583. IV. REGENERATION IS EFFECTED IN A MANNER ANALOGOUS TO THAT IN WHICH MAN IS CONCEIVED, CARRIED IN THE WOMB, BORN AND EDUCATED.
In man there is a perpetual correspondence between what takes place naturally and what takes place spiritually, or between what takes place in his body and what takes place in his spirit. This is because man as to his soul is born spiritual, and is clothed with what is natural, which forms his material body. Therefore when this body is laid aside, his soul, clothed with a spiritual body, enters a world where all things are spiritual, and is there affiliated with its like. Since then, the spiritual body must be formed in a material body, and is formed by means of truths and goods which flow in from the Lord through the spiritual world, and are inwardly received by man in such things in him as are from the natural world, which are called civil and moral, the way in which its formation is effected is evident; and since, as before said, there is in man a constant correspondence between what takes place naturally and what takes place spiritually, it follows that this formation is like conception, gestation, birth, and education. It is for this reason that natural births in the Word mean spiritual births, which are births of good and truth; for whatever is mentioned in the sense of the letter of the Word, which is natural, involves and signifies what is spiritual. That in each and all things of the sense of the letter of the Word there is a spiritual sense is fully shown in the chapter on the Sacred Scripture. That the natural births mentioned in the Word involve spiritual births is very obvious from the following passages:
We have conceived, we have travailed, we have as it were brought forth; we have not wrought salvation (Isa. 26:18).
At the presence of the Lord the earth bringeth forth (Ps. 114:7).
Hath the earth travailed for one day? Shall I break forth and not bring forth? Shall I cause to bring forth, and shut up? (Isa. 66:7-10).
Sin shall travail, and No shall be rent asunder (Ezek. 30:16).
The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon Ephraim; he is a son not wise, because he doth not stay his time in the womb of sons (Hos. 13:12, 13). (So also in many other places. )
As natural generations in the Word signify spiritual generations, and these are from the Lord, He is called the Maker and the former from the womb, as appears from the following:
Jehovah thy Maker and thy Former from the womb (Isa. 44:2).
Thou art He that took me out of the womb (Ps. 22:9).
Upon Thee have I been laid from the womb; Thou art He that took me out of my mother's bowels (Ps. 71:6).
Attend unto me, carried from the womb, borne from the matrix (Isa. 46:3). (Besides other passages.)
For this reason the Lord is called,
Father (as in Isa. 9:6; 63:16; John 10:30; 14:8, 9).
And those who are in goods and truths from Him are called,
Sons, and born of God, and brethren to each other (Matt. 23:8, 9).
And again the church is called,
Mother (Hos. 2:2, 5; Ezek. 16:45).