of this kind had begun to take place; for men appear by that time to have considered laboring on Sunday as a sin.” Neander’s Ch. Hist., as translated by H.J. Rose, p 186.TBI 157.3

    Mosheim was a writer of the 18th, Neander of the 19th, century. From what source did they obtain the information they give us respecting Sunday? No one lived from apostolic times to their day to tell them how it was and had been. They were dependent on the records which have come down from that time. We have the same, and can thus test the truthfulness of their assertions. Mosheim, indeed, declares that it was founded upon the express appointment of the apostles. Where is that appointment? It is not in the New Testament. Mosheim’s assertion avails nothing, therefore, for Protestants; for it can be used only by departing from the Protestant ground of “the Bible and the Bible alone,” and adopting the Romanist position, “the Bible and tradition.”TBI 158.1

    The whole question sums itself up in this one proposition: that Sunday was called the Lord’s day in the days of John, and from that time onward; and that such a title showed that it was the Sabbath of this dispensation. This proposition we deny, and shall now examine.TBI 158.2

    5. When did these historians respectively flourish?
    6. Where are they therefore obliged to go for their authority?
    7. What rule would Mosheim’s statement compel us to adopt?
    8. What proposition is the sum of the whole Sunday question?
    9. What does John mean by the term “Lord’s day” in Revelation 1:10? References.

    John in Revelation 1:10 does not mean the first day of the week by the term Lord’s day; for the twice afterward speaks of that day, but calls it simply first day of the week. John 20:1, 19. John’s gospel was written in A.D.98, two years after the book of Revelation. He must mean by that term that day which the Lord has claimed as his, which is the seventh day of the week. Exodus 20:10, Isaiah 58:13, and in the New Testament, we have testimony to show that the day which Christ is Lord of is the Sabbath, the seventh day, “The Son of man is Lord even of the Sabbath day,” the seventh day. Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:27.TBI 158.3

    We now notice all the writers who are claimed to have applied the title of Lord’s day to Sunday, down to the close of the second century.TBI 159.1

    First. Ignatius is quoted, in his epistle to the Magnesians. But the reader will find history sustaining the following facts in regard to this matter: 1. No epistle was written by Ignatius, the disciple of John, to the Magnesians. That epistle is a forgery. 2. Even that forgery does not say anything about the Lord’s day. That has been added by the additional fraud of some subsequent writer. 3. The term, Lord’s day, does not occur in the entire writings of this father, either in the spurious, or those which are supposed to be genuine.TBI 159.2

    10. What father is first quoted a calling Sunday the Lord’s day?
    11. In what epistle?
    12. What is the nature of that epistle?
    13. Does that forged epistle say anything about the Lord’s day?
    14. Does the term, Lord’s day,; occur in the entire writings of Ignatius?
    15. What writer is referred to as the second authority?
    16. What is the claim urged from Pliny’s writing?
    17. From what work does this claim to be taken?

    Secondly. Pliny, A.D. 104, is quoted as saying that this question was put to the martyrs: “Have you kept the Lord’s day?” and the answer was, “I am a Christian, I cannot omit it.” What splendid testimony have been confirmed in their false practice by this quotation. The testimony professes to come from a work entitled, Acta Martyrum, or The Acts of the Martyrs. But the testimony of Mosheim on this work, is that it is of no authority whatever; and even if it was it contains no such expression as is here ascribed to it. Gilfillan, unwilling to lose the testimony, refers for authority to Baronius. But what Baronius speaks of, is the martyrdom of Saturninus and his four sons, in Northern Africa; but this was in A.D.303, not in the time of Pliny, two hundred years before; and the question put was not “Have you kept the Lord’s day?” but “Have you celebrated the Lord’s supper?” Thus vanishes another famous falsehood put forth in behalf of Sunday.TBI 159.3

