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The Role Of Works In Our Salvation (2) #17834
Sun Sep 26, 2004 11:43 AM
Sun Sep 26, 2004 11:43 AM

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Pilgrim said:
What the Scriptures teach, Calvinism upholds and which I believe is that all men are "free agents", i.e., they are capable of making free decisions within the bounds of their nature. Thus all men are responsible for their "free" decisions and will be held accountable for them.


What "free" decision is a man who is in total bondage to Satan capable of making? Man is condemned because he is utterly corrupted and willfully rejects Christ.

Last edited by Pilgrim; Sat Oct 02, 2004 4:40 PM.
Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17835
Sun Sep 26, 2004 11:57 AM
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I would to correct three statements of catholicsoldier regarding Reformation doctrine:

1. Baptism is not a human work. By Word and Sacrament (Baptism), the Holy Spirit works faith, when and where it pleases God in them that hear the gospel.
2. Good works are not an obligation for the believer. When a man has been liberated from the law and saved by grace alone, he does good works with the help of the Holy Spirit from a free and cheerful spirit.
3. Unregenerate man has no free will either to do good and omit evil or to do evil and omit good.

Last edited by speratus; Sun Sep 26, 2004 12:04 PM.
Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17836
Sun Sep 26, 2004 12:24 PM
Sun Sep 26, 2004 12:24 PM
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speratus writes:
What "free" decision is a man who is in total bondage to Satan capable of making? Man is condemned because he is utterly corrupted and willfully rejects Christ.

First of all, [Linked Image] to The Highway Discussion Board!

Perhaps you didn't read what I wrote and you quoted carefully? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/scratchchin.gif" alt="" /> Here is what I wrote: "they are capable of making free decisions within the bounds of their nature." This is exactly that which the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 6 when he says that the unregenerate/natural man is a "bondservant of sin" (6:6, 17, 19, 20; cf. Rom 3:10-18; 8:7, 8; Eph 2:1-5; 4:17, 18; Titus 3:3; Gen 6:5; 8:21; Jer 13:23; Job 14:1-4; et al) Man is condemned at conception from the very fact that he is born with Adam's guilt imputed to him. (1/2 of Original Sin) One does not have to reject Christ to be condemned. Yes, I agree with you that man is born "corrupted" (or nature), which is the other half of Original Sin; the inherited depravity of nature, i.e., spiritual death. (Rom 5:12-18; 1Cor 15:21)

So, within this depraved state, man is totally free to do that which the nature dictates/allows, which is sin. Man is free to choose to think and do sin. But even this is curtailed by God's providence by which He restrains and directs the sinful acts of men for His purpose and the good of the Church. The same is true for the influences and work of Satan and the rest of the fallen angelic host. They are capable of doing only that which is sinful but restrained/allowed and directed by God for His purpose.

In His Grace,


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Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation [Re: Pilgrim] #17837
Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:34 PM
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Pilgrim,

Man is condemned by original sin (Rom. 5:18). But there is further condemnation as a man willfully rejects Christ (John 3:18) and his heart becomes further hardened against the gospel.

Man is free from righteousness (Rom. 6:20). But he is not free to sin. He is enslaved to sin. A slave does not make free decisions. He obeys his masters: sin, death, and the devil.

Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17838
Sun Sep 26, 2004 7:22 PM
Sun Sep 26, 2004 7:22 PM
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speratus said:
Man is condemned by original sin (Rom. 5:18). But there is further condemnation as a man willfully rejects Christ (John 3:18) and his heart becomes further hardened against the gospel.

Agreed! There is further condemnation, i.e., the punishment received at the Judgment will be far more severe upon those who have been given the privilege of hearing the Gospel but rejected the call to believe upon the Lord Christ.

In regard to: Romans 6:20 (ASV) "For when ye were servants of sin, ye were free in regard of righteousness.", I would suggest that what this means is that when a person was a bondservant of sin (serving the lusts of the flesh by nature) he was not being "controlled" by righteousness (serving the new spiritual nature; it didn't exist).

Quote
speratus also said:
Man is free from righteousness (Rom. 6:20). But he is not free to sin. He is enslaved to sin. A slave does not make free decisions. He obeys his masters: sin, death, and the devil.

