IT is strange to see how things are slighted only because they are common, though in themselves worthy of the most serious consideration. This is the very case of the subject I am now treating of. What is more common than the begetting of children? And what is more wonderful than the plastic power of Nature, by which children are formed? For though there be radicated in the very nature of all creatures a propension which leads them to produce the image of themselves, yet how these images are produced after those propensions are satisfied, is only known to those who trace the secret meanders of Nature in her private chambers, those dark recesses of the womb where this embryo receives formation. The original of which proceeds from the Divine command -- increase and multiply. The natural inclination and propensity of both sexes to each other, with the plastic power of Nature, is only the energy of the first blessing, which to this day upholds the species of mankind in the world.
Now, Since philosophy informs us that Nosoe te ipsum (know thyself) is one of the first lessons a man ought to learn, it cannot surely be accounted an useless piece of knowledge for a man to be acquainted with the cause of his own being, or by what secret power of Nature it was, that coagulated milk (as a divine author calls it) came to be transubstantiated into a human body. The explanation of this mystery, and the unfolding of the plastic power of Nature in the secret workings of generation and the formation of the seed in the womb, are the subject of the following Treatise; a subject so necessary to be known to the female sex, that many for want of this knowledge have perished with the fruit of their womb also; who, had they but understood the secrets of generation which are displayed in this Treatise, might have been still living. For the sake of such, I have compiled this work, which I have divided into two parts, in the following manner:
1st,-- I will show that Nature need not be ashamed of her work; give a particular description of the parts or organs of generation in man, and afterwards in woman; and then show the use of these parts in the act of coition; and how positively Nature has adapted them to the end for which He has ordained them.
2nd,-- I will point out the prohibition of restriction, that the Creator of all things and the Lord of Nature has put upon man, by the institution of marriage; with the advantage it brings to mankind.
3rd.-- I shall show when either sex may enter Into a married state, and be fit to answer the end of their creation, etc.
4th.-- I shall discourse on virginity, and therein show what it is, how it is known, by what means it may be lost, how a person may know that it is so, etc.
In the second part, which chiefly relates to married women, and the preservation of the Fruit of the Womb, for the propagation of mankind to the world, I will show:
1st.-- What conception is: what is pre-requisite thereunto; how a woman may know when she hath conceived, and whether a boy or a girl.
2nd.-- Show how a woman that has conceived ought to order herself.
3rd.-- Show what woman ought to do that is near the time of her delivery, and how she ought to be assisted.
4th.-- I shall show what are the obstructions of conception, and therein discourse largely about barrenness, and show what are the causes and cure thereof both in men and women.
5th.-- Direct midwives how they shall assist women in the time of lying in; bringing several other material matters proper to be spoken of under each of these several heads; which shall sufficiently render this book what Aristotle designed it, his Complete Master Piece.