Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 233. DOCTOR REDMAN EXPOUNDS THE TRUE FAITH ON HIS DEATHBED

233. DOCTOR REDMAN EXPOUNDS THE TRUE FAITH ON HIS DEATHBED

            But against this Dr. Gardiner, we will now set and match, on the contrary side, Dr. Redman, forasmuch as he, departing this transitory life the same present year 1551, cometh now, by course of history, here to be mentioned; who, for his singular life and profound knowledge, being inferior in no respect to the said Gardiner, shall stand as great a friend in promoting the gospel's cause, as the other seemeth an enemy, by all manner of ways to impair and deface the same: for the more assured declaration whereof we will hereto adjoin (the Lord willing) the learned communication between the said Dr. Redman lying on his death-bed, and Master Wilkes, Master Alexander Nowel, Dr. Young, and other witnesses more; whereof the said Master Wilkes thus recordeth, speaking in his own person, and his own words, as followeth:

            "I, (the aforesaid Richard Wilkes,) coming to Dr. Redman lying sick at Westminster, and, first saluting him after my ordinary duty, wished him health both in soul and body; not doubting, moreover, but he did practise the godly counsel in himself, which he was wont to give to others being in his case; and, thanks be to God, said I, who had given him stuff of knowledge to comfort himself withal. To whom he, answering again, said in this wise: 'God of all comfort, give me grace to have comfort in him, and to have my mind wholly fixed in him!' Master Young and I said, 'Amen.'

            "Then I communed with him of his sickness, and of the weakness of his body, and said, that though he were brought never so low, yet he, if it were his pleasure, that raised up Lazarus, could restore him to health again. 'No, no,' saith he, 'that is past, and I desire it not; but the will of God be fulfilled!'

            "After this, or a little other like communication, I asked if I might be so bold, not troubling him, to know his mind for my learning, in some matters and points of religion. He said, 'Yea,' and that he was as glad to commune with me in such matters, as with any man. And then I said to his servants, I trusted I should not trouble him. No,' said Ellis, his servant, 'my Lord of London, Master Nowel, and others, have communed with him, and he was glad of it.' Then said Master Redman, 'No, you shall not trouble me. I pray God ever give me grace to speak the truth, and his truth, and that which shall redound to his glory, and send us unity in his church;' and we said 'Amen.'

            "I said, he should do much good in declaring his faith, and I would be glad to know his mind as touching the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ.-- He said, 'As man is made of two parts, of the body and the soul, so Christ would feed the whole man: but what (saith he) be the words of the text? let us take the words of the Scripture.' And he rehearsed the text himself thus: 'Christ took bread; wherein his will was to institute a sacrament. Take, eat. Here he told the use of it. What did he give to them? He calleth it his body.'

            "Then I asked him of the presence of Christ.-- He said, Christ was present with his sacrament, and in those that received it as they ought. And there was a wonderful union (for that word was named) betwixt Christ and us, as St. Paul saith, Ye be bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh; the which union was ineffable.

            "Then I asked him, what he thought of the opinion, that Christ was there corporally, naturally, and really.-- He answered, 'If you mean by corporally, naturally, and really, that he is there present, I grant.'

            "Then I asked, how he thought of that which was wont commonly to be spoken, that Christ was there flesh, blood, and bone, as I have heard the stewards in their Leets give charge when the six articles stood in effect, and charge the inquest to inquire, that if there were any that would deny that Christ was present in the sacrament of the altar, in flesh, blood, and bone, they should apprehend them.-- He said, that it was too gross, and could not well be excused from the opinion of the Capernaites.

            "Then I asked him, Inasmuch as Christ is there were, how do we receive him? in our minds and spiritual parts, or with our mouths, and into our bodies; or both?-- He said, 'We receive him in our minds and souls by faith.'

            "Then, inasmuch as he was much on this point, that there was 'a marvellous union' betwixt us and Christ, in that we were 'bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh;' I desired to know his opinion, whether we received the very body of Christ with our mouths, and into our bodies, or no?-- Here he paused and held his peace a little space; and shortly after he spake, saying, 'I will not say so; I cannot tell; it is a hard question: but surely,' saith he, 'we receive Christ in our soul by faith. When you do speak of it other ways, it soundeth grossly, and savoureth of the Capernaites.'

