When we are young, all is novel and thrilling, in life or in faith, "But the cycle of young experience soon completes itself. At each return its repetitions become more and more familiar. Change itself becomes customary, and visits the mind with monotony rather than variety. The spring seems to burst with a fainter verdure, and the winter hearth to burn with a less vivid glow. The morning-breeze of young enthusiasm, so fragrant of the night, so fresh from heaven, grows drowsy with the steady heat, and sinks to rest: and the mental and moral life which had been nursed in vicissitude threatens to perish under the opiate of usage.
Not that Providence abandons us in our maturity, or omits to ply us with awakening appeals. No sooner has life ceased to be a constant flow of novelty, than it enters on a series of grand crises, which intersect its even course: its current orbit has become as a beaten track: but there are nodes it cannot pass without a spark and thrill. When life-long ties are contracted, and the green path is entered at one end at whose other the death-shadow waits in ambush; when first the home of marriage is set in order; when the child is born; when the parent dies; when the friend deserts, or the business fails, or the sickness prostrates; the Angel of Change looks in again through her veil of light, or her curtain of shadows, and reminds us of Him who abideth in the midst for ever. As one crisis after another is brought upon our lot, it gives us the means of moral admeasurement and deeper self-knowledge: it reads off the reckoning of our spirits, and tells us whether we more deeply live, or more begin to die." Martineau.