The Gift of Charity – Moroni 7:1-48

1 And now I, Moroni, write a few of the words of my father Mormon, which he spake concerning faith, hope, and charity; for after this manner did he speak unto the people, as he taught them in the synagogue which they had built for the place of worship. [There were few who were willing to worship in the synagogue in the later years of Mormon’s life. This sermon so impressed Moroni that he kept it and was inspired to include it in the final text of the record.]

2 And now I, Mormon, speak unto you, my beloved brethren; and it is by the grace of God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, and his holy will, because of the gift of his calling unto me, that I am permitted to speak unto you [in this manner] at this time.

3 Wherefore, I would speak unto you that are of the church, that are the peaceable followers of Christ [always repenting], and that have obtained a sufficient hope [through baptism] by which ye can enter into the rest of the Lord [the gift of the Holy Ghost], from this time henceforth until ye shall rest with him in heaven.

4 And now my brethren, I judge these things of you because of your peaceable walk with the children of men. [How you conduct yourself with other people.]

5 For I remember the word of God which saith by their works [fruit] ye shall know them; for if their works be good, then they are good also.

6 For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. [What are the results of an evil man praying to God? Where is the fruit?]

7 For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness.

8 For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift [blessing or offering], he doeth it grudgingly [Regretting the act, for his heart is not there, and wonders how it will help him.]; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God. [Evil is a strong word, meaning it is by the power of the Adversary to do his will. Such a person is a hypocrite who pretends to pray to God, but there is no fruit.]

9 And likewise also is it counted evil unto a man, if he shall pray and not with real intent of heart; yea, and it profiteth him nothing, for God receiveth none such.

10 Wherefore, a man being evil cannot do that which is good; neither will he give a good gift. [Mormon’s words encourage each of us to focus upon the results of the acts of one professing to be from God.]

11 For behold, a bitter fountain cannot bring forth good water; neither can a good fountain bring forth bitter water; wherefore, a man being a servant of the devil cannot follow Christ; and if he follow Christ he cannot be a servant of the devil. [This all makes sense, but how do you judge this in real life? Imagine if your church leader appeared in every way to be righteous: he looks like a saint, he speaks of Jesus, he prays eloquently of the Gospel, he councils kindly, but something is missing. How can you discern they are not of God?]

12 Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God; and that which is evil cometh of the devil; for the devil is an enemy unto God, and fighteth against him continually, and inviteth and enticeth to sin, and to do that which is evil continually.

Satan is not stupid, even though many would like to think so. How could he fall after knowing the Lord to the degree he did? Satan has chosen the path he walks and knows exactly what he is doing. He knows that the righteous will not follow him at first. They must be seduced, one small sin at a time. Give them a hundred truths, and inject a single lie. Lure them carefully away from the light. Evil is that one lie, enough to canker the heart and lead away. What will that lie be for you? Here, we must judge righteously.

13 But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God. [We are told that “every thing” that leads to goodness, to love God, and serve him is inspired of God. What if a person is teaching these good things, but there is a lie injected? We must exercise discernment.]

14 Wherefore, take heed, my beloved brethren, that ye do not judge that which is evil to be of God, or that which is good and of God to be of the devil.

One of the slippery slopes of our time is the preacher that sets themselves up as a light as they preach the platitudes of righteousness. Words of truth that the people agree are of God. But, then they demand their followers to look to them for their light, to live by their words, and not to truly know the Lord. The only thing that a servant of God truly preaches is repentance. This includes the why’s, what’s, how’s, and when’s of the process. There should be no question of how to come unto Christ. Mormon is about to explain this in detail.

15 For behold, my brethren, it is given unto you to judge, that ye may know good from evil; and the way to judge is as plain, that ye may know with a perfect knowledge, as the daylight is from the dark night. [Easy as one, two, three.]

16 For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God. [What is it that persuades a person to believe in Christ? Is it the warm hearted stories from the pulpit? Is it the reading of essays by scriptural scholars, or those who have high standing of leadership? No, it is the participation in the “power of the gift of Christ,” which are the gifts of the Spirit.]

17 But whatsoever thing persuadeth men to do evil, and believe not in Christ, and deny him, and serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil; for after this manner doth the devil work, for he persuadeth no man to do good, no, not one; neither do his angels; neither do they who subject themselves unto him.

The only way to “do good” is to follow the doctrine of Christ and participate in the gifts of the Spirit, which are many and will be touched upon in this chapter and chapter ten.