    Thirdly. Justin Martyr, A.D.140, is quoted as calling Sunday the Lord’s day. But Justin gives no such title to Sunday, nor any other title whatever. He simply says, “On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country, gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles, or the writings of the prophets are read as long as time permits,” etc. Justin Martyr’s First Apology, chap. LXVII. But some one, wishing his testimony, has deliberately put in “the Lord’s day,” instead of Sunday, and added, “because that is the day of our Lord’s resurrection.” Thus Justin is made to testify in behalf of Sunday as the Lord’s day only by fraud.TBI 160.1

    18. What is the nature of the Acta Martyrum?
    19. Does any such expression occur in that work?
    20. What authority does Gilfillan refer to?
    21. When did the event referred to by Baronius take place?
    22. What was the question then put to the martyrs?
    23. Who next is quoted?
    24. Does Justin Martyr ever give the title of Lord’s day, or any other title, to Sunday?
    25. Who is the fourth writer quoted?

    Fourthly. Theophilus, A.D.162, is introduced as a witness in behalf of Sunday. Justin Edwards’ Sabbath Manual, p.114, presents this case as follows:- “Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, about A.D.162, says: ‘Both custom and reason challenge from us that we should honor the Lord’s day, seeing on that day it was that our Lord Jesus completed his resurrection from the dead.’”TBI 160.2

    We have presented the quotation in full because we have the curious fact that nothing of the kind whatever can be found in the writings of Theophilus. He does not once use the term Lord’s day; he does not even speak of the first day of the week. It is astonishing beyond expression that testimony can be thus manufactured from nothing and be deliberately ascribed to these early fathers.TBI 161.1

    Fifthly. Dionysius of Corinth, A.D.170, is quoted. Dionysius does use the term, Lord’s or rather, “the Lord’s holy day,” but he makes no application of it to any day of the week. He says nothing to show what day of the week he means. Having found the first four witnesses for Sunday inexcusable frauds, it cannot be claimed that this was the familiar name for Sunday and did not need to be defined. And no writer, for a long time after Dionysius, applies such a title as “Lord’s holy day” to Sunday. But this was the title of the Sabbath of the Lord; and at this very time, in Greece, the country of Dionysius, the Sabbath was extensively observed as an act of obedience to the fourth commandment. All the probabilities in his testimony, therefore, point to the Sabbath instead of Sunday.TBI 161.2

    26. What is the quotation given from him?
    27. Is anything of this kind to be found in the writing of Theophilus?
    28. Who is the fifth father quoted?
    29. What term does Dionysius use?
    30. Does he tell what day of the week he means?
    31. From what country was Dionysius?
    32. How was the Sabbath regarded in that country at that time?
    33. Who is the sixth writer quoted?

    Sixthly, Melito of Sardis, A.D.177, is brought forward as the sixth witness. His testimony is made to do service on this wise: He wrote several books of which only the titles have been preserved to us. One of these, as given in the English version of Eusebius, is, “On the Lord’s Day,” This of course is claimed to be a treatise on Sunday, though it cannot be shown that any writer down to this point calls Sunday by that name. But the most remarkable thing about it is that the essential word “day” is not found in the original. So it was simply a discourse about something pertaining to the Lord; and it may have been, and doubtless was, a treatise on the life of Christ, as Eusebius uses the expression “Lord’s life,” kuriakeen zoeen, in connection.TBI 161.3

    Seventhly. Irenaeus is quoted by Justin Edwards as follows: “On the Lord’s day every one of us Christians keeps the Sabbath, meditating on the law, and rejoicing in the works of God,” The great reason why this is not good testimony for Sunday is that not a word of the kind can be found in Irenaeus. The term “Lord’s day” is not to be found in any of his writings, nor in any fragments of his writings preserved in other authors.TBI 162.1

    These are the seven witnesses through whom the Romish church, copied by Protestants, trace their Lord’s day back to, and identify it with, the Lord’s day of the Bible. But the first, second, third, fourth, and seventh of these, are inexcusable frauds; the fifth speaks of the Lord’s day, but does not tell us what day it is, and the sixth writes something about the Lord, but tells us nothing about a day.TBI 162.2

    34. What is the testimony drawn from him?
    35. Does the word, day occur in the title of his last book?
    36. What was his treatise than probably concerning?
    37. Who is the seventh witness?
    38. What is the objection to this testimony from Irenaeus?

