264. That the "conception and birth of sons" in the Word, are taken in a spiritual sense-"conception" for the thought and device of the heart, and "sons" for truths, is evident from Hosea:
As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb: and from the conception; though they shall have brought up their sons, yet will I bereave them, that they be not man; yea, woe also to them when I depart from them (Hos. 9:11-12),
where "Ephraim" signifies the intelligent, or the understanding of truth; and "sons" truths themselves. It is likewise said elsewhere concerning Ephraim, or one who is intelligent, who has become foolish:
The sorrows of one in travail have come upon him, he is an unwise son, for at the time he will not stand in the breach of the womb of sons (Hos. 13:13).
And in Isaiah:
Blush, O Zidon, for the sea hath spoken, the fortress of the sea, saying, I have not travailed, nor brought forth, nor have I brought up young men, nor caused girls to grow up; as at the report concerning Egypt, they shall bring forth according to the report of Tyre (Isa. 23:4-5),
where "Zidon" means those who have been in the knowledges of faith, but have destroyed them by memory-knowledges [scientifica], and so have become barren.
 Again in the same prophet, treating of regeneration, and where likewise the truths of faith are signified by "sons": Before she travailed she bringeth forth; and before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child; who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? shall the earth bring forth in one day? and shall I not cause to bring forth? saith Jehovah; shall I cause to bring forth, and close up? saith thy God (Isa. 66:7-9).
Goods and truths, being conceived and born of the heavenly marriage, are therefore called "sons" by the Lord in Matthew:
He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man the field is the world and the seed are the sons of the kingdom (Matt. 13:37-38).
And the goods and truths of a saving faith He calls "sons of Abraham" (John 8:39); for "seed" (as stated n. 255) denotes faith, wherefore "sons" which are of the "seed" are the goods and truths of faith. Hence also the Lord, as being Himself the "seed" called Himself the "Son of man" that is, the faith of the church.