18 And now, my brethren, seeing that ye know the light by which ye may judge [divide the good from the evil], which light is the light of Christ [The Spirit], see that ye do not judge wrongfully; for with that same judgment which ye judge ye shall also be judged. [You will follow that which you judge. If you judge evil to be good (which is what evil does), you will choose darkness.]

19 Wherefore, I beseech of you, brethren, that ye should search diligently [It is a process and great work to do this.] in the light of Christ that ye may know good from evil; and if ye will lay hold upon every good thing, and condemn it not, ye certainly will be a child of Christ. [As you earnestly seek every good thing, judging between the good and evil, you will find the Lord.]

20 And now, my brethren, how is it possible that ye can lay hold upon every good thing? [He is about to explain further the process.]

21 And now I come to that faith [the foundation], of which I said I would speak; and I will tell you the way whereby ye may lay hold on every good thing.

22 For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting, behold, he sent angels to minister unto the children of men, to make manifest concerning the coming of Christ; and in Christ there should come every good thing.

23 And God also declared unto prophets, by his own mouth, that Christ should come. [Believe in Christ and the words taught by the prophets. This is the foundation of your faith.]

24 And behold, there were divers [many different] ways that he did manifest things unto the children of men, which were good; and all things which are good cometh of Christ; otherwise men were fallen, and there could no good thing come unto them.

25 Wherefore, by the ministering of angels, and by every word which proceeded forth out of the mouth of God [by revelation, scripture, and hearing the voice of others], men [all people] began to exercise faith in Christ; and thus by faith, they did lay hold upon every good thing; and thus it was until the coming of Christ.

26 And after that he came men also were saved by faith in his name [receieved the Holy Ghost]; and by faith, they become the sons of God. And as surely as Christ liveth he spake these words unto our fathers, saying: Whatsoever thing ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is good [according to God’s will], in faith believing that ye shall receive, behold, it shall be done unto you. [The “believing” part is critical, for the Lord requires that we take action and if we do not believe our faith is dormant.]

27 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, have miracles [the gifts of the Spirit] ceased because Christ hath ascended into heaven, and hath sat down on the right hand of God, to claim of the Father his rights of mercy which he hath upon the children of men?

28 For he hath answered the ends of the law [Atonement], and he claimeth all those who have faith in him; and they who have faith in him will cleave [grab hold] unto every good thing; wherefore he advocateth the cause of the children of men; and he dwelleth eternally in the heavens. [There is a difference between having “faith in him” and having faith of him, or about him, or like him. We are saved as He becomes a part of us. This is charity, the pure love of Christ. After we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost we exercise, “The pure love in Christ.” For as we become one with him we are claimed as His Son or Daughter under the Atonement.]

29 And because he hath done this, my beloved brethren, have miracles ceased? Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither have angels ceased to minister unto the children of men. [Miracles will follow them that believe “in Christ.”]

30 For behold, they are subject unto him, to minister according to the word of his command, showing themselves [the angels] unto them of strong faith and a firm mind in every form of godliness.

This is a key scripture to opening a particular gift of the Spirit which includes the ministering of angels and the beholding of angels. Angels only come to those who exercise faith. These individuals are seeking truth, they believe in the gifts, and do not block the reception of them because of false traditions (unbelief). How will an angel come to you? There are divers ways [various methods] this can occur. If one has “strong faith” [seeking the Lord’s revelation and acting upon it], and they have a “firm mind in every form of godliness”[mind is filled with virtue and belief in the Lord’s power in them], they will not be inhibited from conversing with the angelic host.

31 And the office of their ministry is to call men unto repentance [bring them to Christ], and to fulfil and to do the work of the covenants of the Father [in regards to the Everlasting Covenant], which he hath made unto the children of men, to prepare the way among the children of men, by declaring the word of Christ unto the chosen vessels of the Lord [3rd and 4th estate], that they may bear testimony of him.

32 And by so doing, the Lord God prepareth the way that the residue of men [second estate] may have faith in Christ, that the Holy Ghost may have place in their hearts, according to the power thereof; and after this manner bringeth to pass the Father, the covenants which he hath made unto the children of men.

33 And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever thing is expedient in me. [You will be given the gifts of the Spirit as they are needed.]

34 And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved. [First step of the Doctrine of Christ, repent and come unto Him.]

35 And now, my beloved brethren, if this be the case that these things are true which I have spoken unto you, and God will show unto you, with power and great glory at the last day, that they are true, and if they are true has the day of miracles ceased?

36 Or have angels ceased to appear unto the children of men? Or has he withheld the power of the Holy Ghost from them? Or will he, so long as time shall last, or the earth shall stand, or there shall be one man upon the face thereof to be saved? [Are there no miracles? Will angels cease to visit the followers of Christ? No way!]