I detect some possible confusion here due to the use of terms, perhaps? When you say that man "is not free to sin", this is true if one is speaking of what is required of man according to the preceptive will of God, which is revealed in the Scriptures. However, IF you are referring to the ability of man, then I would have to strongly disagree. For, man's "freedom" (ability to think and act without outside compulsion against the will) is determined solely by one's nature. Thus, the natural man who is conceived in sin and born with a corrupt nature; i.e., a disposition which is an enmity with God and opposed to all that is good will/can only do that which is against the preceptive will of God; aka: sin. The unregenerate man naturally and thus freely chooses to sin. He is not forced to sin; i.e., to do that which is contrary to his will. The sinner's "enslavement" is the corrupt nature of which he is totally responsible. Thus the unregenerate person "can not because he will not AND he will not because he can not"! The converse is also true; a regenerate man is in possession of a new nature, a spiritually alive nature which is predisposed to love God and to do that which is holy and good. Of course, this new nature, which is created in the soul by the Holy Spirit in regeneration is one in principle whereby the remnants of the "old man" still linger and thus perfection is not possible in this life. Add to this the external influences of the demonic angels who also bring about temptation according to the will of God for the purpose of sanctification of the believer. Thus the holiness enjoined is one which only partially attained in this life and that progressively. It is only fully attained after death in glorification.

Thus, the biblical teaching is:

- Unregenerate: Free to sin but not free to not sin.
- Regenerate: Free to do that which is right and free (able) to sin. But not guaranteed to not sin.

If the case is that you are in disagreement with what I've written above, I would appreciate it if you would explain in more detail why an unregenerate person isn't "free to sin". <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,


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Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation [Re: Pilgrim] #17839
Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:08 PM
Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:08 PM

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Pilgrim,

The slave who has been brainwashed into believing that, when he acts according to his master's desires, he is making a "free decision" is still a slave. He is, in fact, worst than a slave because he doesn't even know that he is a slave. Is that your idea of freedom?

By contrast, regenerate man has been liberated by the Holy Spirit to become Christ's slave. To the extent that the Holy Spirit rules, guides, and leads him, he is a freeman. I Cor. 7:22.

Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17840
Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:21 PM
Sun Sep 26, 2004 10:21 PM
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speratus replies:
The slave who has been brainwashed into believing that, when he acts according to his master's desires, he is making a "free decision" is still a slave. He is, in fact, worst than a slave because he doesn't even know that he is a slave. Is that your idea of freedom?

Again..... I iterate that the bondage which an unregenerate man lives under is his own. It is not imposed upon him. It is of his very essence and not something to which he unwillingly submits. His corruption of nature is what he IS by nature and thus all that he does is done willingly and most freely. The unregenerate man hates the light and loves the darkness. He would have it no other way and proves it to be so each and every time the opportunity arises in which he could do good, turn from his wicked ways and trust Christ.

If what you are espousing is true, then the unregenerate are not willing perpetrators of evil but victims; victims of an alien force which compels them to do that which they would rather not do. However, this is not something which has been taught in the majority of churches, especially confessional churches. Perhaps you could offer a denomination who holds to this view officially? or perhaps refer to an author, either past or present who teaches this? Inquiring minds wanna know. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation [Re: Pilgrim] #17841
Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:25 AM
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Pilgrim said:

Perhaps you could offer a denomination who holds to this view officially? or perhaps refer to an author, either past or present who teaches this? Inquiring minds wanna know. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,


The denomination is Lutheran. The author is Luther.

Quote

To this we will add a passage in which Dr. Luther declared himself later, with a solemn protestation that he intended to persevere in this doctrine unto the end, in his Large Confession concerning the Holy Supper, where he says: Herewith I reject and condemn as nothing but error all dogmas which extol our free will, as they directly conflict with this help and grace of our Savior Jesus Christ. For since outside of Christ death and sin are our lords, and the devil our god and prince, there can be no power or might, no wisdom or understanding, whereby we can qualify ourselves for, or strive after, righteousness and life; but we must be blinded people and prisoners of sin and the devil's own, to do and to think what pleases them and is contrary to God and His commandments.44] In these words Dr. Luther, of blessed and holy memory, ascribes to our free will no power whatever to qualify itself for righteousness or strive after it, but says that man is blinded and held captive to do only the devil's will, and that which is contrary to God the Lord. Therefore there is here no cooperation of our will in the conversion of man, and man must be drawn and born anew of God; otherwise there is no thought in our hearts which of itself could turn to the holy Gospel for the purpose of accepting it. Even so Dr. Luther wrote of this matter also in his book De Servo Arbitrio, i. e., Of the Captive Will of Man, in opposition to Erasmus, and elucidated and supported this position well and thoroughly, and afterward he repeated and explained it in his glorious exposition of the book of Genesis, especially of Gen. 26. There likewise his meaning and understanding of some other peculiar disputations introduced incidentally by Erasmus, as of absolute necessity, etc., have been secured by him in the best and most careful way against all misunderstanding and perversion; to which we also hereby appeal and refer others.

Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, Free Will

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The Diatribe is perpetually setting before us such a man, who either can do what is commanded, or at least knows that he cannot do it. Whereas, no such man is to be found. If there were such an one, then indeed, either impossibilities would be ridiculously commanded, or the Spirit of Christ would be in vain.
The Scripture, however, sets forth such a man, who is not only bound, miserable, captive, sick, and dead, but who, by the operation of his lord, Satan, to his other miseries, adds that of blindness: so that he believes he is free, happy, at liberty, powerful, whole, and alive. For Satan well knows that if men knew their own misery he could retain no one of them in his kingdom...
...Where now then remains that article of our faith; that Satan is the prince of the world, and, according to the testimonies of Christ and Paul, rules in the wills and minds of those men who are his captives and servants? Shall that roaring lion, that implacable and ever-restless enemy of the grace of God and the salvation of man, suffer it to be, that man, his slave and a part of his kingdom, should attempt good by any motion in any degree, whereby he might escape from his tyranny, and that he should not rather spur and urge him on to will and do the contrary to grace with all his powers?...
...Satan, is by far the most powerful and crafty prince of this world; (as I said before,) under the reigning power of whom, the human will, being no longer free nor in its own power, but the servant of sin and of Satan, can will nothing but that which its prince wills. And he will not permit it to will any thing good: though, even if Satan did not reign over it, sin itself, of which man is the slave, would sufficiently harden it to prevent it from willing good.

Bondage of the Will, M. Luther

Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17842
Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:48 AM
Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:48 AM
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1. Baptism is not a human work. By Word and Sacrament (Baptism), the Holy Spirit works faith, when and where it pleases God in them that hear the gospel.


(Fred) Just out of curiosity, speratus, would you believe that the baptized infant in regnerated, because of the very act of being baptized?

Fred


"Ah, sitting - the great leveler of men. From the mightest of pharaohs to the lowest of peasants, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?" M. Burns
Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17843
Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:31 PM
Mon Sep 27, 2004 12:31 PM
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speratus,

There is nothing that you included in either quote that would support YOUR view or discredit mine. For I am in complete agreement with Luther's doctrine which was fully expounded in his work, The Bondage of the Will, which is also in complete agreement with Jonathan Edwards' three treatises, "The Great Christian Doctrine of Original Sin Defended", "Men Naturally God's Enemies" and "A Careful and Strict Inquiry into the Prevailing Notions of the Freedom of the Will". Further all the great evangelical confessions are in agreement. For example:


[color:"blue"]The Belgic Confession of Faith, Article XIV
The Creation and Fall of Man, and His Incapacity to Perform What Is Truly Good[/color]


We believe that God created man out of the dust of the earth, and made and formed him after His own image and likeness, good, righteous, and holy, capable in all things to will agreeably to the will of God. But being in honor, he understood it not, neither knew his excellency, but wilfully subjected himself to sin and consequently to death and the curse, giving ear to the words of the devil. For the commandment of life, which he had received, he transgressed; and by sin separated himself from God, who was his true life; having corrupted his whole nature; whereby he made himself liable to corporal and spiritual death. And being thus become wicked, perverse, and corrupt in all his ways, he has lost all his excellent gifts which he had received from God, and retained only small remains thereof, which, however, are sufficient to leave man without excuse; for all the light which is in us is changed into darkness, as the Scriptures teach us, saying: The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness apprehended it not; where St. John calls men darkness.

