1. The land of the Word and the Church. The land of Canaan is, above all other regions of the earth, the land of the Word of God and the land of the Lord's ancient churches.
Here was the cradle of mankind. Here was the Garden of Eden, where the celestial men and women of the Golden Age lived in the happy and innocent days of the infancy of our race. Here the Ancient Church, the Church of Noah, arose after the Flood. Here the Hebrew and Israelitish Churches flourished and declined. Here, as a citizen of this land, the Creator of the universe, the Savior of mankind, assumed and glorified the Human. Here He taught and founded His Christian Church. And here the Word of God was written.
The study of this land is, therefore, nothing but the study of the Word of God and of the Church. If we can succeed in having the map of Canaan thoroughly impressed upon our sensories, and if at the same time we can form distinct ideas of the spiritual significance of its contours, we shall have enriched our minds with a map of the Word, a map of the spiritual constitution of man, a map of the Lord's Church in every age, and a map of His Heavenly Kingdom.
2. The land of Canaan representative throughout. Universal nature is a theatre representative of its Creator and His spiritual kingdom. The effect cannot but bear the impress and similitude of its cause.
All nature is the Word of God, written by His own hand in the sun, the stars, and all things of the earth. "The Heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge."
To the men of the Golden Age the Book of Nature was the Word of God, and they had no need of a written Revelation. They enjoyed open communication with Heaven, and the things in the natural world were to them nothing but the external and perfectly intelligible signs of the spiritual and celestial things which they beheld and heard in the angelic world. Hence they had a clear perception of the internal meaning, significance and correspondence of every single thing on earth. Mountains and valleys, lakes and rivers, plants and animals,—all were grasped by them in spiritual ideas, and named by them in correspondence with their heavenly prototypes.
3. The origin of its representatives. The most ancient people lived in the land of Canaan and round about, and they spoke a language formed from Heaven and in many things similar to the ancient Hebrew tongue. Hence every place and natural feature of that land originally received its name from Heaven and in harmony with its correspondence to things in Heaven and in the human mind. These names remained long after their true meaning had been forgotten by the degenerate descendants of the people of the Golden and Silver Ages, and thus it came to pass that the Land of Canaan was more suitable than any other country to be the theatre in which the spiritual drama of the Israelitish Church could be enacted and the Word of God written in types of heavenly things. Not that Canaan was actually more representative than any other country. Pennsylvania is just as much the handiwork of God, and just as representative of spiritual things, but the names of places here were not given immediately from Heaven, and their signification has not been revealed.
4. The general representation of the land. As to the generally representative character of the land of Canaan, we have the following teachings in the Writings of the New Church:
5. The comprehensiveness of its representation. The land of Canaan possesses so universally comprehensive a representation in the letter of the Word that it would be difficult to state what it does not represent. A few passages from the Writings will illustrate this comprehensiveness:
6. Resume. From these and innumerable other teachings we may draw up the following resume of the general and particular representations and significations of the land of Canaan:
I. The Lord's Kingdom, i. e., the Church.
a. in the individual man.
b. in the whole complex.
in the other life, i. e., the Heavenly Canaan:
d. the perverted man of the Church.
e. the Church perverted and consummated.
f. the kingdom of falsity and evil in Hell.
II. Every state of religion, in this life and in the other.
III. The Lord Himself.
a. as to His infirm Human.
b. as to His victorious Human.
c. as to His Divine Human.