            "Then I asked him, what he thought of that which the priest was wont to lift up and show the people betwixt his hands?--He said, It is the sacrament.'

            "Then said I, 'They are wont to worship that which is lifted up.'--'Yea,' saith he, 'but we must worship Christ in heaven; Christ is neither lifted up nor down.' 'I am glad,' said I, 'Master Doctor, to hear you say so much. I would not speak of the holy sacrament otherwise than reverently; but I fear, lest that sacrament, and the little white piece of bread so lifted up, hath robbed Christ of a great part of his honour.'-- Then said he, looking up and praying, 'God grant us grace that we may have the true understanding of his word, whereby we may come to the true use of his sacraments;' and said, he would never allow the carrying about of the sacrament, and other fond abuses about the same.

            "Then, after a little while pausing, said I, 'Master Doctor, if I should not trouble you, I would pray you to know your mind in transubstantiation.' 'Jesus! Master Wilkes,' quoth he, 'will you ask me that Sir,' said I, 'not if I should trouble you.' -- 'No, no, I will tell you,' said he. 'Because I found the opinion of transubstantiation received in the church, when I heard it spoken against, I searched the ancient doctors diligently, and went about to establish it by them, because it was received. And when I had read many of them, I found little for it, and could not be satisfied. Then I went to the school doctors, and namely to Gabriel, and weighed his reasons. The which when I had done, and perceived they were no pithier, my opinion of transubstantiation waxed feeble: and then,' saith he, I returned again to Tertullian and Irenĉus, and when I had observed their sayings, mine opinion that there should be transubstantiation was quite dashed.'

            "Then said I, 'You know that the school doctors did hold, that bread remained not after the consecration, as they called it.'-- 'The school doctors,' saith he, 'did not know what consecratio meaneth:' and here he paused awhile.

            "'I pray you,' said I, 'say you what consecratio means?'-- Saith he, It is tota actio, in ministering the sacrament as Christ did institute it. All the whole thing done in the ministry, as Christ ordained it, that is consecratio; and what,' said he, 'need we to doubt, that bread remaineth? Scripture calleth it bread, and certain good authors that be of the later time, be of that opinion.'

            "After that I had communed with Master Redman, and taken my leave of him, Master Young came forth into the next chamber with me, to whom I said that I was glad to see Master Doctor Redman so well minded. Then said Master Young to me, I am sure he will not deny it; I assure you,' saith he, 'Master Doctor hath so moved me, that whereas I was of that opinion before, in certain things, that I would have burned and lost my life for them; now,' saith Master Young, 'I doubt of them. But I see,' saith he, 'a man shall know more and more by process of time, and reading and hearing of others, and Master Doctor Redman's saying shall cause me to look more diligently for them.'

            "Also Ellis, Master Doctor Redman's servant, showed me, that he did know, that his master had declared to his Majesty King Henry the Eighth, that faith only justified,; but that doctrine, as he thought, was not to be taught the people, lest they should be negligent to do good works.

            "The said Master Young hath reported, (the which also I heard,) that Master Doctor Redman should say, that the consent of the church was but a weak staff to lean to; but did exhort him to read the Scriptures, for there was that which should comfort him, when he should be in such case as he was then."

 

Another communication between Dr. Redman, lying in his death-bed, and Master Nowel, then schoolmaster in Westminster, and certain others, with notes of his censure and judgment touching certain points of Christ's religion.

            "Imprimis, the said Dr. Redman sent for Master Nowel, of his own mind, and said, he was willing to commune with him of such matters as he had moved the said Dr. Redman of a day or two before; and he, being desired of the said Master Newel to declare his mind concerning certain points of our religion, first said, Ask me what ye will, and I will answer you, before God, truly as I think, without any affection to the world or any worldly person.

            "Witnesses: Alexander Nowel, Richard Burton, Ellis Lomas, John Wright.

            "II. Item, The said Dr. Redman said, that the see of Rome in these latter days is 'a sink of all evil.'

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Rich. Burton, John Wright, Edward Cratford, Rich. Elithorne, Ellis Lomas.

