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The ritual includes features found on other holy days, sacrifices, abstinence from work, &c.; and also certain unique acts.12 7  In the discipline of the Christian Church abstinence is the term for a less severe form of Fasting.8 3  In 1627 and 1631, again commanded abstinence from all flesh during Lent, and the High Church movement of the 17th century lent a fresh religious sanction to the official attitude.3 2  During the religious confusion of the Reformation, the practice of fasting was generally relaxed and it was found necessary to reassert the obligation of keeping Lent and the other periods and days of abstinence by a series of proclamations and statutes.4 3  The legends are numerous and of an astrological character, intended to account for the Syrian dove-worship and abstinence from fish (see the story in Athenaeus viii.3 2  Though conspicuously uniting faith in Christ with spiritual maturity, there are evidences that, like other Valentinians, Heracleon did not sufficiently emphasize abstinence from the moral laxity and worldliness into which his followers fell.1 1  But filial feeling and established custom secured a measure of kindly sympathy, shown by precedence yielded at public games, and by the almost invariable abstinence of the colony from a hostile share in wars in which the mother city was engaged.1 1  14-20 (P), but is independent of them: it omits all reference to the "holy convocations" and to the abstinencefrom labour, and is obviously simpler and more primitive.   Other than abstinence from marriage, at all events at the principal reproductive period; and perhaps to a decrease in marriage or remarriage after middle life, a period of which the weight in the age-distribution has been increasing of late.2 2  With the growth of the Oxford Movement in the English Church, the practice of observing Lent was revived; and, though no rules for fasting are authoritatively laid down, the duty of abstinence is now very generally inculcated by bishops and clergy, either as a discipline or as an exercise in self-denial.4 4  Both inculcated a peculiar kind of ascetic life; both had a mystical speculative theory of religion, with purificatory rites, abstinence from beans, &c.; but Orphism was more especially religious, while Pythagoreanism, at least originally, inclined more to be a political and philosophical creed.1 2  A fourth was subsequently added, for the sake of symmetry, to make them correspond with the four seasons, and they became known as the jejunium vernum, aestivum, autumnale and hiemale, so that, to quote Pope Leo's words, "the law of abstinence might apply to every season of the year." 1  If abstinence from marriage and the curtailment of the reproductive period by postponement of marriage be insufficient to account for the material change which has taken place in the birth-rate within the last few decades, it is clear that the latter must be attributable to the diminished fertility of those who are married. 1  The time requisite for the several degrees is unknown, and may have been determined by the Patres, who conferred them in a solemn ceremony called Sacramentum, in which the initial step was an oath never to divulge what should be revealed, and for which the mystic had been specially prepared by lustral purification, prolonged abstinence, and severe deprivations.1 2  There is some doubt about the genuineness of an ordinance attributed to Constantine, in which abstinencefrom public business was enforced for the seven days immediately preceding Easter Sunday, and also for the seven which followed it; the Codex Theodosianus, however, is explicit in ordering that all actions at law should cease, and the doors of all courts of law be closed during those fifteen days (1. 1  Attached to it all matters concerning indulgences; on the other hand, he transferred to the Congregation of the Council matters concerning the precepts of the Church such as fasting, abstinence and festivals.1 2  Then follows Ramadan, the month of abstinence, a severe trial to the faithful; and the Lesser Festival (Al-id as-~aghir), which commences Shawwl, is hailed by them with delight.

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