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Excessive strictness in the observance of the Divinely ordained day of rest. Although there is evidence of a similar rigidity in the observance of Saturday among the Anabaptists of E. Europe in the 16th cent., the strict observance of Sunday is a peculiar development of the English and Scottish Reformation, unknown on the Continent. Its origins are connected with the publication of N. Bound's True Doctrine of the Sabbath (1595), which advocated strict enforcement on OT lines. The ensuing controversy assumed political importance when James I issued his ‘Book of Sports’ (1617), allowing various sports on Sunday. When this was reissued by Charles I in 1633, it aroused a storm of protest. The Puritan Sabbath was imposed by various Acts of Parliament, but somewhat relaxed at the Restoration. Under the influence of the Evangelical Revival rigorism reappeared at the end of the 18th cent.; the Lord's Day Observance Act, drawn up by Bp. B. Porteus in 1781, forbade the opening on Sunday of places of entertainment or debate to which admission was gained by payment. Relaxation has been progressive since the latter part of the 19th cent. See also Sunday.

Subjects: Christianity.

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