            "III. Item, That purgatory, as the schoolmen taught it, and used it, was ungodly, and that there was no such kind of purgatory as they fancied.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Rich. Burton, Ellis Lomas, Edw. Cratford, Rich. Elithorne, John Wright.

            "IV. Item, That the offering up of the sacrament in masses and trentals for the sins of the dead is ungodly.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Now el, Rich. Burton, Edward Cratford, Ellis Lomas.

            "V. Item, That the wicked are not partakers of the body of Christ, but receive the outward sacrament only.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Rich. Burton, Ellis Lomas, Edw. Cratford, Rich. Elithorne, John Wright.

            "VI. Item, That the sacrament ought not to be carried about in procession; for it is taught what is the use of it in these words, Take, eat, and drink, and Do this in remembrance of me.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Rich. Burton, John Wright, Edward Cratford, Ellis Lomas.

            "VII. Item, That nothing which is seen in the sacrament, or perceived with any outward sense, is to be worshipped.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Ellis Lomas, Rich. Burton."

            "VIII. Item, That we receive not Christ's body corporally, that is to say, grossly, like other meats, and like as the Capernaites did understand it.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Richard Burton, Edw. Cratford, Ellis Lomas, John Wright.

            "IX. Item, That we receive Christ's body so spiritually, that nevertheless truly.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alexander Nowel, Richard Burton, Edward Cratford, Ellis Lomas, John Wright.

            "X. Item, As touching transubstantiation, that there is not, in any of the old doctors, any good ground or sure proof hereof, or any mention of it, as far as ever he could perceive, neither that he seeth what can be answered to the objections made against it.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Richard Burton, Ellis Lomas.

            "XI. Item, Being asked of Master Wilkes, what that was, which was lifted up between the priest's hands, he answered, 'He thought that Christ could neither be lifted up nor down.'

            "Witnesses: John Young, Richard Burton, Ellis Lomas.

            "XII. Item, That priests may, by the law of God, marry wives.

            "Witnesses: Alex. Newel, Ellis Lomas.

            "XIII. Item, That this proposition, that only faith doth justify, so that faith do signify a true, a lively [faith,] and a faith resting in Christ, and embracing Christ, is a true, godly, sweet, and comfortable doctrine; so that it be so taught that the people take none occasion of carnal liberty thereof.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Novel, Rich. Burton, John Wright, Edw. Cratford, Rich. Elithorne, Ellis Lomas.

            "XIV. Item, That our works cannot deserve the kingdom of God and life everlasting.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Rich. Burton, Ellis Lomas, Edw. Cratford, Richard Elithorne, John Wright.

            "XV. Item, That the said Dr. Redman, at such times as we, the aforesaid persons who have subscribed, heard his communication concerning the aforesaid points of religion, was of quiet mind, and of perfect remembrance, as far as we were able to judge.

            "Witnesses: John Young, Alex. Nowel, Rich. Burton, Ellis Lomas, Edw. Cratford, Richard Elithorne, John Wright."

            Also Master Young, of himself, doth declare further, touching the former articles, in this wise:

            "To the fifth article.-- Imprimis, That Dr. Redman said more, whereas St. Augustine said, that Judas received the same that Peter did, he said, that he understood that of the sacrament; and that after the same phrase a man might say, 'That Simon Magus received the same baptism that the apostles did,' when he did receive only the outward sacrament to his condemnation; for he said, that he thought Christ would not vouchsafe to give his holy flesh to an ungodly man: and this, he said, was always his mind, though he knew that other men did otherwise think.

            "To the sixth.-- Item, He said, he never liked the carriage about of the sacrament, and preached against it about sixteen years since in Cambridge.

            "To the tenth.-- Item, When he was demanded of transubstantiation, he said, that he had travailed about it, and thinking that the doubts which he perceived did rise thereon, should be made plain by the schoolmen, did read their books; and after that he had read them, the opinion of transubstantiation was every day weaker and weaker, and that there was no such transubstantiation as they made; adding thereto, that the whole school did not know what was meant by consecration, which he said was the whole action of the holy communion.

            "To the thirteenth.-- Item, He said, that he did repent him, that he had so much strived against justification by faith only.

