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Is America a Christian Nation? More Quotes From Our Founders

George Washington_Rushmore

A Florida school district is being accused in a lawsuit of making a deal with the ACLU to criminalize “protected religious expression,” banning students from saying “God bless” and forcing teachers to “hide in closets to pray.”

Two students originally complained that staff or faculty members were expressing their religious views off-campus at events such as off-campus dinners to honor school workers.

“The school district decided instead to shake hands with the ACLU, pay the ACLU $200,000 in legal fees, and voluntarily enter into the Consent Decree that obliterates religious freedom and makes a mockery of the First Amendment,” Liberty Counsel said in its description of the conflict.

“Students can no longer say ‘God Bless,’ teachers must hide in closets to pray, parents cannot communicate frankly with teachers, volunteers cannot answer any questions regarding religion, Christian groups cannot rent school facilities for private religious functions benefiting students, and pastors are dictated how they can and cannot seat their audiences at private, religious baccalaureate services held inside their own houses of worship,” Liberty Counsel said.[i]

On April 15, a federal district court in Wisconsin ruled that the National Day of Prayer is unconstitutional.

Can you believe this is happening in America? Take a look at the statements below from America’s founders.  Considering the rise of secular humanism and its militant attack against Christianity, the future of America is in jeopardy. Political action is important, but prayer is our only hope.

Secularism vs. the Founders

Our Founding Fathers, even so-called deists such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, supported prayer and religious observance. And those who were Unitarian spoke fondly of Christianity and its moral system.

In INDIVISIBLE: Restoring Faith, Family and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, James Robison and Jay Richards state that these were but the most crucial of several points of agreement among the American Founders:

  • The Church has a proper authority that the state must respect.
  • The federal government should neither establish nor prohibit the free exercise of religion.
  • Every person should enjoy religious liberty.
  • Religion, and especially Christianity, is vital to the survival and prosperity of the American Experiment.
  • We know by reason that God and a natural law exist.
  • Public displays of respect for God are right and good, and don’t constitute an establishment of religion.

These views allowed the Founders to revere God in public, even officially, while still opposing a federally established church. God’s existence and the basic principles of morality, they believed, were public truths, not sectarian religious doctrines. So when the US Congress adopted “In God We Trust” as our national motto in 1956, they were not imposing religion on the public, but publicly recognizing God—just as the Founders did. The phrase had appeared on our coins as early as the 1850s.

Remember, it was Thomas Jefferson, a deist of sorts, who wrote in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights….” On this point, the Founders believed, reason and revelation agreed.

Secularists insist on practical atheism as the only neutral, legitimate public philosophy. It’s the idea that people can believe and practice whatever religion they choose in their private lives, but when we come together in public, whether it’s to explore the origin of the universe, debate public policy, or explain why a criminal went on a shooting spree, we must assume God doesn’t exist. Any reference to God or morality, on this view, transgresses the boundaries of church and state and is a dangerous step down the road to theocracy, “dominionism,” or “Christian nationalism.”

This practical atheism is ardently promoted by groups such as Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and the American Civil Liberties Union, and accepted by most academic elites. It is entirely alien to the thought of the Founders and most Americans. Today, our greatest danger is not a Christian theocracy, but a secularist theocracy that tolerates no dissent.

I encourage you to set time aside to pray for this great nation, its people and leaders. In these dark days, Christians should view every day as a national day of prayer. We should be praying daily for our nation – not just talking about the importance of prayer but actually praying.

(See also Part One of this post: America’s Founding Fathers and Early Statesmen: A Few Declarations on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible.)

 

Quotes From Our Founders

George Washington – first President of the United States of America

In a speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs on May 12, 1779, Washington encouraged them to learn the religion of Jesus Christ:

“My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do every thing they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to loose it.

– George Washington, speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”

– George Washington

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.”

– George Washington

“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports….Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

– George Washington, Farewell Address 1796

“Oh, eternal and everlasting God, direct my thoughts, words and work.  Wash away my sins in the immaculate blood of the Lamb and purge my heart by Thy Holy Spirit. Daily, frame me more and more in the likeness of Thy son, Jesus Christ, that living in Thy fear, and dying in Thy favor, I may in thy appointed time obtain the resurrection of the justified unto eternal life. Bless, O Lord, the whole race of mankind and let the world be filled with the knowledge of Thee and Thy son, Jesus Christ.”

