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Touching Incidents: Part 2

By S.B. Shaw


      We knew a preacher, still living, who was appointed to the charge of a church in Springfield, Ill. The church seemed very much depressed. It's life was at a low ebb. It was in the midst of the harvest, in the hot weather, when things seemed most depressed. The pastor, a holy man of God, announced on Sabbath evening to a small congregation of a score or two of persons, "There will be a prayer-meeting in this church to-morrow morning at sunrise for the revival of the work of God and for the conversion of sinners." The people wondered at the notice, and went home. The pastor went up into his study, which was in the parsonage by the side of the church, and gave that night to prayer. Just as the East began to lighten up a little with the coming day he had the assurance that his prayer was answered, and casts himself down on a sofa for a little rest. Presently he awoke suddenly to see the sun shining on the wall over his head. He sprang up and hooked out of the window to see how late it was, when he saw the sun just rising above the horizon. Looking down into the yard by the church, he was overjoyed to see the church crowded with people, and the yard foul, and teams crowding into the street for a long distance. God had heard his prayer, and had sent out his Spirit into the community, and there had been no sleeping in Springfield that night. People in the country who knew nothing of the appointment got up in the night, hitched up their teams, and drove into town and to the church to find out what the matter was. A good man had taken hold of God. The prayer-meeting began, and was closed that night at eleven o'clock. Several souls were converted. A gracious work broke out, and the community was greatly blessed. The foregoing we certify to on the highest authority, having it from the lips of the man himself, whom every body knowing him believes as soon as any thing outside of the Bible. We greatly need earnest, persevering, believing prayer. One night of such prayer kept by all the Church would startle the nation. We sorely need a mighty baptism of power. We have all the other elements of success. We lack no machinery. We have truth, and the experience of its saving power and the appliances. What we now need is the outpouring of the Spirit upon us as a people. We must rekindle our fires. We must make our churches centers of saving power. One hour a day spent by the church in earnest prayer for the revival of God's work would make the coming year the most memorable in the history of the church. If you do not feel burdened, ask for the spirit of prayer, and that shall be given you. Forsake your sins and leave yourself with Cod, and give yourself to prayer, and all over the land God will hear and answer, and pour out his Spirit, and bestow his power, and make this year a revival year. - Bishop C.H. Fowler


      Wending her way every Sabbath to a school in the west end of London, might have been seen a young girl, named Mary Jane Howes. Attached in no common degree to both her teachers and fellow scholars, nothing but sickness ever kept her away from school. Naturally of an obedient and kind disposition, she was never known to tell a lie; but with all this natural amiability, the great change which alone fits the soul for an entrance into the kingdom of heaven had never taken place in that young heart. She had often been touched, 'awakened by the Holy Spirit to feel her need of this great salvation, but had neglected to seek it with all her heart. Her last sickness was brought on by what appeared at first to be only a slight cold. As other symptoms followed, her mother took her to a doctor who pronounced her case to be dangerous, advising that she should keep her bed. She became rapidly worse, and being alarmed, her parents sent for one of the agents of the Mission, Mr. Garland. By her bedside he prayed for her with great fervor, and early on the following morning repeated his visit. At night she had become so much worse that they had sent for him, for they feared she was dying. No one had told her of her danger, and Mr. Garland requested all except her mother to leave the room.

      He then asked her if she thought her end was near, and if she felt prepared to meet her God. When the awful danger of her case dawned upon her, she exclaimed: "No, I am not prepared to meet my God; but I am not dying. I hope soon to recover, and be a help to my dear mother." Mr. Garland then told her that to all appearance, she would be in the world of spirits before many hours had passed, and urged her to seek the mercy of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Oh!" she exclaimed, "I am not fit to die; l am not converted; I can't die!"

      Seeing her great distress, her visitor kept pointing her to Jesus, praying with her most earnestly, the expression all the time deepening of her awful danger, repeating to her the gracious invitation: " Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out." He left her for a little while. When he departed sloe looked at him with a look of agony and despair, and exclaimed: "O Mr. Garland my soul! My poor soul! I am unprepared for death and judgment."

