From a Puritan at Heart.
It is some comfort to men in misery when they have their friends about them, if not to relieve them, yet at least to pity them ; for even pity is a comfort to men in misery ; but so miserable am I, that I am left alone as one utterly forsaken, for even my lovers and friends stand aloof from me, and my kinsmen stand afar off [ver. 11]. They are all pieces that recoil and fly back at the first voice of the powder. Yet it is not so much me they stand aloof from as my sore ; for if it were not for my sore, I should have enough of their company easily enough ; but they cannot abide sores ; their eyes are too tender to endure to see them, and yet hard enough not to relieve them. Or is it they stand aloof—that is, so near as to show they are willing enough to see them, but yet so far off as to show they have no meaning to come and help them? But call you these lovers and friends,—men that flutter about us like flies in the summer of prosperity, but vanish and are gone in the winter of adversity? Are friends but painted flowers, only for show, and nothing at all for use? or if true flowers, yet only to make nosegays of, and never to make medicine of? Is there use of physicians but when there are sores, and when sores come will not they be gotten to come? Is there use of friends but in time of need, and when need comes will they then be gone ? But alas, Ο Lord, was it not so with Christ himself?—company enough, friends enough, when there was no need; but as soon as Judas comes with a band of men, scarce a man found that will be gotten to tarry; and if they used the Master so, can I that am a servant look to be better used?
—Sir Richard Baker “Meditations and Disquisitions Upon Certain Psalms”