– George Washington, Prayer

“True religion affords to government its surest support.”

– George Washington

Samuel Adams, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“I … [rely] upon the merits of Jesus Christ for a pardon of all my sins.” – Samuel Adams

“We have this day [Fourth of July] restored the Sovereign to whom all men ought to be obedient. He reigns in Heaven, and from the rising to the setting of the sun, let His Kingdom come.”

– Samuel Adams

“The name of the Lord (says the Scripture) is a strong tower; thither the righteous flee and are safe (Proverbs 18:10). Let us secure His favor and He will lead us through the journey of this life and at length receive us to a better.”

– Samuel Adams

United States Congressional Endorsement of the Bible and God

Congress printed a Bible for America and said:

“The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.”

– United States Congress 1782

“Congress passed this resolution: “The Congress of the United States recommends and approves the Holy Bible for use in all schools.”

– United States Congress 1782

“By Law the United States Congress adds to US coinage:”

“In God We Trust”– United States Congress 1864

John Adams, President of the United States of America, First Vice President, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the Bill of Rights, and Signer of First Amendment

“We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.”

– John Adams and John Hancock

“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Adams

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.”

– John Adams

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

– John Adams

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

– John Adams

“I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.”

John Adams

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.”

John Adams

“[The Fourth of July] ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”

– John Adams

“As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him.”

– John Adams

“It is religion and morality alone which can establish the principles upon which freedom can securely stand. The only foundation of a free constitution is pure virtue.”

– John Adams

Abigail Adams, Wife of John Adams

“The Scriptures tell us righteousness exalteth a Nation.”

– Abigail Adams

Patrick Henry, Early America Leader

There is a book [the Bible] worth all the other books ever printed.– Patrick Henry

It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great Nation was founded not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.– Patrick Henry

John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.

– John Jay

The Bible is the best of all books, for it is the word of God and teaches us the way to be happy in this world and in the next. Continue therefore to read it and to regulate your life by its precepts.

– John Jay

John Hancock, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

We recognize no sovereign but God, and no King but Jesus.

– John Adams and John Hancock

Benjamin Rush, Signer of the Declaration of Independence

“The only foundation for . . . a republic is to be laid in Religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty, and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments.”

– Benjamin Rush

John Witherspoon, Continental Congress

“He is the best friend to American liberty, who is most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down on profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.”

– John Witherspoon

John Dickinson, Signer Constitution of the USA, Continental Congress

“The rights essential to happiness. . . . We claim them from a higher source — from the King of kings and Lord of all the earth.”

– John Dickinson

Benjamin Franklin

“Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.”

– Benjamin Franklin

Thomas Jefferson, President

God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.

– Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man

– Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

Daniel Webster, Early American Politician

Education is useless without the Bible.

– Daniel Webster

Noah Webster, American Schoolmaster

Education is useless without the Bible. The Bible was America’s basic text book in all fields. God’s Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.

– Noah Webster

In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government ought to be instructed … No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.

– Noah Webster, Preface Noah Webster Dictionary, 1828

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story

“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law … There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.”

– Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Harvard Speech, 1829

National Anthem of the United States of America, Francis Scott Key

“And this be our motto, ‘In God is our trust'” – USA National Anthem, Third Verse

Andrew Jackson, President of the United States of America

“[The Bible] is the rock on which our Republic rests.”

– Andrew Jackson

Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America

“In regards to this great Book [the Bible], I have but to say it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this Book. But for it we could not know right from wrong. All things most desirable for man’s welfare, here and hereafter, are found portrayed in it.”

– Abraham Lincoln

“I am busily engaged in study of the Bible.” – Abraham Lincoln

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.” – Abraham Lincoln

“This nation under God”

– Abraham Lincoln, Gettysberg Address and inscribed on Lincoln Memorial

“And whereas it is the duty of nations as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God … and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

– Abraham Lincoln

“We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.”

