Soul Virtues

Virtue is “moral goodness; the practice of moral duties and the abstaining from vice, or a conformity of life and conversation to the moral law. In this sense, virtue may be, and in many instances must be, distinguished from religion. The practice of moral duties merely from motives of convenience, or from compulsion, or from regard to reputation, is virtue as distinct from religion. The practice of moral duties from sincere love to God and his laws, is virtue and religion. In this sense it is true, virtue is voluntary obedience to truth.”—Webster’s American Dictionary
  Where the Wyclif Bible uses virtue, the King James Version uses power. The Medieval Church taught seven cardinal virtues, which were divided into the natural virtues (justice, prudence, temperance, and fortitude), and the theological virtues (hope, faith, and charity).—Oxford English Dictionary

“Every virtue is a soul power.”—Edna Lister

The twelve prime virtues of the Via Christa are honor, love, joy, peace, harmony, truth, gratitude, praise, beauty, obedience, compassion and faith (each is listed as a separate entry). You must adjust to the twelve great virtues, and your greatest problem is to adjust to what is disagreeable.
  Virtues are abstract principles, laws of being, laws of doing when practiced, and soul powers that confer moral strength. The twelve prime virtues subdivide into 144 virtues that are laws. Every virtue is a soul power such as compassion, order, patience, poise, and perseverance. All virtues state or represent some abstract law of being, rooted in an absolute principle.
  Aaron’s breastplate had twelve stones called Urim and Thummim, or “lights” and “virtues.” The lights descended as rays from twelve great Councils when the Israelites worked under obedience to law. The high priest entered the tabernacle to pray, and each honest petition ignited a light in one stone, or the lights of the breastplate dimmed.

Soul Virtues

Edna Lister on Virtue

Do not confine your progress to your virtues, or retard your virtues by your vices.—Edna Lister, August 22, 1934.

Soul learns perfect expression through experiences while being embodied. You develop character by expressing all the virtues. Character is all you take with you from this life.—Edna Lister, April 18, 1936.

Twelve virtues, born of love, are yours to express, to become—understanding, purity, graciousness, charity, and obedience to all God’s laws, forgiveness, gratitude, praise, faith, compassion, tolerance, and justice.—Edna Lister, February 6, 1937.

“Give to the world only what magnifies the life, Light and Power of God.”

If you desire higher gains, plan accordingly. Plan to polish all remaining undeveloped virtues. Express only that which is just, perfect and beautiful. Give to the world only what magnifies the life, Light and Power of God. Much depends on personal decision now. Accept a higher place for yourself and then move toward that goal with all your ability. So do, and your capacity will expand greatly.—Edna Lister, December 26, 1938.

You open higher Gates of Light as you polish your soul virtues. Live by your soul virtues to conquer self.—Edna Lister, January 1, 1939.

Every virtue you express is a fine prayer going forth to ascend your soul into heaven.—Edna Lister, February 7, 1939.

Do you live by the virtues or by any old thing that panders to your petty emotions? Do you live by joy, faith, love, compassion, praise, understanding, prayer, the golden silence, and all other virtues?—Edna Lister, February 13, 1941.

A gentleman or gentlewoman is one who is gentle, gives no offense, takes no offense even under reviling, but ever seeks to polish himself unto perfection of the 144 Virtues.—Edna Lister, September 16, 1943.

The Father and Mother virtues in man include illumination and intuition, wisdom and love, will and desire. The virtues report different things. For instance, illumination tells you whether a thing is true, honest or just. Intuition informs you whether that thing is pure, lovely or of a good report.—Edna Lister, July 9, 1944.

“Your greatest virtue is less than your weakest point.”

Do not pride yourself on the virtues you have developed. Your greatest virtue can ascend you only step by step. Your smallest weakness can throw you down a whole flight of steps instantly. Your smallest weakness becomes your greatest obstacle in your path, the weakest link in your chain of life. Thus, your greatest virtue is less than your weakest point.—Edna Lister, July 23, 1945.

