Chapter 30, Of the Lord’s Supper

Please note: The following are only rough notes for this chapter and are not a complete commentary. But I am posting them in the event they prove useful until the commentary for this chapter is complete.

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  1. The Supper of the[1] Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed, to be observed in his churches, unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth[2] the sacrifice of himself in his death, confirmation of the faith of[3] believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; 1 Corinthians 10:16, 17,21 )
  • Baptist Catechism #96
  • Q96: How do baptism and the Lord’s Supper become effectual means of salvation?
  • A96: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that administers them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of His Spirit in those who by faith receive them.[4]

 

  • Baptist Catechism #102
  • Q102: What is the Lord’s Supper?
  • A102: The Lord’s supper is an ordinance of the New Testament, instituted by Jesus Christ; wherein by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to his appointment, his death is shown forth, and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment and growth in grace (Mt. 26:26, 27, 28; 1 Cor. 11:23-26; 10:16).

 

The Supper of the Lord Jesus was instituted by him the same night wherein he was betrayed,

  • …the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”   1 Cor 11:23-25 (ESV)

 

to be observed in his churches,

  • So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 1 Cor 11:33 (ESV)
  • On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where we were gathered. Acts 20:7-8 (ESV)
  • And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, Matt 26:27 (ESV)

“The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance.  It was not given to the family, to the state, or to the individual.  Only under the auspices of a local church and only in the gathering of the church is it properly observed.  This is confirmed by the fact that the church must regulate those who are admitted to the Lord’s Supper and the manner in which it is observed.”[5]   Samuel Waldron

 

unto the end of the world, for the perpetual remembrance, and shewing forth the sacrifice of himself in his death,

  • For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Cor 11:26 (ESV)

 

confirmation of the faith of believers in all the benefits thereof, their spiritual nourishment, and growth in him, their further engagement in, and to all duties which they owe to him; and to be a bond and pledge of their communion with him, and with each other.

  • The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 1 Cor 10:16-17 (ESV)
  • You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. 1 Cor 10:21 (ESV)

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  1. In this ordinance[6] Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin[7] of the quick or dead, but only a memorial[8] of that one offering up of himself by himself[9] upon the cross, once for all; and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same. So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable[10], injurious to Christ’s own[11] sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the[12] elect. ( Hebrews 9:25, 26, 28; 1 Corinthians 11:24;Matthew 26:26, 27 )

 

 

 

In this ordinance Christ is not offered up to his Father, nor any real sacrifice made at all for remission of sin of the quick or dead,

  • Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. Heb 9:25-28 (ESV)

Quick: meaning alive, or those living

There is no sacrifice being made in the Lord’s Supper, only a remembrance of that one already made.

 

but only a memorial of that one offering up of himself by himself upon the cross, once for all;

  • “The Lord’s Supper is not to be seen in a literalistic fashion as a sacrifice. It is rather to be viewed as a spiritual, mental thing—as a memorial. Luke 22:19 and 1 Corinthians 11:24-16 use such words as ‘remember, remembrance, proclaim’, repeatedly to describe its essential character.  This means that the benefit, power, or help of the Lord’s Supper comes only in the way that memorials can bring help.  Not magically or physically does the Lord’s Supper help us, but as a memorial—spiritually and mentally.  If this is the case, we must be sure that our minds and spirits are intently engaged when we celebrate this ordinance (1 Cor. 11:27-19).  We must, furthermore, be sure that our minds and spirits are biblically engaged.  If the Lord’s Supper is a visible gospel—a memorial of Christ’s work—then the Lord’s Supper ought never to be isolated from the preaching of the gospel.  Such isolation of the Lord’s Supper has the odour of a superstitious view of the Lord’s Table which views it as something other than a memorial.” [13]   Samuel Waldron

 

 and a spiritual oblation of all possible praise unto God for the same.

 

  • Oblation: the offering of bread and wine to God during the Christian service of Communion;

And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor 11:24 (ESV)

So that the popish sacrifice of the mass, as they call it, is most abominable, injurious to Christ’s own sacrifice the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect.

Having discussed what the Lord’s Table is positively, now the Confession offers its negative description (what it is NOT), or rebuttal to the Roman Catholic perversion.

When a Roman Catholic says that Christ is in the bread and wine, it is to hold that Christ has been sacrificed, anew, each Mass.

  • Transubstantiation: The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox doctrine that the bread and wine of Communion become, in substance, but not appearance, the body and blood of Jesus Christ at consecration.

We might be surprised at the Reformers who died because they denied this popish sacrifice of the Mass. We cannot discuss this issue of Transubstantiation without remembering those Reformers who gave their lives because they would not recant Protestantism and embrace Popery.

This is from J.C. Ryle’s book entitled Five English Reformers:

  • “They were either to give up Protestantism and receive Popery, or else they were burned alive. Refusing to recant, they were one by one handed over to the secular power, publically brought out and chained to stakes, publically surrounded with faggots, and publically sent out of the world by that most cruel and painful deaths, the death by fire. All these are broad [well known] facts which all the apologists of Rome can never gainsay [oppose or contradict] or deny.”[14] J.C. Ryle
  • In 1555 there were burnt 71
  • In 1555 there were burnt 89
  • In 1555 there were burnt 88
  • In 1555 there were burnt 40
  • 288[15]

 

Ryle indicates that although these martyrs may have been asked by the Roman Catholic prosecutor other questions, “…all, without an exception, were called to special account about the real presence, and in every case their refusal to admit the doctrine formed one principal cause of their condemnation.”[16]

Hear what [John] Rogers said:

  • “I was asked whether I believed in the sacraments to be the very body and blood of our Saviour Christ that was born of the Virgin Mary, and hanged on the cross, really and substantially? I answered, ‘I think it to be false. I cannot understand really and substantially to signify otherwise than corporally [related to the body]. But corporally [physically] Christ is the only in heaven, and so Christ cannot be corporally in your sacrament.’

And was therefore condemned and burned.[17]

 

Gardiner’s last words to his wife, children, and watching parishioners: “For God’s sake beware of Popery: for though it appear to have in it unity, yet the same is vanity and antichristianity, and not in Christ’s faith and verity”[18]

The Roman Catholic Church said this in the Council of Trent 1551

ON THE MOST HOLY SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST

CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.

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“The glory of the cross is that on the cross Christ satisfied the justice of God against the sins of all his people and accomplished redemption once and for all.  The sacrifice of the mass denied that.  If we understand and believe these truths, the popish sacrifice of the mass will be as abominable to us as it was to the authors of the Confession.”[19]                                                       Samuel Waldron

Make no mistake; these martyrs gave their lives for the pure biblical gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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  1. The Lord Jesus hath, in this ordinance, appointed his ministers to pray, and bless the elements of bread and wine, and thereby to set them apart from a common to a holy use, and to take and break the bread; to take the cup, and, they communicating also themselves, to give both to the communicants. ( 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, etc. )

The ministers and the congregation are to take of the bread and the wine.

  • Communicant: somebody who receives the Christian sacrament of Communion

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.                                                  1 Cor 11:23-26 (ESV)

Here we see Jesus took part and gave it to his disciple to take part.

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  1. The denial of the cup to the people, worshipping the elements, the lifting them up, or carrying them about for adoration, and reserving them for any pretended religious use, are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance[20], and to the institution of Christ. ( Matthew 26:26-28;Matthew 15:9;Exodus 20:4, 5 )

Five perversions of the Lord Supper that the Roman Catholic Church practices:

  1. The denial of the cup to the people (See Catholic Encyclopedia below)

2.Worshipping the elements: See Exodus 20:1-6.

3.The lifting them up: An outward motion of worship

4.Or carrying them about for adoration: outward motion of worship

5.And reserving them for any pretended religious use: the bread and wine are not for any other religious purpose than the Lord’s Supper.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states:

  1. Catholic doctrine and modern discipline
  • (2) Regarding the merits of the Utraquist controversy, if we assume the doctrinal points involved — viz. the absence of a Divine precept imposing Communion under both kinds, the integral presence and reception of Christ under either species, and the discretionary power of the Church over everything connected with the sacraments that is not divinely determined the question of giving or refusing the chalice to the laity becomes purely practical and disciplinary, and is to be decided by a reference to the two fold purpose to be attained, of safeguarding the reverence due to this most august sacrament and of facilitating and encouraging its frequent and fervent reception. Nor can it be doubted that the modern Catholic discipline best secures these ends. The danger of spilling the Precious Blood and of other forms of irreverence; the inconvenience and delay in administering the chalice to large numbers — the difficulty of reservation for Communion outside of Mass: the not unreasonable objection on hygienic and other grounds, to promiscuous drinking from the same chalice, which of itself alone would act as a strong deterrent to frequent Communion in the case of a great many otherwise well-disposed people; these and similar “weighty and just reasons” against the Utraquist practice are more than sufficient to justify the Church in forbidding it.[21]

 

 

are all contrary to the nature of this ordinance, and to the institution of Christ.