– Abraham Lincoln, Lincoln Memorial

“Whereas, the Senate of the United States, devoutly recognizing the Supreme Authority and just Government of Almighty God, in all the affairs of men and of nations, has, by a resolution, requested the President to designate and set apart a day for National prayer and humiliation…”

– Abraham Lincoln

United States Supreme Court

“This is a Christian nation”

– United States Supreme Court Decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of The Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian…This is a Christian nation”

– United States Supreme Court Decision in Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, 1892

Washington Monument

“Holiness to the Lord” (Exodus 28:26, 30:30, Isaiah 23:18, Zechariah 14:20)

– Washington Monument

“Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39)

– Washington Monument

“The memory of the just is blessed” (Proverbs 10:7)

– Washington Monument

“May Heaven to this Union continue its beneficence”

– Washington Monument

“In God We Trust”

– Washington Monument

“Praise be to God” (engraved on the monument’s capstone in Latin as “Laus Deo”)

– Washington Monument

James Madison, A Primary Author of the Constitution of the United States of America

“We have staked the whole future of our new nation, not upon the power of government; far from it. We have staked the future of all our political constitutions upon the capacity of each of ourselves to govern ourselves according to the moral principles of the Ten Commandments.

– James Madison

“Religion [is] the basis and foundation of Government”

– James Madison

“Cursed be all that learning that is contrary to the cross of Christ.”

– James Madison

Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States of America

“The foundations of our society and our government rest so much on the teachings of the Bible that it would be difficult to support them if faith in these teachings would cease to be practically universal in our country.”

– Calvin Coolidge

Prayers by American Presidents

In September 1789, Congress asked President George Washington to “recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a Constitution of government for their safety and happiness.”

Washington complied, and in early October sent a proclamation to the governors of the states.The proclamation asked the governors to make Thursday, November 26 a day of Thanksgiving, saying:

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor–and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be–That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks–for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation–for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war–for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed–for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted–for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions–to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually–to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed–to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness onto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord–To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us–and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.[ii] [iii] [iv]

George Washington, an undated prayer for guidance from Washington’s prayer journal, Mount Vernon:

O eternal and everlasting God, I presume to present myself this morning before thy Divine majesty, beseeching thee to accept of my humble and hearty thanks, that it hath pleased thy great goodness to keep and preserve me the night past from all the dangers poor mortals are subject to, and has given me sweet and pleasant sleep, whereby I find my body refreshed and comforted for performing the duties of this day, in which I beseech thee to defend me from all perils of body and soul…. Increase my faith in the sweet promises of the gospel; give me repentance from dead works; pardon my wanderings, and direct my thoughts unto thyself, the God of my salvation; teach me how to live in thy fear, labor in thy service, and ever to run in the ways of thy commandments; make me always watchful over my heart, that neither the terrors of conscience, the loathing of holy duties, the love of sin, nor an unwillingness to depart this life, may cast me into a spiritual slumber, but daily frame me more and more into the likeness of thy son Jesus Christ, that living in thy fear, and dying in thy favor, I may in thy appointed time attain the resurrection of the just unto eternal life bless my family, friends, and kindred.

Thomas Jefferson; a prayer for the Nation (Washington D.C., March 4, 1801):

Almighty God, Who has given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will. Bless our land with honorable ministry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion, from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people, the multitude brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endow with Thy spirit of wisdom those whom in Thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that through obedience to Thy law, we may show forth Thy praise among the nations of the earth. In time of prosperity fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in Thee to fail; all of which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Abraham Lincoln; a prayer for peace (Second Inaugural address, March 4, 1865):

Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God wills that it continues… until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid another drawn with the sword… so still it must be said that the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and for his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

Ronald Reagan; a prayer for healing (from a speech to the American people, February 6, 1986):

To preserve our blessed land we must look to God… It is time to realize that we need God more than He needs us… We also have His promise that we could take to heart with regard to our country, that “If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Let us, young and old, join together, as did the First Continental Congress, in the first step, in humble heartfelt prayer. Let us do so for the love of God and His great goodness, in search of His guidance and the grace of repentance, in seeking His blessings, His peace, and the resting of His kind and holy hands on ourselves, our nation, our friends in the defense of freedom, and all mankind, now and always. The time has come to turn to God and reassert our trust in Him for the healing of America… Our country is in need of and ready for a spiritual renewal. Today, we utter no prayer more fervently than the ancient prayer for peace on Earth. If I had a prayer for you today, among those that have all been uttered, it is that one we’re so familiar with: “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace….” And God bless you all.