            "To the fourteenth.-- Item, That works had their crown and reward, but that they did not deserve eternal life, and the kingdom of God; no, not the works of grace; for everlasting life is the gift of God."

            Although these testimonies above alleged may suffice for a declaration touching the honest life, sound doctrine, and sincere judgment of Dr. Redman, yet I thought not to cut off in this place the testimonial letter or epistle of Dr. Young, written to Master Cheke, specially concerning the premises: which epistle of Dr. Young, as I received it written by his own hand in the Latin tongue, the copy which he himself neither hath nor can deny to be his own, and is extant to be read in the former Book of Acts and Monuments, so I have here exhibited the same faithfully translated into the English tongue, the tenor whereof followeth:

            "Although, right worshipful, I am stricken into no little damp and dolour of mind for the unripe (but that it otherwise pleased Almighty God) and lamentable death of that most blessed and learned man Dr. Redman, insomuch that, all astonied with weeping and lamenting, I cannot tell what to do or think; yet nevertheless, perceiving it to be your Worship's will and pleasure, that so I should do, I gladly call my wits together, and purpose, by God's grace, here, in these my letters, sincerely and truly to open and declare what I heard that worthy learned man speak and confess at the hour of his death, as touching the controversies of religion, wherewith the spouse of Christ is, in these our days, most miserably troubled and tormented.

            "This Dr. Redman, (being continually, by the space of twenty years, or somewhat more, exercised in the reading of the Holy Scripture,) with such industry, labour, modesty, magnanimity, and prayers to Almighty God, tried and weighed the controversies of religion, that in all his doings, as he would not seem to approve that which was either false or superstitious; so he would never improve that, which he thought to stand with the true worship of God. And albeit in certain points and articles of his faith, he seemed to divers, which were altogether ignorant of that his singular gravity, either for softness, fear, or lack of stomach, to change his mind and belief, yet they, to whom his former life and conversation, by familiar acquaintance with him, was thoroughly known, (with them also which were present at his departure,) may easily perceive and understand, how, in grave and weighty matters, not rashly and unadvisedly, brit with constant judgment and unfeigned conscience, he descended into that manner of belief, which at that time of his going out of this world he openly professed.

            "I give your wisdom to understand, that when death drew near, he, casting away all hope of recovery, attended and talked of no other thing (as we which were present heard) but of heaven and heavenly matters, of the latter day, of our Saviour Jesus Christ, with whom most fervently he desired to be; whose incredible love towards us miserable sinners most worthily, and not without tears, he oftentimes used to extol and speak of: and us which were there present he earnestly moved and exhorted to prepare ourselves to Christ, to love one another, and to beware of this most wretched and corrupt world. And besides that, he promised, (calling God to witness thereunto, to whom he trusted shortly to come,) if any would demand any question, that he would answer him what he thought in his judgment to be the truth. At that time there was present Master Alexander Nowel, a man earnestly bent to the true worshipping of God, and one that had alway singularly well loved the said Master Redman, to whom he spake on this wise:

            "'Your excellent learning, and purity of life, I have ever both highly favoured, and had in admiration; and for no other cause (God be my judge) I do ask these things of you which I shall propound,         but that I might learn and know of you what is your opinion and belief touching those troublous controversies which are in these our days; and I shall receive and approve your words, as oracles sent from heaven.'

            "To whom, when Dr. Redman had given leave to demand what he would, and had promised that he would faithfully and sincerely answer (all affection set aside) what he thought to be the truth, Master Nowel said, 'I would,' quoth he, 'right gladly; but that I fear, by my talk and communication, I shall be unto you, so feeble and now almost spent, a trouble and grief.' Then said Dr. Redman, replying, 'What! shall I spare my carcass,' quoth he, 'which hath so short a time here to remain? Go to, go to,' said he, 'propound what you will.'

            "Then Master Nowel put forth certain questions, which in order I will here declare; whereunto the said Dr. Redman severally answered, as hereafter followeth.

            "The first question that he asked of him was, What he thought of the bishop of Rome: unto whom Dr. Redman answered, 'The see of Rome, in these our later days, hath much swerved from the true religion and worshipping of God, and is with horrible vices stained and polluted; which I, therefore,' quoth he, 'pronounce to be the sink of all evil; and shortly will come to utter ruin by the scourge of God, except it do fall the sooner to repentance:' wherewith he briefly complained of the filthy abuse of our English church.