      Despair seemed to have settled on her soul, and was depicted on her countenance. It was heart-rending to hear her groans, and see her tears. After a while she asked those present to sing the hymn beginning:

      "Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
      Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave
      Weep over the erring one, hilt up the fallen,
      Tell them of Jesus the mighty to save."

      When they had sung the whole through she said:

      "O sing it again!" While they were singing the second verse:

      "Though they were slighting Him still He is waiting,
      Waiting the penitent child to receive;
      Plead with them earnestly; plead with thee, gently,
      He will forgive if they only believe,"

      despair yielded to faith, and with a joyful smile she exclaimed: " Jesus loves me; I can believe; I am saved l saved through the blood of the Lamb! My burden is all gone, my sins are all forgiven. I can die now. Jesus is mine, I am his. Hallelujah!'

      She now desired all present to join in singing:

      "Safe in the arms of Jesus,
      Safe on His gentle breast;
      There by His love o'ershaded,
      Sweetly my soul shall rest.
      Hark, 'tis the voice of angels,
      Borne in a song to me,
      Over the fields of glory
      Over the jasper sea."

      Each of her family, father, mother and two brothers were called, and with tears and earnest entreaties she plead with them to meet her in heaven. Being now quite exhausted she laid down for a few minutes, and appeared to be in a calm sleep, when suddenly starting up she said; "Sing another hymn, for I feel so happy I must sing." A friend commenced singing: "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by."

      "No! No! Not that " she exclaimed, "Jesus is not passing by; he is here in my room - in my soul. Sing: "Ring the bells of heaven, O there is joy today." And on she talked, breathing forth words of rapturous joy and thanksgiving. After a while her mother said: "Are you not tired, my dear Mary?"

      "Oh no!" she replied. "I am crossing the river, but the water is not deep. I can feel the bottom, and like David, I can walk through the valley of the shadow of death. It is the way home to my Father's house above."

      A little while after, she said to her mother: "Hark, mother! Hark! They're singing. Oh l such singing! I see angels. They all have long white robes, and golden crowns on their heads. Dear mother, this must be the valley of death. It seems dark and long, but I do not fear. Jesus is holding my hand, and I see a light at the other end, and the angels with outstretched arms to receive me, and I shall have a harp, a golden harp and, oh! Won't I strike it loud when I reach the other side!

      The enemy was suffered to tempt and distress her for a little while, and when he was overcome, with a sweet smile she cried out: "He is gone now; I only see Jesus"

      Her sight now began to fail, but she was conscious to the last. "Can you see me, Mary?" said her mother.

      "No," she replied, " I cannot see you, but I do see Jesus. I am nearly home now. All sing:

      Who, who are these beside the chilly wave,
      Just on the borders of the silent grave,
      Shouting Jesus' power to save,
      Washed in the blood of the Lamb?'"

      She joined in the singing, and when it was all over said:

      "Mother, one more kiss." Shortly after she exclaimed: "Jesus! Jesus! My - precious --Jesus." Her last words, and in a few moments another soul had joined the innumerable company around the throne. - Selected by Sarah A. Cooke.


      A friend of mine, seeking for objects of charity, got into the room of a tenement house. It was vacant. He saw a ladder pushed through the coiling. Thinking that perhaps some poor creature had crept up there, he climbed the ladder, drew himself up through the hole, and found himself under the rafters. There was no light but that which came through a bull's-eye in the place of a tile. Soon he saw a heap of chips and shavings, and on top a boy about ten years old.

      "Boy, what are you doing there?"

      "Please don't tell anybody--- please, sir."

      "What are you doing here?"

      "Don't tell anybody, sir; I'm hiding." "What are you hiding from?"

      "Don't tell anybody, if you please, sir."

      "Where's your mother?"

      "Mother is dead"

      "Where's your father?"

      "Hush don't tell him don't tell him! but look here!"

      He turned himself on his face, and through the rags of his jacket and shirt, my friend saw the boy's flesh was bruised, and the skin broken.

      "Why, my boy, who beat you like that?"

      "Father did, sir."

      "What did your father beat you like that for?"

      "Father got drunk, sir, and beat me 'cos I wouldn't steal."

      "Did you ever steal?"

      "Yes, sir. I was a street thief once."

      "And why don't you steal anymore?"

