VI. (32) And there are particular periods affecting the health of the woman when a man may not touch her, but during that time he must abstain from all connection with her, respecting the laws of nature. And, at the same time, he must learn not to waste his vigour in the pursuit of an unseemly and barbarous pleasure; for such conduct would be like that of a husbandman who, out of drunkenness or sudden insanity, should sow wheat or barley in lakes or flooded torrents, instead of over the fertile plains; for it is proper to cast seed upon fields when they are dry, in order that it may bear abundant fruit. (33) But nature each month cleanses the womb, as if it were some field of marvellous fertility, the proper season for fertilising which must be watched for by the husband as if he were a skilful husbandman, in order to withhold his seed and abstain from sowing it at a time when it is inundated; for, if he do not do so, the seed, without his perceiving it, will be swept away by the moisture, not only having all its spiritual energies relaxed, but having them, in fact, utterly dissolved. These are the persons who form animals in that workshop of nature, the womb, and who perfect with the most consummate skill each separate one of the parts of the body and soul. But when the periods of illness which I have spoken of are interrupted, then he may with confidence shower his seed into the ground ready to receive it, no longer fearing that there will be any loss of the seed thus sown. (34) But those people deserve to be reproached who are ploughing a hard and stony soil. And who can these be but they who have connected themselves with barren women? For such men are only hunters after intemperate pleasure, and in the excess of their licentious passions they waste their seed of their own deliberate purpose. Since for what other reason can they espouse such women? It cannot be for a hope of children, which they are aware must, of necessity, be disappointed, but rather to gratify their excess in lust and incurable incontinence. (35) As many men, therefore, as marry virgins in ignorance of how will they will turn out as regards their prolificness, or the contrary, when after a long time they perceive, by their never having any children, that they are barren, and do not then put them away, are still worthy of pardon, being influenced by habit and familiarity, which are motives of great weight, and being also unable to break through the power of those ancient charms which by long habituation are stamped upon their souls. (36) But those who marry women who have been previously tested by other men and ascertained to be barren, do merely covet the carnal enjoyment like so many boars or goats, and deserve to be inscribed among the lists of impious men as enemies to God; for God, as being friendly to all the animals that exist, and especially to man, takes all imaginable care to secure preservation and duration to every kind of creature. But those who seek to waste all their power at the very moment of putting it forth are confessedly enemies of nature.