            "Being then asked, what his opinion was concerning purgatory, and what the schoolmen judged thereof, he answered, that the subtle reasons of the schoolmen concerning purgatory, seemed to him to be no less vain and frivolous, than disagreeing from the truth; adding thereunto, that when we be rapt to the clouds, to meet Christ coming to judgment with a great number of angels, in all glory and majesty, then every one shall be purged with fire, as it is written, 'The fire shall go before him, and shall flame round about his enemies, and the fire shall burn in his sight; and round about him shall be a great tempest;' saying, that divers of the old writers approved this his sentence concerning purgatory.

            "When he was asked, whether wicked and ungodly people, in the holy communion, did eat the body of Christ, and drink his blood, he answered, that such kind of men did not eat Christ's most blessed flesh but only took the sacrament to their own damnation; saying, that Christ would not give his most pure and holy flesh to be eaten of such naughty and impure persons, but would withdraw himself from them. 'And that,' quoth he, 'that is objected by St. Augustine, that Judas received the selfsame thing which Peter received, that I think to be understood of the external sacrament. And the like kind of phrase of speaking,' said he, 'we may use concerning the baptism of Magus,-- that Simon Magus received that which the apostles did receive. Indeed, as concerning the sacrament of the external baptism, Simon Magus received that which the apostles did; but that internal grace wherewith the apostles were endued, and that Holy Spirit wherewith by baptism they were inspired, he lacked. And so,' quoth he, 'the wicked and forsaken people, which rashly presume to come to the holy table of the Lord, do receive the sacrament, and the selfsame which good and godly men receive; but the body of Christ they do not receive, for Christ doth not vouchsafe to deliver it them.' And thus, he said, was his opinion and belief, although he knew others to be of a contrary judgment.

            "Being then after this demanded, whether he thought Christ's presence to be in the sacrament, or no; he answered, that Christ did give and offer to faithful and Christian men his very real body and blood verily and really, under sacraments of bread and wine; insomuch that they which devoutly come to be partakers of that holy food, are, by the benefit thereof, united and made one with Christ in his flesh and body. And therefore, he said, that Christ did distribute his body spiritually; that he gave it truly: yet not so, nevertheless, that by these and the like words, we should conceive any gross and carnal intelligence, such as the Capernaites once dreamed of; but that (quoth he) we might labour and endeavour to express, by some kind of words, the ineffable majesty of this mystery. For the manner whereby Christ is there present, and ministereth to the faithful his flesh, is altogether inexplicable; but we must believe (quoth he) and think, that by God's mighty power, and the holy operation of his Spirit, that so notable a mystery was made; and that heaven and earth were joined together in that moment, as the blessed man St. Gregory saith, 'The lowest parts are joined with the highest;' by which is understood that holy food, whereby they which be regenerate by the Holy Ghost in baptism, are nourished to immortality. And further he said, that Christ's body was received in the said sacrament by faith; which being received, both body and soul were quickened to everlasting life.

            "Being then required to say his mind about transubstantiation, he gave answer, that he had much travailed in that point, and that he first much favoured and inclined to that part which maintained transubstantiation; in searching the verity whereof most studiously he had been no little while occupied,and found to arise thereabout infinite and almost inexplicable absurdities, in confuting whereof, when he had but smally contented himself, (he said,) he took in hand the schoolmen's works, and perused Gabriel and other writers of that sort; for that, by their help and aid, he hoped that all inconveniences which did spring and arise by maintenance of transubstantiation, might be clean convinced and wiped away. Of which his hope he was utterly frustrate, (said he,) for that he did find in those books many fond and fantastical things, which were both too foolish to be recorded in writing, and also to be alleged, about such a mystery; and truly (said he) ever after the reading of them, my former zeal and opinion touching the maintenance of transubstantiation, did every day more and more decrease; and therefore, in conclusion, he persuaded himself to think, that there was no such transubstantiation as the schoolmen imagined and feigned to be; saying, that indeed the ancient writers were plainly against the maintenance thereof; amongst whom he recited by name, Justin, Irenĉus, and Tertullian, notorious adversaries to the same. Furthermore he added hereunto, that the whole school understood not what this word consecratio was, which he defined to be the full entire action of the whole communion. Being demanded also, whether we ought to worship Christ present in his holy supper; he told us, that we are bound so to do, and that it was most agreeing to piety and godly religion.