      "Please, sir, I went to the mission school, and they told me there of God, and of heaven, and of Jesus; and they taught me, 'Thou shalt not steal; and I'll never steal again, if father kills me for it. But, please, sir, don't tell him."

      "My boy, you must not stay here; you will die. Now, you wait patiently here for a little time; I'm going away to see a lady. We will get a better place for you than this." Thank you, sir; but please, sir, would you like to hear me sing a little hymn?

      Bruised, battered, forlorn, friendless, motherless, hiding away from an infuriated father, he had a little hymn to sing.

      "Yes, I will hear you sing your little hymn."

      He raised himself on his elbow and then sang:

      "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild,

      Look upon a little child;

      Suffer me to come to Thee.

      Fain would I to Thee be brought,

      Gracious Lord, forbid it not;

      In the kingdom of thy grace

      Give a little child a place."

      "That's the little hymn, sir. Good-bye."

      The gentleman went away, came back again in less than two hours, and climbed the ladder. There were the chips, and there was the little boy with one hand by his side, and the other tucked in his bosom, underneath the little ragged shirt dead. -- John B. Cough.


      Two or three times in my life God in His mercy touched my heart, and twice before my conversion I was under deep conviction.

      During the American war, I was surgeon in the United States army, and after the battle of Gettysburg there were many hundred wounded soldiers in my hospital, amongst whom were twenty-eight who had been wounded so severely that they required my service at once. Some whose legs had to be amputated, some their arms, and others both their arm and leg. One of the latter was a boy who had been but three months in the service, and being too young for a soldier. He enlisted as a drummer. When my assistant surgeon and one of my stewards wished to administer chloroform, previous to the amputation, he turned his head aside and positively refused to receive it. When the steward told him that it was the doctor's orders, he said: "Send the doctor to me."

      When I came to his bedside, I said: "Young man, why do you refuse chloroform? When I found you on the battlefield you were so far gone that I thought it hardly worth while to pick you up; but when you opened those large blue eyes I thought you had a mother somewhere who might, at that moment, be thinking of her boy. I did not want you to die on the field, so ordered you to be brought here; but you have now lost so much blood that you are too weak to endure an operation without chloroform, therefore you had better let me give you some." He laid his hand on mine, and looking me in the face, said: "Doctor, one Sunday afternoon, in the Sabbath-school, when I was nine and a half years old, I gave my heart to Christ. I learned to trust Him then; I have been trusting him ever since, and I can trust Him now. He is my strength and my stimulant. He will support me while you amputate my arm and leg." I then asked him if he would allow me to give him a little brandy. Again he looked me in the face saying: " Doctor, when I was about five years old my mother knelt by my side, with her arm around my neck, and said: ' Charlie, I am now praying to Jesus that you may never know the taste of strong drink your papa died a drunkard, and went down to a drunkard's grave, and I promised God, if it were His will that you should grow up, that you should warn young men against the bitter cup.' I am now seventeen years old, but I have never tasted anything stronger than tea and coffee, and as I am, in all probability, about to go into the presence of my God, would you send me there with brandy on my stomach?"

      The look that boy gave me I shall never forget. At that time I hated Jesus, but I respected that boy's loyalty to his Savior; and when I saw how he loved and trusted Him to the last, there was something that touched my heart, and I did for that boy what I had never done for any other soldier

      I asked him if he wanted to see his chaplain. "Oh! Yes, sir," was the answer.

      When Chaplain R. came, he at once knew the boy from having often met him at the tent prayer-meetings, and taking his hand said: "Well, Charlie, I am sorry to see you in this sad condition." "Oh, I am all right, sir," he answered. "The doctor offered me chloroform, but I declined it; then he wished to give me brandy, which I also declined; and now, if my Savior calls me, I can go to Him in my right mind." "You may not die, Charlie," said the chaplain but if the Lord should call you away, is there anything I can do for you after you are gone? " "Chaplain, please put your hand under my pillow and take my little Bible; in it you will find my mother's address; please send it to her, and write a letter, and tell her that since the day I left home I have never let a day pass without reading a portion of God's word, and daily praying that God would bless my dear mother; no matter whether on the march, on the battle-field, or in the hospital." "Is there anything else I can do for you, my lad?" asked the chaplain. " Yes; please write a letter to the superintendent of the Sands-street Sunday-school, Brooklyn, N.Y., and tell him that the kind words, many prayers, and good advice he gave me I have never forgotten; they have followed me through all the dangers of battle; and now, in my dying hour, I ask my dear Savior to bless my dear old superintendent. That is all."