37 Behold I say unto you, Nay; for it is by faith that miracles are wrought; and it is by faith that angels appear and minister unto men; wherefore, if these things have ceased wo [sad and cursed] be unto the children of men, for it is because of unbelief [false traditions], and all is vain. [There is no hope.]

38 For no man can be saved, according to the words of Christ, save they shall have faith in his name [seek Jesus and act upon His words]; wherefore, if these things have ceased, then has faith ceased also; and awful is the state of man, for they are as though there had been no redemption made. [They will continue as a second estate forever.]

39 But behold, my beloved brethren, I judge better things of you, for I judge that ye have faith in Christ because of your meekness [seeking His will above all things]; for if ye have not faith in him then ye are not fit to be numbered among the people of his church.

40 And again, my beloved brethren, I would speak unto you concerning hope. How is it that ye can attain unto faith, save ye shall have hope? [The second step of the Doctrine of Christ.]

41 And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of his resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise. [This promise is made to the Father when we are baptized in water, a reminder of the resurrection of the soul unto Christ and life eternal.]

42 Wherefore, if a man have faith he must needs have hope; for without faith there cannot be any hope.

43 And again, behold I say unto you that he cannot have faith and hope, save he shall be meek, and lowly of heart. [You must have a broken heart and contrite spirit to accomplish this.]

44 If so, his faith and hope is vain, for none is acceptable before God, save the meek and lowly in heart [full repentance, and full submission to the Lord]; and if a man be meek and lowly in heart, and confesses by the power of the Holy Ghost that Jesus is the Christ, he must needs have charity; for if he have not charity he is nothing; wherefore he must needs have charity. [Charity is the power of God that opens the door to baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost. This is the “pure love in Christ.”]

Mormon now gives us a list of attributes that are obtained by those who acquire charity. These are some of the “fruits” of charity:

45 And charity suffereth long [patient in afflictions], and is kind, and envieth not [does not compare their possessions to others], and is not puffed up [humble], seeketh not her own [focused on other’s needs], is not easily provoked [slow to anger], thinketh no evil [virtuous thoughts], and rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth [thoughts filled with the joy of the Lord] , beareth all things [that the Lord gives them], believeth all things [that the Lord gives them], hopeth all things [are possible through the Lord], endureth all things. [every sacrifice the Lord requires]

46 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, if ye have not charity, ye are nothing, for charity never faileth. Wherefore, cleave unto charity, which is the greatest of all, for all things must fail— [To receive charity is to receive the promise of the Father that you are worthy of receiving the gift of Christ. This is the turnkey moment in your judgment, where you are found worthy to approach the Lord. Shortly thereafter the baptism of fire is given and the gift of the Holy Ghost is bestowed, as you are made holy and worthy to enter the presence of the Lord. Without this cleansing and holy sanctification, your attempt to ascend the hill of the Lord will fail.]

47 But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him.

There are seven virtues of godliness that lead to charity. Once we are fully tested, the Father opens our heart and the light pours into us. We are ready to receive the Son.

48 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart [full submission, contrite heart], that ye may be filled with this love [light of Christ], which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen. [Our spirits are made pure and holy when we receive the third part of the Doctrine of Christ, the baptism of fire and the gift of the Holy Ghost. By this, we are able to stand in His presence, filled with light and glory, and be like Him in that we will not wither in His presence.]

This truly is a beautiful sermon given of Moroni’s father Mormon. He lays out the Gospel in its simplicity and the pitfalls that prevent many from receiving a fullness.

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When We Pray With the Tongue of Angels

A couple nights ago I was listening to some beautiful instrumental music as I pondered upon the Lord – I felt the Lord’s Spirit come over me and wrote the following:

Cleanse my heart – lift me up to the Mighty Throne.

Your love is like a waterfall that shoots up with unspeakable power, your light, your glory!

How can you be so far and yet so close, my friend, my God, my Father.

Is there anything more I can ask that you would not provide?

Please Lord, extend my faith to a place I need to be, to stand upon the mountain of glory, the sea of salvation, the planes of eternity, the City of Eternal Covenant.

I am your son. You are my Father. We are together.

Your children need thee. We can find them and bring them home.

Shower your beautiful gifts upon us, our friends, your servants. That we may find each of your precious lambs and bring them home.

Your arms are wide, your bowels are filled with love.

Give me the patience to endure the wind, the storm, the fire, the tempest.

Bend my sail to the place I must be, to carry them home.

