For the church existed at first before the law.—Augustine
The first church, which is to be called the most ancient, existed before the Flood.—Emanuel Swedenborg
That was a time
When people conversed with angels
The movements of their mouths were praise for God
The mountains rang with Truth
The flowers germinated Love
It is scarcely possible now
To acquire one-thousandth of what we then knew
We had no need of doctrines
Nor of empires—a golden age
Because we saw the pulse of eternity in the sap of a tree
We worshipped in our tents
Could we spurn the evidence of our senses
When even the wicked heard the Word of God?
Every phrase in this poem paraphrases a passage from the works of Swedenborg. In order, starting with the epigraph, the sources of the passages are True Christian Religion, n. 760; True Christian Religion, n. 202 and Arcana Coelestia, n. 10,355; Arcana Coelestia, n. 607; Arcana Coelestia, n. 920; Arcana Coelestia, n. 920; Arcana Coelestia, n. 895; Apocalypse Explained, n. 815; Divine Providence, n. 215; Arcana Coelestia, n. 920; Arcana Coelestia, n. 414; Arcana Coelestia, n. 126-128; and Arcana Coelestia, n. 784.
This poem was published in Issue 187 of the Arlington Literary Journal, October 15, 2023.
January 8, 2023