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In like manner he practises fasting and virginity that thereby he may repudiate the licence of the world.Hereafter the various items of this renunciation will be dealt with in detail, they are mentioned at this time merely to show how the monastic ideal was foreshadowed in the asceticism of the Gospel and its first followers.In their eyes the gods whose temples shone in every city were simply devils, and to participate in their rites was to join in devil worship.

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There were gods who presided over every moment of a man's life, gods of house and garden, of food and drink, of health and sickness.

To honour these was idolatry, to ignore them would attract inquiry, and possibly persecution. John wrote, "Keep yourselves from idols" (I John,v,21) he said in effect "Keep yourselves from public life, from society, from politics, from intercourse of any kind with the heathen ", in short, "renounce the world".

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Monasticism or monachism, literally the act of "dwelling alone" (Greek monos, monazein, monachos ), has come to denote the mode of life pertaining to persons living in seclusion from the world, under religious vows and subject to a fixed rule, as monks, friars, nuns, or in general as religious.

The basic idea of monasticism in all its varieties is seclusion or withdrawal from the world or society.

The object of this is to achieve a life whose ideal is different from and largely at variance with that pursued by the majority of mankind ; and the method adopted, no matter what its precise details may be, is always self-abnegation or organized asceticism.

(1) Origin Any discussion of pre-Christian asceticism is outside the scope of this article.

So too, any question of Jewish asceticism as exemplified in the Essenes or Therapeutae of Philo's "De Vita Contemplativa" is excluded.

Besides a desire of observing the evangelical counsels, and a horror of the vice and disorder that prevailed in a pagan age, two contributory causes in particular are often indicated as leading to a renunciation of the world among the early Christians.

The first of these was the expectation of an immediate Second Advent of Christ (cf.

It has already been pointed out that the monastic ideal is an ascetic one, but it would be wrong to say that the earliest Christian asceticism was monastic.

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