Eternal Father, Amen

When we are bathed in the light, our spirit is given to know what to pray for. In this case, the Lord helped me to express in English what my heart and spirit needed to ask. In such a state we are able to pray with the tongue of angels.

Note: Its not the flowery language that makes it holy, but what lies behind the words as given to us by the Spirit.

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This is My Church – Moroni 6:1-9

1 And now I speak concerning baptism. Behold, elders, priests, and teachers were baptized; and they were not baptized save they brought forth fruit meet that they were worthy of it. [Moroni makes the point that all leaders in the church were baptized and brought forth “fruit” that they were worthy of baptism. What is the fruit?]

2 Neither did they receive any unto baptism save they came forth with a broken heart and a contrite spirit, and witnessed unto the church that they truly repented of all their sins.

3 And none were received unto baptism save they took upon them the name of Christ, having a determination to serve him to the end. [These are the fruit that had to manifest itself: broken heart (fully turning their hearts to God), contrite spirit (full submission to the will of the Father), willingness to join the fold of the church and serve the Lord for the remaining of their days.]

4 And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon [worked over time] and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ [the telestial church]; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone [no other person] upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher [full focus] of their faith. [The church would keep their name and do all in their power to nourish them with the “word of God,” and was focused upon their “relying alone upon the merits of Christ.” The church’s purpose was to nourish, and not to do anything else.]

5 And the church did meet together oft, to fast and to pray, and to speak one with another concerning the welfare of their souls. [They would meet often as groups to study, praise, and worship the Lord in their own homes and church structures.]

The focus of meeting was not to dive into the mysteries of God, but to nourish each other in faith, and exercising all the gifts of the Spirit. What does this look like? It is not to sit and listen to lectures, but to sing and praise, bless and anoint, to receive the ministering of angels, to prophesy, and to have the visions of eternity open to the congregation. Meetings were joyful, times of feasting, and fellowship. 

6 And they did meet together oft to partake of bread and wine, in remembrance of the Lord Jesus. [During these meetings they partook of the Sacrament.]

7 And they were strict to observe that there should be no iniquity among them [That is seeking darkness instead of the light. Often this comes in the form of sexual impropriety, or attempting to corrupt the word of God.]; and whoso was found to commit iniquity, and three witnesses of the church did condemn them before the elders, and if they repented not, and confessed not, their names were blotted out, and they were not numbered among the people of Christ.

This is very specific. There had to be at least three witnesses to condemn them before the special witnesses of Christ (the Elders), and if they did not repent (turn their hearts to God) they were not counted among the members. It was not an easy thing to be excommunicated from Jesus’ church. 

8 But as oft as they repented and sought forgiveness, with real intent, they were forgiven. [They were simply asked to repent and acknowledge their sin. There was a clear understanding amongst these people what the “word of God” required of them. Iniquity would include attempting to change the laws and commandments to conform to one’s personal views. The Church of Christ was to be a constant, unchanging church.]

9 And their meetings were conducted by the church after the manner of the workings of the Spirit, and by the power of the Holy Ghost; for as the power of the Holy Ghost led them whether to preach, or to exhort, or to pray, or to supplicate, or to sing, even so it was done.

The most Spirit-filled meetings I have ever attended were completely led by the Spirit and the agenda was put aside. When I see unity amongst the group, where the voice of each is listened to and considered, where prayer is the focus, and praising the Lord is the constant of the meeting, and the gifts of the Spirit present themselves in abundance – it is here that I know I am receiving a fullness of the worship experience in Christ’s church.

There are only two churches that are recognized by the Lord in this world: the church of Christ, and the church of the devil. (1 Nephi 14:10) How do we know which church is true? “Behold, this is my doctrine – whosoever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is my church.” (D&C 10:67)

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Partake of the Wine – Moroni 5:1-2

1 The manner of administering the wine—Behold, they took the cup [a single cup], and said:

2 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee, in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless and sanctify this wine to the souls [body and spirit] of all those who drink of it, that they may do it in remembrance of the blood [Spirit] of thy Son, which was shed [sacrificed] for them; that they may witness unto thee, O God, the Eternal Father, that they do always remember him [never forget your covenant to come unto Christ], that they may have his Spirit to be with them. Amen. [That the gifts of the Spirit are given to guide you in that effort.]

It is interesting that two parts of the blessing for the wine are missing from the blessing of the bread: “willing to take upon them the name of thy son”, and “keep His commandments which he has given them.” Why is that the case? 