      Turning towards me he said: "Now, doctor, I ant ready; and I promise you that I will not even groan while you take off my arm and leg, if you will not offer me chloroform." I promised, but I had not the courage to take the knife in my hand to perform the operation without first going into the next room and taking a little stimulant myself to perform my duty.

      While cutting through the flesh, Charlie Coulson never groaned; but when I took the saw to separate the bone, the lad took the corner of his pillow in his mouth, and all that I could hear him utter was: "O Jesus, blessed Jesus! Stand by me now." He kept his promise, and never groaned.

      That night I could not sleep, for whichever way I turned I saw those soft blue eyes, and when I closed mine the words, "Blessed Jesus, stand by me now," kept ringing in my ears. Between twelve and one o'clock I left my bed and visited the hospital; a thing I had never done before unless specially called, but such was my desire to see that boy. Upon my arrival there I was informed by the night steward that sixteen of the hopeless cases had dies, and been carried down to the dead-house. "How is Charlie Coulson, is he among the dead?" "I asked. "No, sir," answered the steward, "he is sleeping as sweetly as a babe." When I came up to the bed which he lay, one of the nurses informed me that, about nine o clock, two member of the Y.M.C.A. came through the hospital to read and sing a hymn. They were accompanied by Chaplain R., who knelt by Charlie Coulson's bed, and offered up a fervent and soul-stirring prayer; after which they sang, while still upon their knees, the sweetest of all hymns, "Jesus, lover of my soul,: in which Charlie joined. I could not understand how that boy, who had undergone such excruciating pain, could sing.

      Five days after I had amputated that dear boy's arm and leg, he sent for me, and it was from him on that day I heard the first gospel sermon. "Doctor," he said, "my time has come; I do not expect to see another sun rise; but thank God, I am ready to go; and before I die I desire to thank you with all my heart for your kindness to me. Doctor, you are a Jew, you do not believe in Jesus; will you please stand here and see me die, trusting my Savior to the last moment of my life?" I tried to stay, but I could not; for I had not the courage to stand by and see a Christian boy die rejoicing in the love of a Jesus whom I had been taught to hate, so I hurriedly left the room. About twenty minutes later a steward, who found me sitting in my private office covering my face with my hand, said: "Doctor, Charlie Coulson wishes to see you." "I have just seen him," I answered, "and I cannot see him again." "But, doctor, he says he must see you once more before hoe dies." I now made up my mind to see him, say an endearing word, and let him die; but I was determined that no word of his should influence me in the least so far as his Jesus was concerned. When I entered the hospital I saw he was sinking fast, so I sat down by his bed. Asking me to take his hand, he said, " Doctor, I hove you because you are a Jew; the best friend I have found in this world was a Jew." I asked him who that was. He answered: "Jesus Christ, to whom I want to introduce you before I die; and will you promise me, doctor, that what I am about to say to you, you will never forget?" I promised; and he said: "Five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul."

      These words went deep into my heart. I could not understand how, when I was causing him the most intense pain, he could forget all about himself and think of nothing but his Savior and my unconverted soul. All I could say to him was: "Well, my dear boy, you will soon be all right." With these words I left him, and twelve minutes later he fell asleep, "safe in the arms of Jesus."

      Hundreds of soldiers died in ray hospital during the war; but I only followed one to the grave, and that one was Charlie Coulson, the drummer boy; and I rode three miles to see him buried. I had him dressed in a new uniform, and placed in an officer's coffin, with a United States flag over it.

      That boy's dying words made a deep impression upon me. I was rich at that time so far as money is concerned, but I would have given every penny I possessed if I could have felt towards Christ as Charlie did; but that feeling cannot be bought with money. Alas! I soon forgot all about my Christian soldier's little sermon, but I could not forget the boy himself. I now know that at that time I was under deep conviction of sin; but I fought against Christ with all the hatred of an orthodox Jew for nearly ten years, until, finally, the dear boy's prayer was answered, and God converted my soul.

