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.They develop meekness, gentleness, self-control, patience, continence, chastity, justice, honesty, brotherly love, which are positive in their character, magnanimity, liberality, etc.; while the first three which are positive in their character, "thou shall adore thy God ", etc., bring into vigorous and constant exercise the virtues of faith, hope, charity, religion, reverence and prayer.
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.
Some of these commandments are positive; others, negative.
The negative precepts, "thou shalt not kill", "thou shalt not commit adultery ", etc., imply the repression of the lower appetites, and consequently call for penance and mortification ; but they intend also, and effect, the cultivation of the virtues which are opposed to the things forbidden.
Moreover although asceticism is generally associated with the objectionable features of religion, and is regarded by some as one of them, it may be and is practised by those who affect to be swayed by no religious motives whatever.
If for personal satisfaction, or self interest, or any other merely human reason, a man aims at the acquisition of the natural virtues, for instance, temperance, patience, chastity, meekness, etc., he is, by the very fact, exercising himself in a certain degree of asceticism.
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.
In the Christian dispensation the neighbour is not only one of the true faith, but the schismatic, the outcast, and the pagan.
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.
It may be prompted by selfish reasons of utility, pleasure, aetheticism, ostentation, or pride.