    A little later, Clement of Alexandria, A.D.194, uses the title with reference to the eighth day; but in his explanation he makes this to signify, not the first day of the week, but Heaven itself.TBI 162.3

    The next writer who uses the term is Tertullian, A.D. 200; and he applies it definitely to the day of Christ’s resurrection. This, says Kitto, is the first authentic application of this kind; and this was 104 years after John wrote the book of Revelation, and 169 years after the resurrection of Christ. This sustains the statement of Neander, that perhaps at the end of the second century men had begun to make a false application of the laws of the Sabbath to Sunday; “for men appear,” he says, “by that time to have considered laboring on Sunday a sin.”TBI 163.1

    Origen, A.D.231, is the third writer who calls the “eighth day” the Lord’s day. But he uses it in two senses: 1. For natural day, in which sense it ranks with the Preparation day, the Passover, and the Pentecost; and 2. For a mystical day, as did Clement, in which sense it stands for the whole Christian life.TBI 163.2

    We have thus traced the Lord’s day as far as it is needful. This Lord’s day as it now exists, first appears in the early apostasy of the church; but between that and the days of the apostles there is a fatal break, which men have endeavored to bridge over by a series of fearful frauds. An honest mind will desert any institution which is obliged to depend on such support.TBI 163.3

    39. How and when does Clement of Alexandria use the term?
    40. Where and when do we find the first authentic application of Lord’s day to the first day of the week?
    41. How long was this after the resurrection of Christ? and how long after John wrote the Revelation?
    42. How and when does Origen use the term?

    Two more quotations only remain to be noticed before we come to the time of Constantine, A.D.321. The first is the so-called epistle of Barnabas, which says, “We observe the eighth day with gladness, in which Jesus arose from the dead.” This was not an epistle from Barnabas, the companion of Paul. Mosheim, Neander, Stuart, Dr. Killen, Prof. Hackett, Milner, Kitto, Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Eusebius, Domville and Coleman, all unite in declaring it a forgery, the production of a Jew of mean abilities, who lived at a much later period than that of the true Barnabas. The second is a quotation from Pliny, stating that the Christians were wont to meet together on a “stated day.” It is claimed that this stated day was sunday. But how do they know? The essential link in the evidence is wanting; for he does not say what day of the week it was.TBI 163.4

    In A.D.321 a new era dawned upon the Sunday institution. In that year Constantine, on the throne of the Roman empire, enacted a law in behalf of the “venerable day of the sun,” from which it soon came to be the venerable day in the church. Of the effect of this law mosheim thus speaks:-TBI 164.1

    “The first day of the week, which was the ordinary and stated time for the public assemblies of the Christians, was in consequence of a peculiar law enacted by Constantine, observed with greater solemnity than it had formerly been.”TBI 164.2

    What, then, did Constantine’s law require? It read as follows:-TBI 164.3

    43. What is to be said of the Epistle of Barnabas?
    44. Name the authors who condemn it.
    45. What can be said of Pliny’s “stated day”?
    46. What took place in A.D.321?
    47. What did this law of Constantine’s provide?
    48. What does mosheim say of the effect of this law?

    “Let all the judges and town people, and the occupation of all trades rest on the venerable day of the sun; but let those who are situated in the country, freely and at full liberty attend to the business of agriculture; because it often happens that no other day is so fit for sowing corn and planting vines; lest the critical moment being let slip, men should lose the commodities granted by Heaven.”TBI 164.4

    It follows, therefore, according to the testimony of Mosheim, that if this law, restraining only town people and trades, caused Sunday to be observed more strictly than formerly, no restraint had previously been laid upon any class from working on that day.TBI 165.1

    Constantine’s law, it will be noticed, speaks not of the Lord’s day, or the Christian Sabbath, but of “the venerable day of the sun.” This was the heathen, not the Christian, name of that day. And this law was in behalf of Sunday as a heathen, not a Christian, institution. This will appear by comparing dates. The Law was dated A.D.321. Constantine did not experience his so-called conversion to Christianity till A.D.323, two year afterward. The day following his Sunday law, he enacted another, regulating the work of the soothsayers who foretold future events by examining the entrails of beasts offered in sacrifice to the gods; fitting companion to the preceding.TBI 165.2

    49. What follows from this statement?
    50. What was the nature of Constantine’s law?
    51. When was it enacted?
    52. When was constantine nominally converted to Christianity?
    53. What law did he enact the day following his Sunday law?
    54. How did this come to be a Christian law?

    But how did this heathen law come to have a bearing upon Sunday as a Christian observance? The pope of Rome cheerfully looked after that matter. When Constantine professed Christianity, his Sunday law was left on the statute book unrepealed; and Sylvester, bishop of Rome, since called pope, took advantage of this fact, and giving the day the imposing title of Lord’s day, by his apostolic authority, enforced it upon the church as a Christian institution. Constantine also, then deeming himself as much the head of the church as the pope, took upon himself to elevate it still further, by church authority, as a Christian observance, taking “upon him,” says Heylyn, not only “to command the day, but also to prescribe the service.”TBI 165.3

    The parts which paganism and the papacy have acted in the elevation of Sunday are now plain to be seen. From the earliest times, the first day of the week, in the religion of idolatry, was dedicated to the worship of the sun; so that when Christianity came into contact with that false system, Sunday was a venerable day throughout all the heathen world.TBI 166.1

    In the Christian church, being the day of Christ’s resurrection, it appeared as a festival, observed in the same manner, and for the same reason that they observed the day of the crucifixion, the day of the ascension, etc. But as heathenism and Christianity approached each other, and illustrious pagans became half converts to the gospel, seeking to engraft their Gnostic notions upon the Christian scheme, the question of expediency suggested that it would tend to conciliate their heathen neighbors,and also to promote the spread of Christianity among them, for Christians to pay more especial honors to their great festival day. They could do it as Christians, and please them as pagans.TBI 166.2

    In the days of Constantine so near had the two systems come together that it was not difficult to transfer institutions from one to the other. Sunday had heretofore run on the pagan track; now it could be switched off upon the Christian. Pope Sylvester turned the switch; and henceforth Sunday is a palace sleeping car upon the Christian track, and not upon the heathen.TBI 166.3

    55. What are the parts paganism and the papacy have played in this matter?

    We need not trace it any further. Roman Catholic catechisms tell us the place it occupies in that church, and the claims they base upon it. They hesitate not to acknowledge that the church has changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day of the week, without any sanction from the Scriptures, or any outward command from the Scriptures, or any outward command from God. And they boast of this as an evidence of their power to legislate in sacred things. Says the “Abridgment of Christian Doctrine” (Catholic catechism):-TBI 167.1

    “Ques. How prove you that the church hath power to command feasts and holy days?TBI 167.2

    “Ans. By the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; and therefore they fondly contradict themselves by keeping Sunday strictly, and breaking most other feasts commanded by the same church.”TBI 167.3

    In the latter part of the 16th century a controversy broke out between the Presbyterians and the Episcopalians, which brought the Sunday question on Protestant grounds to an issue. The Episcopalians were for retaining all the feasts commanded by the church. The Presbyterians were for rejecting them, as being but popish leaven and superstition; yet they retained Sunday. The Episcopalians retorted that if they gave up the others they must give up the Sunday, or if they kept that they must keep all the others, to be consistent, for they all rested on the same foundation, namely, the authority of the church. Then it was that, driven to find some support from the Scriptures, the “Rev. Nicholas Bound,D.D.,” A.D.1595, invented the seventh part of time fallacy, which is even to this day, with many theologians, their stock in trade on the Sunday question.TBI 167.4

    56. What is the testimony of Roman Catholic catechisms?
    57. What controversy arose in the latter part of the 16th century?
    58. What doctrine was then brought out and by whom?

    The limits of this lesson will not permit a further notice of the Sabbath, historically, than merely to say that Sabbath-keepers can be traced in an unbroken succession all through the gospel dispensation, from the church of Jerusalem to the present time.TBI 168.1

    For the historical facts above stated, we are indebted to “The History of the Sabbath” by Eld. J. N. Andrews, a work of extensive and exhaustive research on this question, unanswered and unanswerable. To this we refer the reader an all others who desire reliable information on this subject.TBI 168.2


    1. Was the true church observing the seventh day at the time it passed into the wilderness?TBI 168.3

    Ans. Yes. The church went into the wilderness by being overborne by the apostasies and corruptions of the times. When the great apostate church had arisen and overshadowed Christendom, the true church, the real people of God, were crowded into obscurity. It was a gradual work. So the coming out from that wilderness state is a gradual work; but before the Lord comes, the church will be fully out, and keeping the Sabbath, as it was before it went into the wilderness. This is the secret of the great Sabbath reform now going forth under the last message.TBI 168.4

    2. Is it true that Christ was raised from the dead on the first day of the week?TBI 168.5

    59. Where are the historical facts in regard to the Sabbath and Sunday to be found?
    60. What can be said of the Sabbath during the gospel dispensation?
    61. Whose statement, then, is correct, Mosheim’s or Neander’s?

    Ans. We think it is. But even if we thought it was not, we should never raise any controversy over the point; for more would be lost than gained by it. The idea is firmly planted in the public mind that the resurrection of Christ did occur on the first day of the week. And if we contest that point, they will inevitably interpret it as a concession on our part to the idea that if the resurrection did occur on that day, it proves that day to be the Christian Sabbath; if not, they will say, why labor so hard to disprove it? And it will take ten times more effort to make people believe that the resurrection did not occur on the first day of the week, than it will to convince them that even if it did occur then, it has no bearing whatever on the Sabbath question. Spend no time discussing doubtful or unessential points. Take issue on vital questions, and then make your positions very clear and strong.TBI 168.6

    3. Isaiah 56:12. Is “this day” the day of the Sabbath, so frequently referred to all through the chapter, and the “to-morrow,” the day following, or Sunday?TBI 169.1

    Ans. We think the passage can have no application of this kind. And while nothing would be gained by applying it so, it would be considered fanciful, and hence would be objectionable. The same may be said of the question whether Hosea 6:7 does not prove that Adam had the law of God in his day.TBI 169.2

    4. Please state how the “round world theory” is used as an objection to the Sabbath, and give the answer.TBI 169.3

    Ans. The objection proceeds on the assumption that those who keep the Sabbath, must keep the same absolute, not relative, time; and, as time differs at different points east and west, this cannot be done. Therefore the Sabbath cannot be kept around the world. And this objection, strange to say, almost invariably comes from those who are great sticklers for Sunday, and who believe it should be kept in every essential particular just as we claim for the Sabbath. If they can find the first day of the week around the world, why cannot we find the Seventh, which is just the day before? It is a fact which few are so unreasonable as to deny, that the day, by means of those operations of nature which God has ordained to govern the lapse of time, travels around the earth from the east to west. On every spot of the earth, therefore, the days in their proper order commence and end. We are to keep the days as they come to us. At whatever places we can ascertain the beginning and the close of the day, we can keep it.TBI 169.4

    From this idea that days travel around the world it follows that somewhere on the earth there must be a starting point for all days, or a day line, in crossing which we must change our reckoning according to the direction in which we are traveling. Where is this day line? Experience shows that if we start from the western coast of America, and travel eastward to the eastern coast of Asia, we have no change to make; or, if we reverse it, and travel from the east coast of Asia to the west coast of America, it is the same; our reckoning agrees with that of every country through which we pass. The day line is not, therefore, anywhere on that part of the earth’s surface. But when we cross the Pacific ocean from San Francisco to Pekin, taking California time with us, we find ourselves one day behind the people of China; or, if we come from Pekin to San Francisco, bringing Pekin time with us, we find ourselves one day in advance of the people of California. Thus it is demonstrated that the day line runs through the Pacific ocean.And it seems to be a providential fact that a line can be run from the north pole to the south, through Behring’s straits, and touch no appreciable body of land. Hence the confusion is avoided that must exist if this line passed through a thickly populated land. All a person has to do, therefore, is, in sailing east across the Pacific to drop back a day in his reckoning, and in sailing west, to go forward a day in his calendar, in crossing this day line; and no other change is required the earth around. Navigators understand this and act accordingly.TBI 170.1