The partaking of the bread is to have a broken heart, or to fully repent and come unto Christ. This requires us to be baptized in His name and to follow His commandments. Once we have done this we also have a contrition of spirit, which is to seek after His will in all things, to fully submit ourselves to Him. The wine represents the blood, which is the “contrition of spirit,” a symbol of Eternal Life and the path of the Everlasting Covenant. In this is a mystery.

I asked the Lord to help me understand the significance and meaning of His Sacrament or “sacred meal.” He said that it was His New Covenant. That the old covenant given to Moses was no more and that now, in order to be made clean, one must partake of His flesh and blood, by accepting His sacrifice and becoming one with Him as He is one with the Father. This is what it means to take His name upon us. If we do this we can be washed clean with His blood, meaning, receive the baptism of fire and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We Then become His sons and daughters and He is our Father, and we are prepared to receive all righteousness. The son does the works of the Father and as the Father, so does the son. I asked the Lord to explain more.

The old covenant, which was given to the House of Israel, was to teach them that to be made clean and remit their sins, they needed to sacrifice animals and sprinkle the blood upon the altar. The blood would make them clean. These outward ordinances pointed them to the future coming of a Messiah, which would save Israel and bring them into His presence. Only the Priest, once a year, was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies of the temple and come into the presence of God.

The New Covenant was given on the eve of the Lord fulfilling His covenant with Israel, to fulfill the Passover and to offer His body and blood as a sacrifice for us. We are required to offer now, instead of a blood sacrifice on the altar of the earthly temple, a broken heart and a contrite spirit, which means to give ourselves as a sacrifice to God, our full heart and spirit, both body and soul, to Jesus Christ and in return we are made clean through His blood. His blood is what gives life to our spirits. This Eternal Life, is to be made holy in the blood of the Lamb and to stand at the right hand of God, as His son or daughter forever. 

The Lord said that if we partake of the Sacrament as a group united in calling, like apostles, it is good to take the wine from the same cup. If we are doing it for our personal selves, we can take it separately. The wine is best, because it is the perfect symbol of the bitter cup that Jesus partook of, but water or juice is fine. We are to partake of the Sacrament every time we wish to approach the Lord. It is good to break the bread, then bless it, then the wine. The broken body and the blood spilt for our sakes is the the remembrance the Lord wishes to teach us. Taking the Sacrament helps to make us holy before the Lord as we prepare to approach Him. It is a reminder of our received covenant or promise of a future covenant we will make when we receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. (personal journal)

 

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Partake of the Bread – Moroni 4:1-3

1 The manner of their elders and priests administering the [emblems of His] flesh and blood of Christ unto the church; and they administered it according to the commandments of Christ; wherefore we know the manner to be true [this is how they did it] ; and the elder or priest did minister it— [Whomever is the officiating elder of priest would be the one to bless the Sacrament for the congregation.]

2 And they did kneel down with the church [Everyone, no matter how large the congregation, would kneel. This was the tradition since Jesus first came and taught them the Sacrament in Bountiful four hundred years previously.], and pray to the Father in the name of Christ, saying:

3 O God, the Eternal Father, we ask thee in the name of thy Son, Jesus Christ, to bless [set apart according to our needs] and sanctify [make holy] this bread to the souls [our spirit and body] of all those who partake of it; that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son [remember the physical sacrifice of Jesus], and witness unto thee [demonstrate by partaking of this sacred emblem and prayer], O God, the Eternal Father, that they are willing to take upon them the name of thy Son [to be spiritually begotten of Jesus Christ (receive the gift of the Holy Ghost)], and always remember him [always repenting and coming unto Him], and keep his commandments which he hath given them [follow every revelation given from the Lord], that they may always have his Spirit to be with them. [that charity may abide in them and they may exercise a fullness of the gifts of the Spirit] Amen.

The Lord said that it is proper amongst a congregation for the presiding Elder to bless both the bread and wine, and then to have the leaders under him pass to the people. It represents their status as a servant to God and to all the people. When in small groups it can be decided upon by revelation how to proceed. Blessing the Sacrament is much like having authority to baptize with water. (personal journal)

The purpose of the breaking and blessing of the bread is to remember the physical sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is to remind us to have a broken heart before the Lord. In other words, to fully submit to Him in full repentance, as Jesus submitted to His Father. When a person has sufficiently broken their heart before the Father and remember His Son, the Father bestows a promise that the comforter will come to them. This is the beginning of charity and the turnkey to be ready to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 

Many receive the gift of the Holy Ghost after baptism. Their journey takes some time and the Sacrament Prayer prepares them for this event. If they have already received the gift of the Holy Ghost, it prepares them to receive a fullness of the Holy Ghost, which is to stand in the presence of the Lord.

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