There is no virtue in force. None!—Edna Lister, August 10, 1945.

The twelve prime virtues are honor, love, joy, peace, harmony, agreeing and adjusting with the Light of God, gratitude, praise, beauty, obedience, compassion, and faith.—Edna Lister, March 1, 1946.

We all want something easy, yet there is no virtue in ease. Only these truths apply: "It is impossible but that offences will come."—Luke 17:1. "What is that to thee? Follow thou me."—John 21:22.—Edna Lister, June 28, 1946.

The minute you look up in consciousness to ascend, you begin 1,000 burnt offerings; this leads to the 144 steps of ascension, obedience to the twelve virtues, and lifting the twelve vices to complete the thirty-third Via Christa Degree.—Edna Lister, May 19, 1947.

God releases Power only through hearts of great virtue.—Edna Lister, August 17, 1947.

One who has been stripped of his personal magnetic robe-of-hiding-self always accuses someone else of stealing his virtue.—Edna Lister, January 31, 1949.

All virtues radiate from love like a wheel’s spokes fan from the hub.—Edna Lister, June 11, 1951.

Consideration and courtesy are two worldly virtues, yet they epitomize the Christlike virtues and with these two alone you can become Christed.—Edna Lister Seven Churches of the Revelation, November 25, 1952.

Anything you lift to be healed is a sight draft on Power. The woman with the issue of blood felt Jesus’ Power, knew it would heal her and touched his robe. He felt the shock as the Power moved through and said, Somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.—Edna Lister, December 18, 1952.

“Soul virtues are your treasures in heaven.”

There are 144 virtues and weaknesses (vices), twelve for each sign, increasingly demanding as you ascend. For example, Aries is stability, Libra is justice, Taurus is construction, Scorpio is equilibrium, Gemini is invention, Sagittarius is love, Cancer is regeneration, Capricorn is order, Leo is sovereignty, Aquarius is harmony, Virgo is service, and Pisces is apprehension.
  Energy is in all the signs but the soul is responsible for functioning as energy, as a virtue in Taurus, for example. You can strengthen the virtues in each sign by conquering the vices in the opposing sign. Aries conquers in Libra, Taurus in Scorpio, Gemini in Sagittarius, Cancer in Capricorn, Leo in Aquarius, Virgo in Pisces, and all vice versa.—Edna Lister, December 16, 1954.

Any virtue used to exalt the self becomes a form of viciousness.—Edna Lister, December 15, 1957.

The initiations associated with each virtue repeat on the next higher wheel of ascension. This is how you polish on your conquering of self.
  From a mental viewpoint, heaven is in your thinking and imagination. Soul virtues are your “treasures in heaven.” Lay up your treasures there and brainwash yourself of the ability to use idle words.—Edna Lister, Brainwashing, Inc., December 17, 1957.

You may not mimic or pretend to virtues and faculties you have not already opened, for this is living by false pretenses.—Edna Lister, November 4, 1958.

The twelve virtues are the twelve laws of becoming assigned to each zodiacal sign. Although you are born under only one sign, all the others influence you. You must become the twelve virtues in each sign.—Edna Lister, The Pioneering Mystic, May 5, 1959.

Never claim tolerance of evil or wrongdoing as a virtue!—Edna Lister, The 33 Degrees of Soul Conquering, October 27, 1959.

Becoming steadfast in the practice of all virtues will thereby earn you the rewards of comprehension, which include hearing and seeing beyond the outer visible world.—Edna Lister, February 26, 1960.

A virtue is or represents an absolute principle and abstract law.—Edna Lister, How Do I Wait Upon the Lord? June 28, 1960.

Anyone who scratches you on contact was sent to polish a facet of your 144 virtues.—Edna Lister, January 12, 1961.

“You may not claim tolerance of evil, crime, or other wrongdoing as a virtue.”

