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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.

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.

For he has entered upon a struggle with his animal nature ; and if he is to achieve any measure of success, his efforts must be continuous and protracted. Indeed he will frequently inflict upon himself both bodily and mental pain.

It is not to be relied upon for serious efforts and may easily give way under the strain of weariness or temptation.

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.

Such were the virtues practised by the mass of the people of God under the Old Law, and this may be considered as the first step in true asceticism.