This may be the age of disbelief and sin where crime, corruption and violence permeate every area of life. But one cannot negate the existence of the seven virtues which acts as a balm to soothe the soul and guide the person to lead a life of virtue. The seven virtues entail a set of values to include Faith, Hope, Love, Justice, Prudence, Restraint and Courage, that humans can adopt and protect themselves from the corresponding temptation of the seven deadly sins of Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, Greed, Lust, anger, and Pride.
The four cardinal virtues evolved by Classical Greek philosophers include the virtue of justice, prudence, restraint and courage. These foremost virtues were later adopted by the early Christian theologians who regarded them as a basis for governing human behavior irrespective of their religion. The three theological virtues of love, hope and faith together make up for the seven virtues adopted by the Catholic Fathers.
In the book," The Seven Cardinal Virtues” Stalker traces the origins of the seven virtues to ancient Greece, written by Aristotle and Plato. In fact the Greek philosophers identified the four virtues of wisdom, justice, temperance and courage as crucial for a person to imbibe. Later when the New Testament was studied more intently three more virtues were added to the existing list of four virtues. These were the virtues of charity, hope and faith. Hence it is common to refer to the initial four virtues as the cardinal virtues while the later three virtues are termed as theological virtues.
The alternative list of the seven heavenly virtues consists of charity, chastity, diligence, humility, kindness, temperance and patience and basically stands in opposition to the seven deadly sins. The origin of the seven heavenly virtues can be traced to the Epic poem Psychomachia, containing the battle of the virtues and vices, written in AD 410 by Aurelius Clemens Prudentius. This popular work of the Middle Ages helped in propagating the concept of good virtues against the evil vices across Europe. One could be untouched by the seven deadly sins by inculcating the seven heavenly virtues. For example by practicing the virtue of Humility one could resist the temptation of the deadly sin of pride.
A person following the seven virtues can be seen as a good human being who can be always loved and trusted. The Theological virtues of Love, Hope and Charity can be seen as spiritual values which one can inculcate with practice. The virtue of faith helps in believing the right things. Hope fills the heart with a positive view of goodness in life. Love includes concern for others and involving in acts of charity. The Cardinal Virtues are the Natural Virtues of justice, prudence, restraint and courage. Justice implies being fair to fellow beings while prudence refers to using money with moderation. Restraint lies in exercising moderation in using the essential tings and abstaining from extraneous things while the virtue of courage helps one to stand by the right actions in life.