Every two hours a new zodiacal sign passes overhead, and you move from initiation on one virtue to another. Praise God for helping you to conquer. When you can move from one virtue to another gracefully and praising God, you have no inner conflict.—Edna Lister, October 10, 1961.

The 144 virtues are steps upward in ascension from the Land of Egypt to the Promised Land, through the Garden of Eden, and on into Paradise, which is constant God-consciousness.—Edna Lister, December 5, 1961.

Ephesians 3 shows that comprehension is above knowledge and combines all virtues as the “unsearchable riches of Christ.” You can’t have an evil virtue, but your conquering on a virtue is incomplete if you still resent, criticize or judge.—Edna Lister, April 3, 1962.

Every sign of the Zodiac has twelve virtues, and each virtue has its opposite poles: light and dark, faith and doubt, and so on. You learn the virtues of each sign so that when something “dark” comes with light you know what influence is overhead. Knowing the virtues takes time and study. When something negative happens, you know it is the opposite pole of a positive virtue, then you can tell the degree on which you are paying a spiritual debt. This is knowing the “season” of initiations.
  We can’t know the “times” of initiations because all is subject to change. Under the law of necessity the degrees extend themselves beyond their own “time” to fulfill the needs of initiation. If you stand at the hub of the zodiacal wheel in your sun center of Light and Power, in the Secret Place of the Most High, nothing shocks or upsets you. You accept all that comes and miracles are your rewards.—Edna Lister, Heaven, a Place to Fill, April 10, 1962.

Every parable that Jesus taught points up some virtue.—Edna Lister, Ten Virgins Wise and Foolish, December 16, 1962.

Many headaches come from inner conflicts between self and soul over the positive and negative sides of a virtue. For example, courage is yours when you conquer fear.—Edna Lister, Love, Your Radar, November 17, 1963.

“Initiations prevent man from becoming engulfed in lower earthly matters.”

Pythagoras taught the immortality of the soul and the necessity of a personal holiness and purity to prepare one’s self for admission into the society of the gods. We call this ascension. He stressed the practice of all virtues as imitating the perfection of God. We say, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”—Matthew 5:48. Initiations prevent man from becoming engulfed in lower earthly matters. The soul is not a mere conception or abstraction, but a reality including in itself life and thought whose essence was to live and to think.
  Pythagoras also taught that by the practice of virtue the soul could rescue itself to ascend. His tests of air, water and fire were represented as means by which the soul could be purified and released. From these teachings sprang the doctrine of transmigration of souls, but Pythagoras taught it as an allegory showing that the individual could descend and become like an animal, how evil dragged the soul down, how the souls of the vicious dead passed into bodies of those animals to whose nature their vices had the most affinity. He never intended this as a literal doctrine, but used it as a metaphor.—Edna Lister, Pythagoras, His Three Degrees, June 8, 1965.

To be able to stand and to endure is one of the greatest of all virtues. Endurance is a soul quality that Jesus exemplified during the Crucifixion. To endure means “to hold out, to last, to remain firm, to suffer patiently.” To endure, you ignore all pain, etc., without denying or accepting it, without admitting that you are experiencing it. What you ignore shrivels up and dies from lack of nourishment.
  Your faith functions as endurance, enabling you to stand. The relative laws of nonresistance operate under faith as a principle. Nonresistance then becomes a virtue, to stand. Under nonresistance, you find the laws of endurance, whose virtue is to hold. The greatest virtues are to stand, to endure and to hold out long enough for God to work all things together for good.
  All these virtues point to one ability, to ignore the less good and to dwell upon what you do desire. James knew the secret: “Count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:2-3. Temptation is an opportunity to prove your faith. Your ability to endure is patience in action.—Edna Lister, Am I Strong to Endure? December 18, 1966.

