Arcana Coelestia (Potts) n. 1093

1093. Cursed be Canaan. That this signifies that external worship separate from internal averts itself from the Lord, is evident from the signification of "Canaan" and from that of "being cursed." That "Canaan" is external worship separate from internal, is evident from what has been said before about Canaan, and also from his being said to be "cursed" and from what follows about his being a servant of servants; moreover one who is a servant to both Shem and Japheth cannot signify anything else than something that is separated from the church itself, such as is worship in externals alone. This is evident from the signification of being "cursed" as being to avert oneself, because the Lord never curses anyone, nor is even angry; but it is man who curses himself by averting himself from the Lord. (See what was stated and shown above, n. 223, 245, 592.) The Lord is as far from cursing anyone and being angry with him as heaven is from earth. Who can believe that the Lord, who is omniscient and omnipotent, and by His wisdom rules the universe, and is thus infinitely above all infirmities, is angry with such wretched dust as men, who scarcely know anything of what they do, and can of themselves do nothing but evil? It is, therefore, never possible for the Lord to be angry, or be other than merciful. [2] That arcana are here contained, may be seen merely from this, that Ham is not cursed, when yet it was he who saw the nakedness of his father and told it to his brethren, but his son Canaan, who was not his only son nor his firstborn, but the fourth in order, as is evident from the tenth chapter, sixth verse, where the sons of Ham are named: Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. It was also of the Divine Law that a son should not bear the iniquity of his father, as is evident in Ezekiel:
The soul that sinneth, it shall die; the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son (18:20; Deut. 24:16; 2 Kings 14:6). The same appears also from the consideration that this iniquity seems so light (that is to say, Ham's seeing the nakedness of his father and telling it to his brethren), that a whole posterity could not be cursed for it. From all this it is evident that there are arcana contained here. [3] That "Ham" is not now named, but "Canaan" is because "Ham" signifies faith separated from charity in the spiritual church; and this cannot be cursed, since in that church there is holiness in faith, because there is truth. Hence although there is no faith when there is no charity, still as man is regenerated by means of the knowledges of faith, this faith without charity may be joined to charity, and thus is in a certain sense a brother, or may become a brother; therefore not Ham but Canaan was cursed. Furthermore, the inhabitants of the land of Canaan were in great part of such a nature that they made all worship consist in externals, the Jews as well as the Gentiles. Such are the arcana here contained, and unless this were so, Canaan would never have been substituted in place of Ham. That external worship separated from internal averts itself and thus curses itself, is sufficiently evident from the consideration that those who are in external worship regard nothing but what is worldly, corporeal, and earthly; thus they look downward, and immerse their minds and their life in these things, of which we shall have more to say presently.

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