Natural moral law is concerned with both exterior and interior acts, also know as action and motive. Simply doing the right thing is not enough; to be truly moral one's motive must be right as well. For example, helping an old lady across the road (good exterior act) to impress someone (bad interior act) is wrong. However, good intentions don’t always lead to good actions. The motive must coincide with Aquinas's cardinal or theological virtues. Cardinal virtues are acquired through reason applied to nature; they are:

1. Prudence
Prudence(lat.:prudens) is classically considered to be a virtue, and indeed, one of the Cardinal Virtues. The word comes from Old French prudence (13th century), from Latin prudentia "foresight, sagacity," contraction of providentia "foresight". It is often associated with Wisdom, Insight, and Knowledge. In this case, the virtue is the ability to judge between virtuous and vicious actions, not only in a general sense, but with regard to appropriate actions at a given time and place. Although prudence itself does not perform any actions, and is concerned solely with knowledge, all virtues had to be regulated by it. Distinguishing when acts are courageous, as opposed to reckless or cowardly, for instance, was an act of prudence. This is why it is classified as a "cardinal" which is to say "pivotal" virtue.

2. Justice
Justice concerns the proper ordering of things and persons within a society. As a concept it has been subject to philosophical, legal, and theological reflection and debate throughout history. In modern times, for many, justice is overwhelmingly important: "Justice is the first virtue of social institutions, as truth is of systems of thought." Few theorists, however, believe that the current world comprises a fully just system: "We do not live in a just world."

3. Temperance
Temperance (Sophrosyne in Greek) is the practice of moderation. It was one of the four "cardinal" virtues held to be vital to society in Hellenic culture. It is one of the Four Cardinal Virtues considered central to Christian behaviour by the Catholic Church and is an important tenet of the moral codes of other world religions—for example, it is one of the Five Precepts of Buddhism.

4. Fortitude
Courage, also known as bravery and fortitude, is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation. It can be divided into "physical courage" — in face of physical pain, hardship, and threat of death — and "moral courage" — in the face of shame, scandal, and discouragement.

His theological virtues are:

1. Faith
Faith in Christianity centers on faith in the Resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) '... the gospel I preached to you... Otherwise, you have believed in vain...'. The same book says, in 15:14: "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith" (see also Acts 2:32; Philippians 3:10; John 11:25). That he was raised from the death for God the Father. Most Christians believe that God is one eternal being who exists as three distinct, eternal, and indivisible persons: the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ the eternal Word), and the Holy Spirit.

2. Hope
Hope is one of the three theological virtues in Christian tradition. Hope being a combination of the desire for something and expectation of receiving it, the virtue is hoping for Divine union and so eternal happiness. Like all virtues, it arises from the will, not the passions.
Hope is opposed to the sins of despair and presumption; refraining from them is adhering to the negative precept of hope. The positive precept is required when exercising some duties, as in prayer or penance.

3. Charity
In Christian theology charity, or love (agapē), means an unlimited loving-kindness towards all others.

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