  • “In every Roman Catholic Church, at the back of the alter, there is a so-called tabernacle. It is usually a gold box of sorts. The tabernacle contains the consecrated element, which means that Christ is truly present at all times in the tabernacle. A Roman Catholic, upon entering the church sanctuary, before being seated, genuflects.  The priest, ministering in front of the altar, genuflects repeatedly during the service when he passes the tabernacle.  They genuflect because they believe Christ is physically present in the tabernacle.  It was in opposition to such a view that section four was written.”[22]    R.C. Sproul

In vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”  Matt 15:9 (ESV)

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,   Ex 20:4-5 (ESV)

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  1. The outward elements in this ordinance[23], duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively[24], they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ, albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before. ( 1 Corinthians 11:27; 1 Corinthians 11:26-28 )

 

The outward elements in this ordinance[23], duly set apart to the use ordained by Christ, have such relation to him crucified, as that truly, although in terms used figuratively, they are sometimes called by the names of the things they represent, to wit, the body and blood of Christ,

The Roman Catholic Church fails to see the distinction between the figurative use of language and that which the figure represents. Sometimes language uses the figurative as if it were the thing itself; the distinction is implied.

The Scriptures tell us that Jesus gave thanks and then broke the bread, and said, “This is my body given for you.” So Jesus broke the bread–you can imagine the loaf being broken in two pieces–and immediately states “This is my body broken for you.” By this gesturing action (we can’t see that action as the disciples did) and referring to the bread (this) as his body, the disciples would have clearly understood he meant the bread broken symbolized his body.  Obviously his physical body is holding the symbol of his body—two different things.  So Jesus says this is my body, as if he were saying look this bread being broken represents what is going to happen to my body.

To interpret that Christ meant that the bread would literally be his body is to ignore the common use of language and to strain language in a unnecessary way.

 

 

 

albeit, in substance and nature, they still remain truly and only bread and wine, as they were before.  

The bread and wine remain only bread and wine-just as they were before.

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  1. That doctrine which maintains a change of the substance of bread and wine, into the substance of Christ’s body and blood, commonly called transubstantiation, by consecration of a priest, or by any other way, is repugnant not to Scripture alone, but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance[25], and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries. ( Acts 3:21; Luke 14:6, 39; 1 Corinthians 11:24, 25 )

This portion is somewhat self-explanatory.

  • Whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.   Acts 3:21 (ESV)
  • He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,   Luke 24:6 (ESV)

 

but even to common sense and reason, overthroweth the nature of the ordinance, and hath been, and is, the cause of manifold superstitions, yea, of gross idolatries.

Catholic doctrine is against all common sense and in the end is idolatry.

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  1. Worthy receivers, outwardly partaking of the visible elements in this ordinance[26], do then also inwardly by faith, really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually receive, and feed upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally, but spiritually present to the faith of believers in that ordinance, as the elements themselves are to their outward senses. ( 1 Corinthians 10:16;1 Corinthians 11:23-26 )
  • Baptist Catechism
  • Q104: What is required to be the worthy receiving of the Lord’s supper?
  • A104: It is required of them that would worthily partake of the Lord’s super, that they examine themselves of their knowledge to discern the Lord’s body, of their faith to feed upon him, of their repentance, love, and new obedience; lest, coming unworthily, they eat and drink judgement to themselves.

 

 

 

 really and indeed

  • “I. But a spiritual presence is a true and real presence, because it comes and flows from true and real causes: namely, from faith and the Holy Spirit.”
  • “II. Because in the right use of this sacrament Christ is united to a man by faith and by the Holy Spirit.”
  • “IV. Because those who eat and drink unworthily are said not to discern the Lord’s body; and therefore to such as eat and drink worthily the body and blood of Christ must be present, according to their spiritual sense, namely, faith (1 Cor. 11:24).” [27] David Dickson

Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7 (ESV)

  • Carnally: of the flesh, or body.
  • Corporally: the body.

The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?     1 Cor 10:16 (ESV)

For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Cor 11:23-26 (ESV)

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  1. All ignorant and ungodly persons, as they are unfit to enjoy communion with Christ, so are they unworthy of the Lord’s table, and cannot, without great sin against him[28], while they remain such, partake of these holy mysteries, or be admitted thereunto; yea, whosoever shall receive unworthily, are guilty of the body and blood of the Lord, eating and drinking judgment to themselves.[29] ( 2 Corinthians 6:14, 15; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Matthew 7:6 )

The God, who does not regard the prayers of the wicked, certainly will not share his benefits with any but those who come to the true God His way, to the only Mediator between God and Man, the Lord Jesus Christ, by faith and repentance.

  • Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 2 Cor 6:14-15 (ESV)
  • For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 1 Cor 11:29 (ESV)
  • “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. Matt 7:6 (ESV)

Let’s end with this Puritan Lord’s Supper Prayer from Valley of Vision:

