Chief of the cardinal virtues is humility, a confession of our own helplessness and submission to God.
The peculiarity of this work - written, of course, from what is known as the intuitional point of view - is its fivefold division of the springs of action and of their objects, of the primary and universal rights of man (personal security, property, contract, family rights and government), and of the cardinal virtues (benevolence, justice, truth, purity and order).
He himself undertook his daughter's education, and to develop these two cardinal virtues in her gave her lessons in algebra and geometry till she was twenty, and arranged her life so that her whole time was occupied.
In arranging his list, however, he defers to the established doctrine of the four cardinal virtues (derived from Plato and the Stoics through Cicero); accordingly, the Aristotelian ten have to stand under the higher genera of (1) the prudence which gives reasoned rules of conduct, (2) the temperance which restrains misleading desire, and (3) the fortitude that resists misleading fear of dangers or toils.
His father, Dr Jesper Swedberg, subsequently professor of theology at Upsala and bishop of Skara, was a pious and learned man, who did not escape the charge of heterodoxy, seeing that he placed more emphasis on the cardinal virtues of faith, love and communion with God than on the current dogmas of the Lutheran Church.