The Most Ancient Church
A revelation of the Lord to mankind has existed in all ages, for without Revelation from Him the human race could have no conjunction with Him; and without this conjunction with Him, who is the only Esse and Life, man could not receive being, and life thus could not exist.
The very first idea that was possible for man to receive concerning God, from Revelation from Him, was that He was, and that He was a Man. For in the Human form He first appeared to these first men, teaching them that they and everything were from Him, and that He was Life, Love, and Esse itself. These Eternal Verities were all expressed in that wonderful name by which the Lord was known to the Most Ancient People: the name of Jehovah. That this name of the Lord is the very most ancient of all Divine names we find distinctly taught in numerous places in the Writings, as in Arcana Caelestia, n. 1343, Apocalypse Explained, n. 1116, and True Christian Religion, n. 19. It is, indeed, stated in Genesis iv, 26, that, in the time of Enos "men began to call upon the name of Jehovah," but concerning this we learn in Arcana Caelestia, n. 440, 441, that "the invocation of the name Jehovah did not actually commence at this time, as has been sufficiently proved by what was said above in reference to the Most Ancient Church, which more than any other adored and worshiped the Lord. Here, then, by calling upon the name of Jehovah, nothing else is signified than the worship of a New Church, after the former Church had been extinguished by those who are denominated Cain and Lamech."
This worship of the Lord in a Human form under the name of Jehovah constitutes, therefore, the primary of the worship of the Most Ancient Church, which fact must be borne in mind, in order to understand the subsequent origin of polytheism.
Another universal characteristic of the men of the Most Ancient Church was that peculiar faculty of Perception, with which they were endowed. This Perception was with them a sort of internal sensation of delights and undelights, from which they knew whether a thing was good and true, or the opposite. By means of this faculty, which only those have who are in celestial love to the Lord, the Most Ancient Church had also open communication with heaven, and hence the internal sight and perception of this people was such that it made even inanimate things appear living, so that they saw in all things the images of the life of heaven (A. C. 3702, 3887). Hence the Most Ancients saw something representative of, or representing, the Kingdom of the Lord in natural forms in all and single things of the universe; but they never clung to the natural objects themselves with their eyes, and still less with their minds, but these things were to them only the means for thinking concerning the spiritual and celestial things of the Kingdom of the Lord (A. C. 2722).
This open communication with the spiritual world, and this perception with the most ancients, of the spiritual and celestial representatives and correspondences in the natural world, are also most important principles to bear in mind when studying the origin of idolatry.
When, in subsequent ages, the Most Ancient Church declined and fell, in consequence of an arising and increasing love of self, the will and the understanding, which formerly were one, were, with its descendants, separated into two faculties; hence the former faculty of Perception perished, and men were instead gifted with a Conscience, formed from a reception of the Lord's Commandments into the understanding.