The Lord’s Supper

  • GOD OF ALL GOOD,
  • bless thee for the means of grace;
  • teach me to see in them thy loving purposes
  • and the joy of and strength of my soul.
  • Thou hast prepared for me a feast;
  • And though I am unworthy to sit down as a guest,
  • I wholly rest on the merits of Jesus,
  • And hide myself beneath his righteousness;
  • When I hear his tender invitation
  • And see his wonderous grace,
  • I cannot hesitate, but must come to thee in love.
  • By thy Spirit enliven my faith rightly to discern
  • And spiritually to apprehend the Saviour.
  • While I gaze upon the emblems of
  • My Saviour’s death,
  • May I ponder why he died, and hear him say,
  • ‘I gave my life to purchase yours,
  • Presented myself an offering to expiate
  • Your sin,
  • Shed my blood to blot out your guilt,
  • Opened my side to make you clean,
  • Endured your curses to set you free,
  • Bore your condemnation to satisfy
  • Divine justice.’
  • O may I rightly grasp the breadth and length
  • Of this design,
  • Draw near, obey, extend the hand,
  • Take the bread, receive the cup,
  • Eat and drink, testify before all men
  • That I do for myself, gladly, in faith,
  • Reverence and love, receive my Lord,
  • To be my life, strength, nourishment, joy delight.
  • In the supper I remember his eternal love,
  • Boundless grace, infinite compassion,
  • Agony, cross, redemption,
  • And receive assurance of pardon, adoption, life, glory.
  • As the outward elements nourish my body,
  • So may thy indwelling Spirit invigorate
  • My soul,
  • Until that day when I hunger and thirst
  • No more,
  • And sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.[30]

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[1] The 1689 Confession adds this to the Savoy and WCF. The source is presumably Collins.

[2] The 1689 Confession adds this to the WCF. The source is the Savoy Declaration.

[3] The 1689 Confession adds this to the Savoy and WCF. The source is presumably Collins.

[4] Contrast this with the Westminster Shorter Catechism: Q91: How do the sacraments become effectual means of salvation?A91: The sacraments become effectual means of salvation, not from any virtue in them, or in him that doth administer them; but only by the blessing of Christ, and the working of his Spirit in them that by faith receive them.

[5] Samuel Waldron, 1689 Baptists Confession of Faith: A Modern Exposition (Evangelical Press: Darlington, England), pg. 364.

[6] The 1689 Confession adds “ordinance” to the Savoy and WCF in lieu of their word “sacrament.”

[7] The 1689 Confession adds the plural “sins” in lieu of “sins” in the WCF. The source is the Savoy Declaration.

[8] The 1689 Confession adds “memorial” in lieu of “commemorate” in the WCF. The source is the Savoy Declaration.

[9] The 1689 Confession follows the WCF here, and does not follow the Savoy Declaration. This is unusual, and so I note it.  Usually the 1689 Confession will follow the Savoy or neither the Savoy or WCF.

[10] The 1689 Confession adds “abominable” in lieu of “abominably” in the WCF. The source is the Savoy Declaration.

[11] The 1689 Confession adds “own” in lieu of “one” in the WCF. The source is the Savoy Declaration.

[12] The 1689 Confession adds “the” in lieu of “his” in the WCF.  The source us the Savoy Declaration.

[13] Samuel Waldron, 1689 Baptists Confession of Faith: A Modern Exposition (Evangelical Press: Darlington, England), pg. 365.

[14] J.C. Ryle, Five English Reformers (The Banner of Truth Trust: Edinburgh), pg. 7. The Five Reformers in the book are: John Hooper, Rowland Taylor, Hugh Latimer, John Bradford, and Nicholas Ridley.  Ryle makes the point that these names should be household names among.

[15] Ibid, pg. 7

[16] Ibid, pg. 23.

[17] J.C. Ryle, Five English Reformers (The Banner of Truth Trust: Edinburgh), pg. 23-24.

[18] Ibid, pg 13. This is quote from Foxes Acts and Monuments, Vol 3., P,144.

[19] Samuel Waldron, 1689 Baptists Confession of Faith: A Modern Exposition (Evangelical Press: Darlington, England), pg. 365.

[20] The 1689 Confession uses “ordinance” in lieu if “sacrament” in the Savoy and WCF. The source is presumably Collins.

[21] Source: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04175a.htm

[22] R.C. Sproul, Truths We Confess (P&R Publishing: New Jersey), Volume III, Pg. 147.

[23] The 1689 Confession uses “ordinance” in lieu if “sacrament” in the Savoy and WCF. The source is presumably Collins.

[24] The 1689 Confession adds “although in terms figuratively” in lieu of “yet sacramentally only” in the Savoy and WCF.

[25]The 1689 Confession uses “ordinance” in lieu if “sacrament” in the Savoy and WCF. The source is presumably Collins.

[26]The 1689 Confession uses “ordinance” in lieu if “sacrament” in the Savoy and WCF. The source is presumably Collins.

[27] David Dickson, Truth Over Error (The Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh), pg. 238.

[28] The 1689 Confession uses “him” in lieu if “Christ” in the WCF. The source is the Savoy.

[29] The 1689 Confession adds this to the WCF. The source is the Savoy.

[30] Valley of Vision (The Banner of Truth Trust: Edinburgh), pg. 360.

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