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The Ark of God
M. PAULINE SIEDOFF


         Who has not been held in reverent wonderment whenever the familiar Bible story of Noah and the ark has been presented? It is a story that never loses its power to arouse one's thought and to inspire it with greater trust in God's power to protect and safeguard those who are endeavoring to order their lives aright and to be obedient to the light of Truth; for one cannot but be impressed with the reward received by Noah, as the result of fulfilling the instructions which came to him from divine wisdom.

         We are told in the account recorded in Genesis that at the time of the flood "the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." But of Noah we read, "Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God." As the account continues, the outcome of these opposite states of thinking and acting is depicted, the evildoers were swallowed up by the flood of water, while the right doer was exalted to a condition of safety.

         Until the illumination of divine Science is thrown upon this account, one is apt to accept the inference that God was the instrument for the punishment of the evildoers. But what enlightenment Christian Science brings to the student! It shows him that evil is entirely outside of God's creation, altogether unsustained by Truth; and he further learns that God can therefore take no cognizance of evil. Mrs. Eddy, in her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," shows this conclusion to be a necessary corollary to the fact of the all-inclusiveness of good, of God, Spirit, Mind, Love, which Christian Science presents; for it is clear that there can be no place for evil in such an infinitely good reality. This fact, too, is in conformity with the Bible statement, to be found in Habakkuk, where one may read that God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil" and "cannot look on iniquity." Thus it is that evil, having no basis in God, is unreal; and, therefore, the belief of evil is self-destructive. It is, then, the self-destruction of evil that is evidenced in the calamity depicted in the story of Noah and the ark.

         The most comforting and inspiring effect, however, on the reader of the account under consideration is the great protection bestowed upon Noah, the one who "walked with God," who was exalted to a condition unaffected by the states of evil belief, and preserved from all harm. And how is such a condition of safety to be attained, asks the Truth-seeker? For, since "God is no respecter of persons," and the same "yesterday, and to day, and for ever," we also may expect His protection. Christian Science shows that it can be attained through the spiritual understanding of God and His perfectly sustained creation.

         God and His attributes, expressed through man, constitute reality; and Mrs. Eddy tells us (Science and Health, p. 465) that the attributes of God are "justice, mercy, wisdom, goodness, and so on." These attributes, when spiritually understood and put into practice, enable us to abide in the "secret place of the most High;" or, in other words, in the ark of God. It is through our adherence to these attributes that we are preserved from evil. The Psalmist says: "Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling."

         To keep one's thoughts in this exalted state of consciousness which accepts only the allness of God, and constantly expresses His attributes, requires vigilance; and the student finds that in the process of spiritual unfoldment many times he is called upon to sacrifice personal desires and human inclinations. Neither can he allow himself to be influenced by thought which is not bent toward the same spiritual goal. But through his faithfulness and perseverance in reflecting the attributes of God, he will find with joy that he is gradually being lifted out of the belief in the reality of matter and its self-destructive conditions into greater understanding of spiritual reality and its harmony; and this growing spiritual understanding reassures him of the powerlessness and unreality of evil or material beliefs, enabling him to destroy them whenever they may present themselves to his thought. He therefore finds that in turning away from matter and its seeming conditions he loses nothing real, nothing of lasting value; but, instead, as the self-destruction of evil is made manifest about him, he gains the blessedness and peace of righteousness, which is indeed his secure resting place.

         Of the word "ark," Mrs. Eddy gives this enlightening and inclusive definition in the Glossary of Science and Health (p. 581): "Safety; the idea, or reflection, of Truth, proved to be as immortal as its Principle; the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter." And she adds, "The ark indicates temptation overcome followed by exaltation."

 

"The Ark of God" by M. Pauline Siedoff
Christian Science Sentinel, August 2, 1924
 

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