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The Ark
ANNIE M. KNOTT, CSD


         The subject of the ark as it appears in Scripture and as it is explained in our Leader’s writings, is of deep interest to students of Christian Science. In their earlier religious experiences most of them were accustomed to think of the ark in a very literal way; but in the light of Truth it is seen to be a spiritual idea, in which we may find refuge from all the storms of error. In the Bible the first mention of the ark is made in Genesis, where the account of Noah’s protection during the flood is set forth.

         We also read in Exodus that when Moses was an infant his mother made an ark of bulrushes in which the child was placed, and committed to the unceasing protection of divine Love, so that no harm could befall him. There were cruel human foes on the shore and fierce crocodiles in the waters; but this mother in Israel, even at that early day, trusted her child to divine Truth and Love, and God did not fail her. If we glance briefly into the record, we shall find that the child was claimed by Pharaoh’s daughter and brought up by her, and that his education in all the learning of that time was apparently necessary in order to fit him for meeting its representatives at a later day, when he sought to free his people from Egyptian bondage.

         The idea is again presented to us as the ‘ark of the covenant,’ which is described in several of the books of the Bible, the ark which accompanied the children of Israel on their wanderings and at length found a permanent resting place in the temple at Jerusalem. The fact that it was regarded with superstitious awe by many of the people, need not prevent us from seeing its deep significance as a symbol of the divine idea; and when this is once apprehended in Christian Science, it makes luminous all that we read about the ark in the Bible, and also shows us how we may find safety in the spiritual idea, which was symbolized in the varied experiences of the Hebrew people.

         On page 581 of Science and Health our revered Leader thus defines ark: “Safety; the idea, or reflection, of Truth, proved to be as immortal as its Principle; the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter.” She goes on, “The ark indicates temptation overcome and followed by exaltation.”

         It is well for us to remember that the symbolic form of the ark, as expressed materially, is of little consequence, although this met the varying needs of humanity at different times. When, however, we apply our understanding of divine Truth, we shall discover that every presentation of the subject shows us how we may find refuge and safety in time of need.

         In the ninth chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews we are told about the tabernacle which is “the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant.” All of these symbols relate themselves without difficulty to the working out of our human problems, and we rejoice in knowing that our manna comes to us fresh every day from the rich provision of divine Love, and that it means for us, in the proportion of our assimilation of it, eternal life.

         After the deluge Noah was assured by ever present wisdom that a flood of waters would never again cover the earth; but as the history of the human race unfolds we find distinct reference to another sort of deluge, that of fire, which has undoubtedly come upon mankind at this very hour [i.e., World War I]. Some of the Scripture writers saw this as meaning the entire destruction of everything on the human plane; but Isaiah, whose clear spiritual vision never lost sight of the divine idea, wrote: “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

         In his second epistle St. Peter tells us of the coming of this second deluge, that of fire; but with calm confidence he also tells of the protection of those who love and obey God, declaring that “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise.” He does say that there will be a great consuming of all materiality, when even “the elements shall melt with fervent heat;” but he hastens to add that in spite of this we should “look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” In an old hymn we find these deeply significant lines: —

And when the waves of ire
Again the earth shall fill,
The ark shall ride the sea of fire
And rest on Zion’s hill.

         In this second deluge those who understand the divine Principle of Jesus’ teachings will read with calm assurance his words respecting this latter-day experience. He bids us watch and pray always that we may escape the things that shall come to pass on the mortal plane, and that we may lift thought above the “surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life,” but he at the same time says, “There shall not an hair of your head perish.” On page 188 of Miscellany our revered Leader says, “Your ark of the covenant will not be brought out of the city of David, but out of ‘the secret place of the most High,’ whereof the Psalmist sang, even the omniscience of omnipotence.” Be this forever our ark of the covenant, our place of refuge!

 

"The Ark" by Annie M. Knott, CSD
Christian Science Sentinel, September 1, 1917
 

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