Peter represents the virtue of faith, Andrew represents strength, Philip represents power, Bartholomew represents imagination, Thomas represents understanding, Matthew represents will, James the Lesser represents order, Thaddaeus Labbaeus (Jude) represents renunciation, Simon the Canaanite represents zeal, Judas Iscariot represents appropriation, Matthias represents salvation, Mark represents organization, Luke represents comprehension, and Timothy represents nonresistance.—Edna Lister, Judgment and Love, May 14, 1967.

The 144 virtues are soul powers and faculties, and they include the twelve Labors of Hercules and the 33 Via Christa Degrees. You must fulfill the virtues in all aspects of their different grades, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.—Edna Lister, January 11, 1968.

Any soul virtues you have left undeveloped or vices unconquered stack up and become soul debts.—Edna Lister, July 8, 1969.

The 32 nerves and vertebrae of the spine deal with the virtues, for there are only 32 fundamental virtues. When you conquer the 32 Yetzirah Paths of Virtue, you unify them all into the 33rd Degree.—Edna Lister, November 9, 1970.

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A Declaration to Strengthen Virtue

“I walk in purity, sincerity. I walk in virtue, chasteness, holiness, and spotlessness. I walk in honesty, faultlessness, integrity, and guilelessness. I walk in uprightness, innocence, truth, and stainlessness. I walk in genuineness, beauty and in fineness, cleanness, clearness, correctness, immaculateness. Master, you fill the atoms of my life with atomic energy. Master, you are my Glory, you are my Light. You are the source of my life.”—Edna Lister, December 16, 1965.

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New Testament on Virtue

A certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years, and had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, when she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched his garment. For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole. And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she felt in her body that she was healed of that plague. And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.—Mark 5:25-34

A woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any, came behind him, and touched the border of his garment, and immediately her issue of blood stanched. And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me. And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately. And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort. Thy faith hath made thee whole. Go in peace.—Luke 8:43-49

Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.—Philippians 4:8

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Edna Miriam Lister
1884 – 1971
The original Christian Pioneering Mystic,
Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister

Etymology of virtue: Latin virtutem (nom. virtus) “moral strength, manliness, valor, excellence, worth,” from vir, “man.”

Virtues are based on absolute principles.
Virtues are abstract principles.
Virtues are laws of being.
Virtues become laws of doing when you practice them.


Encourage all your virtuous dispositions, and exercise them whenever an opportunity arises, being assured that they will gain strength by exercise, as a limb of the body does, and that exercise will make them habitual.—Thomas Jefferson

Virtue is the fount whence honour springs.—Christopher Marlowe, Tamburlaine the Great

Virtue is that perfect good, which is the complement of a happy life; the only immortal thing that belongs to mortality.—Seneca

There is no truth more thoroughly established than that there exists in the economy and course of nature an indissoluble union between virtue and happiness.—George Washington

The infinite, absolute character of Virtue has passed into a finite, conditional one; it is no longer a worship of the Beautiful and Good; but a calculation of the Profitable.—Thomas Carlyle


Thomas Carlyle, Signs of the Times, Edinburgh Review, June 1829.

Harper, Douglas. Online Etymology Dictionary, 2024.

The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).

Jefferson, Thomas. "Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 19 August 1785," Founders Online, National Archives, last modified December 28, 2016. [Original source: The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, volume 8, 25 February–31 October 1785. Julian P. Boyd, editor. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1953, 405–408.]

Marlowe, Christopher. Tamburlaine the Great Part 1 of 2. Alexander Dyce, ed. London: Richard Ihones, 1590, 238.

The Oxford English Dictionary: Compact Ed., 2 vols. E.S.C. Weiner, ed. Oxford University Press, 1971.

Seneca. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. Charles Noel Douglas, comp. New York: Halcyon House, 1917, p. 272.

Washington, George. First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789. National Archives and Records Administration online [accessed March 1, 2017].

Webster, Noah. Webster’s American Dictionary. New York: S. Converse, 1828.

Related Topic

What Is Virtue?: Edna Lister lecture transcript; July 12, 1960.