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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).

The first of these passages apparently assigns to the intercession "of the Holy Virgin" the obtaining of the boon of seven days of eternity that men may find time for repentance (cf. Further, it is quite likely that the mention of the Blessed Virgin in the intercessions of the diptychs of the liturgy goes back to the days before the Council of Nicaea, but we have no definite evidence upon the point, and the same must be said of any form of direct invocation, even for purposes of private devotion.

Three others which represent the adoration of the Magi are a century later.

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Cyprian, and the stress laid upon the "satisfactory" character of the sufferings of the martyrs, emphasizing the view that by their death they could obtain graces and blessings for others, naturally and immediately led to their direct invocation.

A further reinforcement, of the same idea, was derived from the cult of the angels, which, while pre-Christian in its origin, was heartily embraced by the faithful of the sub-Apostolic age.

Let the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost be adored, but let no one adore Mary" ().

Nonetheless the same Epiphanius abounds in the praises of the Virgin Mother, and he believed that there was some mysterious dispensation with regard to her death implied in the words of Revelations : "And there were given to the woman two wings of a great eagle that she might fly into the desert unto her place." Certain it is, in any case, that such Fathers as St. Jerome, partly inspired with admiration for the ascetic ideals of a life of virginity and partly groping their way to a clearer understanding of all that was involved in the mystery of the Incarnation, began to speak of the Blessed Virgin as the model of all virtue and the ideal of sinlessness.

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