    But it is thought that even this arrangement might sometimes interfere with Sabbath observance. The following supposable case was suggested in the class:-TBI 171.1

    “A, who was sailing in the Pacific ocean, found by observation on Friday that he was five miles east of the day line; and being desirous that his crew should observe the Sabbath as soon as the sun went down he was drifted west of the line, and found that it was already Sunday there, and therefore kept no Sabbath. Was he right in so doing?”TBI 171.2

    We answer, No. He should have kept his old reckoning till he had observed the Sabbath. For a Person on shipboard is not obliged to change on just such a degree of longitude. While some definite line must be fixed so that permanent locations on either side of the line may have a uniform reckoning, all that a person on the water need to do is to adjust his reckoning before he touches land, or meets passing ships, so that his reckoning will agree with those he meets. It will thus be seen that a person need never interfere with the Sabbath in adding or dropping his day in crossing the day line. This is a very simple matter and no difficulty at all is involved in it respecting the Sabbath.TBI 171.3

    Another difficulty is urged from the great length of days and nights in high northern latitudes. How, it is asked, can the Sabbath be kept in countries where in summer the days are several months in length, and in winter the nights are of equal duration? We reply, There is no difficulty whatever; for the revolution of the earth is marked, in summer by the sun, in winter by the stars, just as accurately as it is in any other quarter of the earth; and the point corresponding to sunset in lower latitudes, can be just as definitely determined even at the north pole, if men could reach it, as sunset itself in other places. And this is all that is necessary to know, to be able to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment. All the difficulties that are raised in the way of Sabbath-keeping are purely imaginary; and the more the subject is examined, the more clearly it is seen that that God who in infinite wisdom gave Sabbath for all men to keep in all places of the earth, has not by any wayward providence, or any fatal necessity in the operation of his laws, made it impossible for them to do so. For a full exposition of the subject of the Sabbath on a round world, the dayline, etc., the reader is referred to a tract by Eld. J. N. Andrews, entitled, “The Definite Seventh Day.”TBI 172.1

    A word as to the revelations of the Bible on this point. These are sufficient to show that no objection really exists. For instance, in the land of Palestine itself, there is a little difference of time between its eastern and western boundaries; and if the Sabbath could be kept on its eastern border, and at the same time on its western, distant a little over two degrees of longitude, and involving a difference in time of about ten minutes, it could be kept as much further west, and so on. Consequently in the extensive travels of Paul we read of his keeping the Sabbath far distant from Jerusalem. He kept at least seventy-eight of them in Corinth, Acts 18; and Corinth was thirteen degrees form Jerusalem, involving a difference in time of fifty-two minutes; that is, the Sabbath commenced in Corinth nearly an hour later than in Jerusalem; yet Paul had no difficulty in keeping it there. He pushed on to Rome, and found many Jews there. Acts 28:17. Do you suppose those Jews were living in violation of the Sabbath? By no means. Did Paul keep the Sabbath there? There is not a shadow of reason to suppose that he did not. But what is the difference in time from Jerusalem? Two hours and sixteen minutes. And Paul in writing to the Romans dwelt much on the perpetuity of the law, and assured them that they did not make it void by faith in Christ; Romans 3:31; but he ought to have added, according to our opponents. “Nevertheless you poor Romans will have to make void the Sabbath commandment, you are so far west. There is a difference in time, between your place and Jerusalem, of two hours and sixteen minutes; and with that difference you can’t keep the Sabbath, so you needn’t try.” Paul would laugh at the manufactured perplexities of modern anti-sabbatarians; or, rather, he would wither them with some of his righteous invectives.TBI 172.2

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