      About eighteen months after my conversion, I attended a prayer-meeting one evening in time city of Brooklyn. It was one of those meetings when Christians testify to the loving kindness of their Savior. After several of them had spoken, an elderly lady arose and said "Dear friends, this may be the last time that it is my privilege to testify for Christ. My family physician told me yesterday that my right lung is nearly gone, and my left bong is very much affected; so at the best I have boot a short time to be with you but what is left of it belongs to Jesus. Oh! it is a great joy to know that I shall meet my boy with Jesus in heaven.

      My son was not only a soldier for this country, but also a soldier for Christ. He was wounded at the battle of Gettysburg, and fell into the hands of a Jewish doctor, who amputated his arm and leg, but he lived five days after the operation. The chaplain of the regiment wrote me a letter, and sent me my boy's Bible. In that letter I was informed that my Charlie in his dying hour sent for that Jewish doctor, and said to him "Doctor, before I die I wish to tell you that five days ago, while you amputated my arm and leg, I prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ to convert your soul.

      When I heard this body's testimony, I could sit still no longer. I left my seat, crossed the room and taking her hand, said "God bless you, my dear sister; your boy's prayer has been heard and answered. I am the Jewish doctor for whom your Charlie prayed, and his Savior is now my Savior." -- Dr. M.L.R.


      At one of our children's meetings last summer, I invited the conductor of the train running to Cincinnati (who was a Christian man) to talk to the children. After speaking of his work among the prisoners of the Cincinnati jail, he proceeded to relate an instance from his own life, proving God's willingness to supply temporal needs in answer to the prayer of faith. When he was a very young boy, his mother was left a widow, with six children dependent upon her for the supply of their temporal wants.

      It was a cold winter's day when all their provisions were exhausted; and as there was no human source to which to look, they took their needs to the dear heavenly Father, who promises to hear the cry of the widow and fatherless. They had perfect confidence that He would hear and answer prayer.

      After eating their last morsel, they all went to bed and slept as sweetly as though they had an abundance at hand. In the morning the mother, with great cheerfulness, went about her work, setting the table, and making arrangements for breakfast, when there came a rap. She went to the door, and found a perfect stranger, who said the Lord had sent him to supply their present wants, and he came in, bringing provisions enough to last them a long time.

      The stranger said he was awakened at midnight, and something told him of the situation of this poor family. Not withstanding he lived several miles distant, he and his good wife arose, prepared their charities, and the husband set out, finding the place in time for their breakfast. How blessed to have parents teach by precept and example such beautiful lessons of trust! --Lily Blake Blakeney Howe.


      A prominent minister in Canada relates the following remarkable instance of God's miraculous care over His people: "I am frequently impressed by the Spirit, to perform actions, at the time unaccountable to myself. These impressions are so vivid that I dare not disobey them.

      "Some time ago, on a stormy night, I was suddenly impressed to go to the distant house of an aged couple, and there to pray. So imperative was the call, that I harnessed the horse and drove to the spot, fastened the horse to the shed, and entered the house unperceived by a door, which had been left open. There, kneeling down, I poured out my petitions to God, in an audible voice, for the divine protection over the inmates; after which I departed and returned home. Months after, I was visiting one of the principle prisons in Canada, and moving amongst the prisoners, was accosted by one of them, who claimed to know me. I had no recollection of the convict, and was fairly startled when the latter said: "Do you remember going to such a house one night, and offering prayer for the inmates?" I told him I did, and asked how he came to know anything about it. He said: "I had gone to that house to steal a sum of money, known to be in the possession of the old man. When you drove into the yard, I though you were he, and intended to kill you while you were hitching your horses. I saw when you spoke to the horse that you were a stranger. I followed you into the house, and heard your prayer. You prayed God to protect the old people from violence of any kind and especially from murder; and if there was any hand uplifted to strike them, that it ought be paralyzed." Then time prisoner pointed to his right arm, which hung lifeless by his side, saying: Do you see that arm? It was paralyzed on the spot, and I have never moved it since. Of course I left the place without doing any harm, but am here now, for other offenses." -- Reported by Lily Blake Blakeney Howe.


