Similarly, certain interpolated passages found in the Sibylline Oracles, passages which probably date from the third century, show an equal preoccupation with the dominant role played by the Blessed Virgin in the work of redemption (see especially II, 311-12, and VIII, 357-479).
It is not without significance that we are told of the Apostles after the Ascension of Christ, that "all these were persevering with one mind in prayer with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren" (Acts ).
Three others which represent the adoration of the Magi are a century later.
There is also a remarkable but very much mutilated bas-relief, found at Carthage, which may be probably assigned to the time of Constantine.
Evidence regarding the popular practice of the early centuries is almost entirely lacking, and while on the one hand the faith of Christians no doubt took shape from above downwards (i.e.
the Apostles and teachers of the Church delivered a message which the laity accepted from them with all docility) still indications are not lacking that in matters of sentiment and devotion the reverse process sometimes obtained.