By Lewis Bayly
Meditations directing a Christian how to apply to himself, without delay, the foresaid knowledge of God and himself.
Thou seest, therefore, O man, how wretched and cursed thy state is, by corruption of nature, without Christ! insomuch, that as the scriptures liken wicked men to lions, bears, bulls, horses, dogs, and such like savage creatures, in their lives, it is certain that the condition of an unregenerate man is in his death more vile than a dog, or the filthiest creature in the world. For the beast, being made but for man's use, when he dies, ends all his miseries with his death; but man, endued with a reasonable and an immortal soul, made after God's image, to serve God, when he ends the miseries of this life, must account for all his misdeeds, and begin to endure those miseries that never shall know end. No creature but man is liable to yield at his death an account for his life. The brute creatures, not having reason, shall not be required to make any account for their deeds: and good angels, though they have reason, yet shall they yield no account, because they have no sin. And as for evil angels, they are without all hope already condemned, so that they need not make any further accounts: man only in his death must be God's accountant for his life.
On the other side thou seest, O man, how happy and blessed thy estate is, being truly reconciled to God in Christ; in that, through the restoration of God's image, and thy restitution into thy sovereignty over other creatures, thou art in this life little inferior to the angels, and shalt be in the life to come equal to the angels: yea, in respect of thy nature, exalted by a personal union to the Son of God, and by him to the glory of the Trinity, superior to the angels, a fellow-brother with angels in spiritual grace and everlasting glory.
Thou hast seen how glorious and perfect God is, and how that all thy chief bliss and happiness consists in having an eternal communion with him.
Now, therefore, O impenitent sinner! in the bowels of Christ Jesus I entreat thee, nay, I conjure thee, as thou tenderest thine own salvation, seriously to consider with me, how false, how vain, how vile, are those things which still retain and chain thee in this wretched and cursed estate wherein thou livest, and which hinder thee from the favour of God, and the hope of eternal life and happiness.