Does the "ark of God" mean the "Ark of the Covenant"? Does "I die with the Lord" mean " I die for the Lord"?

To the unfettered mind this sect or that seems a matter of indifference, but to Irving, both from heredity and from education, the Scottish Church was the ark of God, and yet he, its zealous, faithful son, driven by his own conscience, had rushed forth and had found the great gates which contained Salvation slammed and barred behind him.

And so, working to the very end and with the words, "If I die, I die with the Lord," upon his lips, his soul passed forth into that clearer and more golden light where the tired brain finds rest and the anxious spirit enters into a peace and assurance which life has never given.

The History of Spiritualism By A.C Doyle

  • Yes, there's no doubt that when Conan Doyle writes the ark of God he means the same as he would mean by the ark of the Covenant (ignoring potential issues regarding capitalization). But be warned that what he meant by either of those terms might not even be the same as his contemporaries, let alone present-day readers. And as for dying with / for the Lord, any fine nuance of difference is really anybody's guess. Jun 15, 2020 at 15:48
  • @FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica explain about "rushed forth...". what the author wants to say?
    – user116714
    Jun 15, 2020 at 16:21
  • 1
    It may refer to Noah's Ark, in which the virtuous Noah and his family survived the flood. The Scots Presbyterians would have believed that only members of their church would achieve salvation. Jun 15, 2020 at 16:24
  • @Kate Bunting oh thanks god. an educated person. why the author says he had rushed forth and had found the great gates which contained Salvation slammed and barred behind him?
    – user116714
    Jun 15, 2020 at 16:26
  • 'Rushed forth' - he presumably acquired some beliefs which forced him to leave the Scottish church even though he had always understood it to be necessary for salvation. Jun 15, 2020 at 16:26

1 Answer 1


I don't think the word "ark" in your quotation is referring back to any biblically-named ark.

The word "Ark" is derived from the Latin word arca, literally meaning "chest," but also carrying the meaning of "to hold off or defend". The ark built by Noah resembled a chest according to biblical descriptions of its dimensions, and defended or protected its occupants. The Ark of the Covenant that the Israelites carried did not offer any physical protection but was a symbol of God's protection and presence with them.

Your quotation says:

to Irving... the Scottish Church was the ark of God.

I understand this to mean that Irving considered the Scottish Church as being the "ark" at that present time - that he believed that God was with this church, as opposed to any other denomination.

As he believed God was "with" this church, when he said "I die with the lord" it seems he meant he was with God by being part of this church. It seems that he is quoting the bible verse Romans 14:8 - perhaps a scholarly translation of this verse in your own language might help you understand the meaning.

  • Good answer. I would add that the expression "I die with the Lord." is probably a paraphrase of "die unto the Lord" in Romans 14:8. There Paul describes the members of the Church as God's servants personally accountable to him.
    – David42
    Jun 16, 2020 at 15:19
  • @David42 Possible, but that gets a little bit doctrinal and I'd prefer to focus on just the language.
    – Astralbee
    Jun 17, 2020 at 7:39
  • I don't think the text can be understood at all without some knowledge of Christian doctrine. Otherwise we might suppose that he thinks he is dying on the same occasion as his liege lord. And I think there is a strong case that he is borrowing language from Romans 14 which makes this a literary reference worth calling out. Note the unusual construction "If I die, I die...". Missing literary and cultural references is a common error of language learns which we can help them correct.
    – David42
    Jun 17, 2020 at 18:39
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    @David42 i've added that in.
    – Astralbee
    Jun 17, 2020 at 21:04

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