Therefore we reject all that is taught repugnant to this concerning the free will of man, since man is but a slave to sin, and can receive nothing, except it have been given him from heaven. For who may presume to boast that he of himself can do any good, since Christ says: No man can come to me, except the Father that sent me draw him? Who will glory in his own will, who understands that the mind of the flesh is enmity against God? Who can speak of his knowledge, since the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God? In short, who dares suggest any thought, since he knows that we are not sufficient of ourselves to account anything as of ourselves, but that our sufficiency is of God? And therefore what the apostle says ought justly to be held sure and firm, that God worketh in us both to will and to work, for his good pleasure. For there is no understanding nor will conformable to the divine understanding and will but what Christ has wrought in man; which He teaches us, when He says: Apart from me ye can do nothing.




[color:"blue"]The Second Helvetic Confession - Chapter IX
Of Free Will, and Thus of Human Powers[/color]


What Man Was After the Fall. Then we are to consider what man was after the fall. To be sure, his reason was not taken from him, nor was he deprived of will, and he was not entirely changed into a stone or a tree. But they were so altered and weakened that they no longer can do what they could before the fall. For the understanding is darkened, and the will which was free has become an enslaved will. Now it serves sin, not unwillingly but willingly. And indeed, it is called a will, not an unwill(ing).[1]

Man Does Evil by His Own Free Will. Therefore, in regard to evil or sin, man is not forced by God or by the devil but does evil by his own free will, and in this respect he has a most free will. But when we frequently see that the worst crimes and designs of men are prevented by God from reaching their purpose, this does not take away man's freedom in doing evil, but God by his own power prevents what man freely planned otherwise. Thus Joseph's brothers freely determined to get rid of him, but they were unable to do it because something else seemed good to the counsel of God.




[color:"blue"]The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter IX
Of Free Will[/color]


I. God hath endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that it is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined to good, or evil.[1]

1. James 1:13-14; 4:7; Deut. 30:19; Isa. 7:11-12; Matt. 17:12; John 5:40

II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God;[2] but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.[3]

2. Eccl. 7:29; Gen. 1:26, 31; Col. 3:10
3. Gen. 2:16-17; 3:6, 17

III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation:[4] so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,[5] and dead in sin,[6] is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.[7]

4. Rom. 5:5; 8:7-8; John 6:44, 65; 15:5
5. Rom. 3:9-10, 12, 23
6. Eph. 2:1, 5; Col 2:13
7. John 3:3, 5-6; 6:44, 65; I Cor. 2:14; Titus 3:3-5

IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin;[8] and, by his grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;[9] yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he doth not perfectly, nor only, will that which is good, but doth also will that which is evil.[10]

8. Col. 1:13; John 8:34, 36; Rom. 6:6-7
9. Phil. 2:13; Rom. 6:14, 17-19, 22
10. Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:14-25; I John 1:8, 10

V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to good alone, in the state of glory only.[11]

11. Heb. 12:23; I John 3:2; Jude 1:24; Rev. 21:27




[color:"blue"]The Waldensian Confession, Articles V-X[/color]


VIII. That man, who was created pure and holy, after the image of God, deprived himself through his own fault of that happy condition by giving credit to the deceitful words of the devil.

IX. That man by his transgression lost that righteousness and holiness which he had received, and thus incurring the wrath of God, became subject to death and bondage, under the dominion of him who has the power of death, that is, the devil; insomuch that our free will has become a servant and a slave to sin: and thus all men, both Jews and Gentiles, are, are by nature children of wrath, being all dead in their trespasses and sins, and consequently incapable of the least good motion to any thing which concerns their salvation: yea, incapable of one good thought without God's grace, all their imaginations being wholly evil, and that continually.

X. That all the posterity of Adam is guilty in him of his disobedience, infected by his corruption, and fallen into the same calamity with him, even the very infants from their mother's womb, whence is derived the name of original sin.



Your personal view is not to be found in the writings of Martin Luther nor in any of the Confessions of the denominations which came out of the Protestant Reformation. It seems that you have misunderstood what the state of fallen man is and the relationship of the will to that of the corruption of nature. Again, man in his fallen, natural state is not free to seek after God, comply with anything which is required of him according to the prescriptive will of God (the law) nor can he desire to do so. However, fallen man is certainly free to act according to his fallen nature no less than any other creature acts according to its nature. And it is because man willingly and freely chooses to be at enmity with God that he is found all the more guilty and is under judgment. To be otherwise, e.g., from your view, man could not be held responsible and ultimately accountable for his sinful acts, for he would be a victim of that which he truly did not choose to be.

