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Section 30

30. We have declared acts of memory unnecessary to the stars, but we allow them perceptions, hearing as well as seeing; for we said that prayers to them were heard- our supplications to the sun, and those, even, of certain other men to the stars. It has moreover been the belief that in answer to prayer they accomplish many human wishes, and this so lightheartedly that they become not merely helpers towards good but even accomplices in evil. Since this matter lies in our way, it must be considered, for it carries with it grave difficulties that very much trouble those who cannot think of divine beings as, thus, authors or auxiliaries in unseemliness even including the connections of loose carnality.

In view of all this it is especially necessary to study the question with which we began, that of memory in the heavenly bodies.

It is obvious that, if they act on our prayers and if this action is not immediate, but with delay and after long periods of time, they remember the prayers men address to them. This is something that our former argument did not concede; though it appeared plausible that, for their better service of mankind, they might have been endowed with such a memory as we ascribed to Demeter and Hestia- or to the latter alone if only the earth is to be thought of as beneficent to man.

We have, then, to attempt to show: firstly, how acts implying memory in the heavenly bodies are to be reconciled with our system as distinguished from those others which allow them memory as a matter of course; secondly, what vindication of those gods of the heavenly spheres is possible in the matter of seemingly anomalous acts- a question which philosophy cannot ignore- then too, since the charge goes so far, we must ask whether credence is to be given to those who hold that the entire heavenly system can be put under spell by man's skill and audacity: our discussion will also deal with the spirit-beings and how they may be thought to minister to these ends- unless indeed the part played by the Celestials prove to be settled by the decision upon the first questions.

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