Arcana Coelestia (Elliott) n. 1093

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1093. That 'cursed be Canaan' means that external worship separated from internal turned itself away from the Lord is clear from the meaning of 'Canaan' and from the meaning of 'being cursed'. That 'Canaan' is external worship separated from internal is clear from what has been stated already about Canaan, also from his being called 'cursed'; and from what follows about his being 'a slave of slaves'. And being a slave both to Shem and to Japheth cannot mean anything other than something separated from the Church itself, such as worship that is wholly external. This is clear from the meaning of 'being cursed' as turning oneself away, for the Lord in no way curses anybody, or is even angry. Instead it is man who brings the curse upon himself by turning himself away from the Lord. On these points see what has been shown already in 223, 245, 592. The Lord is as far from cursing or being angry with anyone as the sky is from the earth. Who can believe that the Lord, who is all-knowing and all-powerful, who with wisdom rules the universe, and so who is infinitely superior to all [human] weaknesses, is angry with such pitifully worthless dust, that is, with human beings who scarcely know anything of what they do and who of themselves are incapable of anything other than evil? With the Lord therefore anger is never present, only mercy.

[2] That arcana are contained here can be seen merely from the consideration that even though it was Ham who saw his father's nakedness and pointed it out to his brothers, he was not cursed but his son Canaan, who was not his only son nor even the firstborn but the fourth in line, as is clear from Chapter 10:6 later on, where the sons of Ham are mentioned as being Cush, Mizraim, Put, and Canaan. It can in addition be seen from the Divine Law that no son was to bear his father's iniquity, as is clear in Ezekiel,

The soul that has sinned will die. The son will not bear the iniquity of the father, nor will the father bear the iniquity of the son. Ezek. 18:20; Deut. 14:16; 2 Kings 14:6.

And the same can also be seen from the consideration that this iniquity of merely seeing his father's nakedness and pointing it out to his brothers seems too slight for all of his descendants ever to have been cursed on that account. From these considerations it is clear that arcana are contained here.

[3] The reason Ham is not mentioned here but Canaan is that Ham means faith separated from charity in the spiritual Church, which cannot be cursed because in that Church faith has holiness present within it because truth is present there. And although there is no faith when there is no charity, it is still possible - since it is by means of the cognitions of faith that a person is regenerated - for separated faith to be allied to charity, and in this way to be in some sense 'a brother' or may become one. This was why Canaan was cursed and not Ham. Furthermore the inhabitants of the land of Canaan were for the most part people such as made all worship consist in external things, the Jews there as much as the gentiles. These are the arcana contained here, but for which Canaan would never have been substituted for Ham. That external worship separated from internal turns itself away and so brings a curse on itself is quite clear from the fact that people whose worship is external have no regard for anything other than worldly, bodily, and earthly things. Thus they look downwards, and immerse their minds (animus) and life in those things; such will be dealt with a little further on.

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