I would ask you to seriously reconsider what you are espousing as it is not biblically defensible nor recognized by the Church.

In His Grace,


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Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation [Re: fredman] #17844
Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:42 PM
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1. Baptism is not a human work. By Word and Sacrament (Baptism), the Holy Spirit works faith, when and where it pleases God in them that hear the gospel.


(Fred) Just out of curiosity, speratus, would you believe that the baptized infant in regnerated, because of the very act of being baptized?

Fred


It is not the act of baptism that regenerates but the word of God that is in and with the water, and faith that trusts in the word of God.

Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17845
Mon Sep 27, 2004 4:59 PM
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speratus wrote:
It is not the act of baptism that regenerates but the word of God that is in and with the water, and faith that trusts in the word of God.

(Fred) So, in order to be regenerated, one will need to be baptized correct? Thus, it is safe to assume with your position that you believe that when an infant is baptized that the infant is regenerated? Thus, if that infant grows up to deny the faith he or she has "lost" his or her salvation?

Fred


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Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation [Re: Pilgrim] #17846
Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:23 PM
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Pilgrim writes:

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Your personal view is not to be found in the writings of Martin Luther nor in any of the Confessions of the denominations which came out of the Protestant Reformation.


Wrong on both counts.

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This hereditary sin is so deep and [horrible] a corruption of nature that no reason can understand it, but it must be [learned and] believed from the revelation of Scriptures, Ps. 51, 5; Rom. 6, 12ff ; Ex. 33, 3; Gen. 3, 7ff Hence, it is nothing but error and blindness in regard to this article what the scholastic doctors have taught, namely:

4] That since the fall of Adam the natural powers of man have remained entire and incorrupt, and that man by nature has a right reason and a good will; which things the philosophers teach.

5] Again, that man has a free will to do good and omit evil, and, conversely, to omit good and do evil.

6] Again, that man by his natural powers can observe and keep [do] all the commands of God.

7] Again, that, by his natural powers, man can love God above all things and his neighbor as himself.

8] Again, if a man does as much as is in him, God certainly grants him His grace.

9] Again, if he wishes to go to the Sacrament, there is no need of a good intention to do good, but it is sufficient if he has not a wicked purpose to commit sin; so entirely good is his nature and so efficacious the Sacrament.

10] [Again,] that it is not founded upon Scripture that for a good work the Holy Ghost with His grace is necessary.

11] Such and many similar things have arisen from want of understanding and ignorance as regards both this sin and Christ, our Savior and they are truly heathen dogmas, which we cannot endure.


Smalcald Articles, Martin Luther

The Second Helvetic Confession teaches man has a free will to do evil which, as the Smalcald Articles testifies, is a truly heathen dogma which we cannot endure.

Last edited by speratus; Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:34 PM.
Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation [Re: fredman] #17847
Mon Sep 27, 2004 7:31 PM
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fredman said:
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speratus wrote:
It is not the act of baptism that regenerates but the word of God that is in and with the water, and faith that trusts in the word of God.

(Fred) So, in order to be regenerated, one will need to be baptized correct? Thus, it is safe to assume with your position that you believe that when an infant is baptized that the infant is regenerated?
Fred


No. The Holy Spirit works faith when and where it pleases God in them that hear the gospel. We baptize (and preach)solely on the command of Christ.

Last edited by speratus; Mon Sep 27, 2004 11:56 PM.
Re: The Role Of Works In Our Salvation #17848
Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:13 AM
Tue Sep 28, 2004 12:13 AM
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speratus,

With all due respect, are you sure you are understanding these documents you are saying support the notion that fallen man has no freedom of will whatsoever? Sorry, but I simply cannot find anything in any of the quotes you have so far provided that would support this notion. Be that as it may, the Scriptures, being the sole and final authority in all matters of doctrine, don't even hint at what you are espousing here.

Do you have any Scripture to offer? or even something a bit clearer by Luther or whoever that states this novel idea? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/shrug.gif" alt="" />

In His Grace,


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