The first virtues were identified by the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, who regarded temperance, wisdom, justice, and courage as the four most desirable character traits. After the New Testament was written, these four virtues became known as the cardinal virtues, while faith, hope and charity were referred to as the theological virtues. But Stalker, in his book The Seven Cardinal Virtues, says, "It is of distinct advantage to be reminded that the Christian character has a natural foundation... but certainly the latter are cardinal also--that is, hinge virtues; and it is convenient to have a single adjective for designating the whole seven". However, such a perspective runs counter to the traditional understanding of the differences in the natures of Cardinal and Theological virtues, as the latter are not fully accessible to humans in their natural state without assistance from God. "All virtues have as their final scope to dispose man to acts conducive to his true happiness. The happiness, however, of which man is capable is twofold, namely, natural, which is attainable by man's natural powers, and supernatural, which exceeds the capacity of unaided human nature. Since, therefore, merely natural principles of human action are inadequate to a supernatural end, it is necessary that man be endowed with supernatural powers to enable him to attain his final destiny. Now these supernatural principles are nothing else than the theological virtues."
In the Broadway musical Camelot, the character Mordred has a song in which he describes "The Seven Deadly Virtues", which differ slightly from the historic list given below.
The seven deadly virtues, those ghastly little traps
Oh no, my liege, they were not meant for me
Those seven deadly virtues were made for other chaps
Who love a life of failure and ennui
Take courage—now there's a sport
An invitation to the state of rigor mort
And purity—a noble yen
And very restful every now and then
I find humility means to be hurt
It's not the earth the meek inherit, it's the dirt Honesty is fatal, it should be taboo Diligence—a fate I would hate
If charity means giving, I give it to you
And fidelity is only for your mate
You'll never find a virtue unstatusing my quo or making my Beelzebubble burst
Let others take the high road, I will take the low
I cannot wait to rush in where angels fear to go
With all those seven deadly virtues free and happy little me has not been cursed
Generosity, charity, self-sacrifice; the term should not be confused with the more restricted modern use of the word charity to mean benevolent giving. In Christian theology, charity—or love (agäpé)—is the greatest of the three theological virtues.
Love, in the sense of an unlimited loving kindness towards all others, is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. Such love is self-sacrificial. Confusion can arise from the multiple meanings of the English word "love". The love that is "caritas" is distinguished by its origin—being divinely infused into the soul—and by its residing in the will rather than emotions, regardless of what emotions it stirs up. This love is necessary for salvation through Jesus Christ, and with it no one can be lost.
The courage of the heart necessary to undertake tasks which are difficult, tedious or unglamorous, and to graciously accept the sacrifices involved. Reverence for those who have wisdom and those who selflessly teach in love.
Giving credit where credit is due; not unfairly glorifying one's own self. Being faithful to promises, no matter how big or small they may be.
Refraining from despair; the ability to confront fear and uncertainty, or intimidation.