About a year ago, or precisely 10 months, I started to write on the matter of virtues. I said that philosophical thinking has held that they are seven foundational virtues. Three of them stem from the Christian standpoint as elucidated by scriptures. They are Faith, Hope, and Love (1 Corinthians 13). These were called theological virtues.
The other four were called the Cardinal virtues. These are Prudence, Fortitude, Justice, and Temperance. The concept of the cardinal virtues is traced back to the works of Plato. However, as the years went by Saint Thomas Aquinas did a wonderful treatise on the same subject matter.
This evening, we’d touch on Prudence as a virtue.
In the Old Testament Hebrew, there are two major senses in which the word prudence is used. The first is in the sense of Intelligence that culminates in success. That is, Intelligence applied in a certain direction or concerning the desired outcome.
2 Chronicles 2:12
Huram said moreover, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, that made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the LORD, and an house for his kingdom.
The second sense is the idea of discretion. The ability to differentiate between things that differ. The inherent ability to judge and decide. To be subtle.
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
It stands to reason that wisdom and discretion go together. It would be ill-advised to attempt to make decisions from the hub of foolishness. We can’t expect and express fine discretion without the influence of wisdom. In fact, in some parlance, this kind of prudence is adjudged as wisdom.
Let’s put it together. The virtue of prudence, therefore, sees to the preservation of the bearer, his pursuit, and his path. It ensures he finds the prescribed path that leads to the desired outcome. It guides his associations, commitments, and choices and invariably it preserves him on his journey whilst protecting him from the vacillating effect of distractions.
Ultimately, it makes for a stable man.