The first position, then, in which man is placed by Him who overrules all things in goodness, is that of dependence and guardianship within the limits of the family circle. Gradually the hand of Providence opens the door, and he goes out; but it is only into another department, or, perhaps we should say, into another line of demarcation, drawn by One who is invisible. As the child advances to youth, and from youth to manhood, and as he acquires the wisdom of maturer age and the increased strength of virtue, he is invited, under the guidance of that unseen Power, who proportions our trials to our strength, to different and perhaps more responsible scenes and duties. The hand, which at first restricted him to his father's home, and prescribed its limited duties, now points him to a wider sphere of endurance and action, as well as of joy and sorrow. Hidden in the vast and impenetrable future, no one can tell beforehand what that sphere will be. He may be called to labor in the field or the workshop, and, with his shepherd's staff or his plough, he may be either the master or the servant. He may be employed as the humble teacher of children in the elements of knowledge, or may be constituted a lawgiver in the halls of a national legislature. He may be the physician of the sick, and eminent in the gifts of healing, or he may himself be the inmate of a hospital, and be administered to by others, through long years of pain and despondency. To-day he is on a throne, — tomorrow in a prison.
— edited from A Treatise on Divine Union (1851) Part 6, Chapter 4.