Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Richard Cumberland, Bishop of Peterborough

English Philosopher, Bishop of Peterborough

"The happy gift of being agreeable seems to consist not in one, but in an assemblage of talents tending to communicate delight; and how many are there, who, by easy manners, sweetness of temper, and a variety of other undefinable qualities, possess the power of pleasing without any visible effort, without the aids of wit, wisdom, or learning, nay, as it should seem in their defiance; and this without appearing even to know that they possess it."

"It is better to wear out than to rust out. [also attributed to others]"

"To find out what one is fitted to do, and to secure an opportunity to do it, is the key to happiness."

"Extremes of fortune are true wisdom's test, and he's of men most wise who bears them best."

"Politeness is nothing more than an elegant and concealed species of flattery, tending to put the person to whom it is addressed in good humor and respect with himself."

"Pride is never more offensive than when it condescends to be civil; whereas vanity, whenever it forgets itself, naturally assumes good-humor. "

"The art of being agreeable frequently miscarries through the ambition which accompanies it. Wit, learning, wisdom,--what can more effectually conduce to the profit and delight of society? Yet I am sensible that a man may be too invariably wise, learned, or witty to be agreeable; and I take the reason of this to be, that pleasure cannot be bestowed by the simple and unmixed exertion of any one faculty or accomplishment."

"The passions may be humored till they become our masters, as a horse may be pampered till he gets the better of his rider; but early discipline will prevent mutiny, and keep the helm in the hands of reason."

"There is a selfishness even in gratitude, when it is too profuse; to be over-thankful for one favor is in effect to lay out for another."

"What is so hateful to a poor man as the purse-proud arrogance of a rich one? Let fortune shift the scene, and make the poor man rich, he runs at once into the vice that he declaimed against so feelingly; these are strange contradictions in the human character."

"I do not mean to expose my ideas to ingenious ridicule by maintaining that everything happens to every man for the best; but I will contend, that he who makes the best use of it, fulfills the part of a wise and good man."