            "Likewise being asked, whether he would have the visible sacrament to be worshipped, which we see with our eyes, and is lifted up between the priest's hands, he answered, that nothing which was visible, and to be seen with the eye, is to be adored or worshipped, nor would Christ be elevated into any higher, or pulled down into any lower place, and that he can neither be lifted up higher, nor pulled down lower.

            "Again, being asked his opinion about the custom and manner in carrying about the sacrament in solemn pomps, processions, and otherwise; he said, that he always misliked and reproved that order; insomuch that about sixteen years ago, openly in the pulpit at Cambridge, he spake against that abuse, and disallowed that ceremony; showing that Christ had expressed, by plain and evident words, a very fruitful and right use of this sacrament, when he said, 'Take ye,' (by which phrase, quoth he, he doth express that he will give a gift,) 'eat ye' (by which words he doth declare the proper use and order of that his precious gift): 'This is my body' (whereby he doth evidently and plainly show what, by that gift, they should receive, and how royal and precious a gift he would give them): and, therefore, he judged such pompous and superstitious ostentations utterly to be condemned, and taken as plain mockeries and counterfeit visors.

            "His judgment also being asked about the commemoration of the dead, and the remembrance of them in orisons, whether he thought it profitable or no; he answered, that it seemed to him, to be no less profitable, than religious and godly; and that might be well proved out of the books of Maccabees: the which books, although St. Jerome, adjudging as not authentic, thought good to be read in the temples only for the edifying of the church, and not for the assertion of opinions; yet with him, [Dr. Redman,] the opinions of the other writers, by whom those books are allowed as canons, prevail, which he, in that point, thinketh good to be read.

            "Being, furthermore, required to show his mind about trental masses, and masses of scala cœli; he showed them that they were altogether unprofitable, superstitious, and irreligious, flowing out of the filthy and impure fountain of superstition, not yielding the fruit which they promised to bring forth. The sacrifice of the supper of the Lord -- the eucharist I mean -- that sacrifice, he said, could not be offered for the sins of the quick and the dead.

            "Finally, of his own voluntary will, and no man (as far as I can call to remembrance) demanding of him, he showed his opinion concerning justification by Christ. 'I lament,' said he, 'and repent, beseeching God forgiveness of the same, that too seriously and earnestly I have withstood this proposition, that only faith doth justify; but I always feared that it should be taken to the liberty of the flesh, and so should defile the innocency of life which is in Christ. But that proposition, that only faith doth justify, is true,' quoth he, 'sweet, and full of spiritual comfort, if it be truly taken, and rightly understood.' And when he was demanded what he thought to be the true and very sense thereof, 'I understand,' quoth he, 'that to be the lively faith, which resteth in our only Saviour Jesus Christ, and embraceth him; so that in our only Saviour Jesus Christ, all the hope and trust of our salvation be surely fixed. And as concerning good works,' saith he, 'they have their crown and merit, and are not destitute of their rewards; yet, nevertheless, they do not merit the kingdom of heaven. For no works,' said he, 'could purchase and obtain that blessed, happy, and everlasting immortality; no, nor yet those things which we do under grace, by the motion of the Holy Ghost: for that blessed and immortal glory is given and bestowed upon us, mortal men, of the heavenly Father, for his Son our Saviour Christ's sake, as St. Paul testifieth, The gift of God is eternal life.'

            "And these be the solutions which I heard him give to the questions of Master Nowel proposed; from which his sentence and judgment, so heard by me, and of him uttered, (as I remember,) he never declined or varied.

            "I beseech our Lord Jesus Christ to cease these troublous storms wherewith the church is tossed, and vouchsafe, for his holy name's sake, tenderly to behold and look upon his poor wretched flock, so miserably scattered and dispersed; beseeching him also, of his goodness, to preserve your worship.

            "At London, the third of November."

 

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