      The grasp of the mind of childhood upon the great truths of religion is frequently felt most perceptibly when the little sufferers are near their end. When a boy we heard the narration of a three or four-year old daughter of good parents living in the Southern country. She sickened, and medical skill proved unavailing to restore her. The tiny creature suspected the truth herself, and asked her father if the doctor had not said she must die. Being answered affirmatively, she was silent for a moment, and then said: "Papa, the grave is dark; oh, it is so dark! Won't you go down with me into it?" The stricken parent explained the impossibility, whereupon she said: "Papa, let mamma go with me, then." All who stood around the little creature were in tears, and she began in her own simple way to pray to God. Before expiring her face brightened, as she said: "Pa, the grave is not dark now. I know that you and mamma can't go with me, but Jesus will go with me into the grave."

      "I went once," says Rev. C.H. Fowler, D.D., " to see a dying girl whom the world had roughly treated. She never had a father, she never knew her mother. Her home had been the poor-house, her couch a hospital-cot; and yet, as she had staggered in her weakness there, she had picked up a little of the alphabet, enough to spell out the New Testament, and she had touched the hem of the Master's garment, and had learned the new song. And I never trembled in the presence of such majesty as I did in the majesty of her presence as she came near the crossing. 'Oh, sir!' she said, 'God sends his angels. I have read in his word " Are they not ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them who shall be heirs of salvation? " And when I am lying in my cot, they stand about me on this floor; and when the heavy darkness comes, and this poor side aches so severely, he comes, for he says: "Lo, I am with you," and he slips his soft hand under my aching side, and I sleep, I rest.'

      The instances of heavenly ministries at the bedside of dying children are not rare. "Good-bye, papa; good-bye, mamma," said a sweet eight-year-old, dying in Baltimore "the angels have come to carry me to heaven! " And, sure enough, in a few moments, the heavenly convoy were bearing his freed spirit upwards to the skies.

      A contributor to the National Era, who was an eye witness to the scene, narrates how a little girl -- a lovely and intelligent child-who had lost her mother too early to fix the loved features in remembrance, began to fade away early. As she reclined on the lap of the friend who took a mother's care of her, she would throw her wasted arm around her neck, and say: "Now tell me about mamma." And when the oft-told story had been repeated, she would ask, softly: "Take me into the parlor I want to see my mamma." The request was never refused, and the affectionate sick child would lie for hours gazing on her mother's portrait. But the hour came at last, and weeping neighbors assembled to see the little child die. "Do you know me darling?" sobbed close to the ear the voice that was dearest but it awoke no answer. All at once a brightness, as if flashed from the throne, beamed upon the colorless face. The eyelids opened, and the lips parted; the little hands were waved upwards, as, in the last impulsive effort, she looked piercingly into the far above. " Ah John " she cried, with surprise and transport in her tone-and passed with that breath to her mother's bosom. Said a distinguished divine, who witnessed the scene " If I had never believed in the ministration of departed ones before, I could not doubt it now."

      Bearing upon the same point is the story which history brings of the little son of Maria Antoinette, nine years of age, who was fastened in a cell, and his food thrust through a hole in the upper part of the door. Brought out after a year's confinement, during which period that door never once opened, he was brought out to die. "O," said he, "the music, the music, how fine" "Where?" "Why, up there, up there!"

      And again he repeated the exclamation: "O, the music, how fine I wish my sister could hear it" "Music? Where?" again asked his attendants. "Up there, up there" said the dying dauphin. "O, how fine I hear my mother's voice among them." And, with these words, he went to join her, whom at that time he did not know to be dead! " -- J.H. Potts, in the Golden Dawn.

Back to S.B. Shaw index.

See Also:
   Touching Incidents: Introduction and Preface
   Touching Incidents: Part 1
   Touching Incidents: Part 2
   Touching Incidents: Part 3
   Touching Incidents: Part 4
   Touching Incidents: Part 5
   Touching Incidents: Part 6
   Touching Incidents: Part 7
   Touching Incidents: Part 8
   Touching Incidents: Part 9
   Touching Incidents: Part 10
   Touching Incidents: Part 11
   Touching Incidents: Part 12
   Touching Incidents: Part 13
   Touching Incidents: Part 14
   Touching Incidents: Part 15
   Touching Incidents: Part 16


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