He will punish himself severely, either to atone for failures, or to harden his powers of endurance, or to strengthen himself against furure failures.
He will be commonly described as an ascetic, as in fact he is.
At present it is not infrequently employed in an opprobrious sense, to designate the religious practices of oriental fanatics as well as those of the Christian saint, both of whom are by some placed same category.
For he is endeavouring to subject the material part of his nature to the spiritual, or in other words, he is striving for natural perfection.
The defect of this kind of asceticism is that, besides being prone to error in the acts it performs and the means it adopts, its motive is imperfect, or bad.
Even the works of penance to which they were subjected in the many fasts and abstinences, as well as the requirements of their ceremonial observances were much more severe than those imposed up the Christians who succeeded them.
In the New Dispensation the binding force of the Commandments continued, but the practice of virtue took on another aspect, in as much as the dominant motive presented to man for the service of God was not fear, but love, though fear was no means eliminated.
Neither should asceticism be identified with mysticism.
For although genuine mysticism can not exist without asceticism, the reverse is not true. Asceticism is ethical ; mysticism, largely intellectual.
Its object is the subordination of the lower appetites to the dictates of right reason and the law of God, with the continued and necessary cultivation of the virtues which the Creator intended man to possess.
Absolutely speaking, the will of God in this matter is discoverable by human reason, but it is explicitly laid down for us in the Ten Commandments, or Decalogue, which furnishes a complete code of ethical conduct.
Asceticism has to do with the moral virtues ; mysticism is a state of unusual prayer or contemplation.
They are distinct from each other, though mutually co-operative.
The "neighbour" of the Jew was one of the chosen people, and even of him rigorous justice was to be exacted; it was an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth.