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Gleanings from Orthodox Christian Authors 

and the Holy Fathers

The Virtue of Prudence


The spirit of wisdom is ascension towards the Cause of the higher spiritual principles inherent in the commandments, and union with it. Through this ascension and union we are initiated, in so far as this is possible for human beings, simply and through unknowing into those inner divine principles of created beings, and in different ways we present to men, as if from a spring welling up in our heart, the truth which resides in all things. 
St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 39)

There are four forms of wisdom: first, moral judgment, or the knowledge of what should and should not be done, combined with watchfulness of the intellect; second, self-restraint, whereby our moral purpose is safeguarded and kept free from all acts, thoughts and words that do not accord with God: third, courage, or strength and endurance in sufferings, trials and temptations encountered on the spiritual path; and fourth, justice, which consists in maintaining a proper balance between the first three. These four general virtues arise from the three powers of the soul in the following manner: from the intelligence, or intellect, come moral judgment and justice, or discrimination; from the desiring power comes self-restraint; and from the incensive power comes courage. 
St. Peter of Damaskos(A Treasury of Divine Knowledge: Book 1)

To those who do not long for it, wisdom is fear, because of the loss which they suffer through their flight from it; but in those who cleave to it, wisdom is loving desire, promoting an inner state of joyous activity. For wisdom creates fear, delivering a person from the passions by making him apprehensive of punishment; and it also produces loving desire, accustoming the intellect through the acquisition of the virtues to behold the blessings held in store for us. 
St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 61)

Wisdom is a unity contemplated indivisibly in the various virtues which arise from it; and it is perceived in a single form in the operations of the virtues. Again, it appears as a simple unity when the virtues which issued from it are reintegrated with it. This happens when we, for whose sake wisdom has produced from itself each individual virtue, are drawn upwards towards it by means of each virtue. 
St. Maximos the Confessor(Third Century of Various Texts no. 44)

Wisdom operates in a fourfold manner in the intellect... It activates sound understanding in the form of light, courage as clear-sighted power and ever-moving inspiration, self-restraint as a power of sanctification and purification, and justice as the dew of purity, joy-inducing and cooling the arid heat of the passions. 
St. Gregory of Sinai(On Commandments and Doctrines no. 85)

Used with the permission of Fr Seraphim Holland from his website