George H. W. Bush; a prayer to help others (Inaugural address, January 20, 1989):

My first act as President is a prayer. I ask you to bow your heads. Heavenly Father, we bow our heads and thank You for Your love. Accept our thanks for the peace that yields this day and the shared faith that makes its continuance likely. Make us strong to do Your work, willing to heed and hear Your will, and write on our hearts these words: “Use power to help people.” For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people. Help us to remember it, Lord. The Lord our God be with us, as He was with our fathers; may He not leave us or forsake us; so that He may incline our hearts to Him, to walk in all His ways… that all peoples of the earth may know that the Lord is God; there is no other.

Question: What quote most surprised you and why?

Part 1: America’s Founders and Presidents: Proclamations for Public Fasting & Prayer

Part 2: America’s Founding Fathers and Early Statesmen: A Few Declarations on Jesus, Christianity and the Bible

 


[i] http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=149873

[ii] The Massachusetts Centinel, Wednesday, October 14, 1789

[iii] http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=40032

[iv] Thanksgiving Proclamation – The Original

n his speech on May 12, 1779, he claimed that what children needed to learn “above all” was the “religion of Jesus Christ,” and that to learn this would make them “greater and happier than they already are”;

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, Shades of Grace will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

5 Responses to “Is America a Christian Nation? More Quotes From Our Founders”

  1. retrogamer176 says:

    Wow, the first article is just factually made up! If you want to pray, pray, nobody is stopping you. Just remember to veiw Matthew 6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

    The bible says don't pray in public.

    When have kids been banned for saying "god bless"? Just tell me.
    A national day of prayer IS unconstitutional! It's respecting a religion!

    • Randy says:

      Retrogamer176, I am late to this game, so to speak, as I just found this site today (3/15/16) Jesus said don't pray in public to be seen by man. He never said don't pray in public. It was the heart motivation he was concerned with. There are dozens of references throughout the scriptures of people who prayed in public like Solomon, David, Peter, Paul, Moses, John and even Jesus himself prayed in public. As far as students being banned for saying "god bless" all you need to do is search on t hat topic to see that it has indeed happened.

  2. Eldonjos says:

    in the U.S constitution, religion is honored; not the God of the Bible

  3. David says:

    "Father in heaven, I marvel at the way You have revealed Your character in a manner that I can understand with people of all cultures and ages. I marvel at the Bible's narrative; straightforward and true, unbiased, factual, fearless of human or angelic opinion, traceable thru named places, genealogies; witnessed and written with human eyes and hands under full inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I understand human weakness; including my human weakness thru that holy narrative. I read of men coming to their many limits, making confession to You of their faults so that they come to terms of agreement with Your redemption. I read of Your forgiving grace and I feel it with deep conviction. I read and see in Jesus the Word made in flesh, full of grace and truth. I ask You for wisdom, as the scriptures challenge me, and I witness waves of Your precepts and promises, borne out in scripture written and compiled in ancient times and cultures, yet still more current than my next breath. I hear Your wisdom whisper in success and scream out loud in failure.
    I perceive the Founding Fathers understood the very things I now confess for themselves, by the wholesome declarations and encouragements they spoke, wrote and lived out. They take no thought of human opinion against them and neither do I. They regard no accusation of pretention or delusion against them and neither do I.
    I pray for the critics who, in their jealousy, discredit those Founding Fathers that trusted in You without offering anything better or more lasting. Their faith in You overcomes all human doubt still. I join them to praise You for this blessed assurance in the mighty name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, amen…"

  4. Boston-Jackson says:

    In an age of google, there is no reason for people to be so stupid.

    The letters and writings of our founding fathers are preserved in museums, and available online for anyone who chooses to fact check. Those to lazy, and those who believe these misquotes and pseudo Christian revisionist history, rather then reading the founders writings, in entirety, firsthand, deserve to believe this drivel, for it is easily disputed with minor effort, to those who seek truth by reading the primary writings of the framers, in entirety. Alas, truth is only for the virtuous seeker who is willing to look into the matter for him/herself.

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