God gives us hedges for a reason. It isn’t profitable to jump the hedge. Your hedges may look nothing like mine, and mine nothing like yours. And it would not be right for me to try to impose my hedge on you. Yet, the hedges do serve a purpose, and we little know the thorns that can abound (the consequences) through the hedge. The Hedge of Thorns by Mary Martha Sherwood, first published in England, is a short read — only 50 pages.
If it be not a true story, it is so good a mirror, reflecting human nature so completely in early life, it induced a hope that the inexperienced youth of this country might derive some benefit from a perusal of it. But for a “Hedge of Thorns,” where should many of us have been!
Don’t wait until your children are older to let them enjoy this one with you.
Our heavenly Father having pity on his poor creatures, and having provided for them a means of salvation, disposes their affairs in life in that way which he sees will best work towards the attainment of this blessed purpose, that is, their salvation; he knows the way they ought to go, and he puts, as it were, a hedge on this side and on that side, to keep them in that way: some are hedged in by careful and vigilant parents, some by strict or hard masters, some by sickness, some by poverty, some by dying friends, some by unkind relations, some by the frowns of the world, and some by the infirmities of their own minds….
I could not count half the means which the Almighty uses to restrain his poor people from sin: but there is one thing to be observed, that the thorns in the hedges placed on each side of us by our Almighty Father are seldom felt by those who patiently walk in the paths appointed them, without attempting to break from them, either to the right or to the left….
Of course, the easiest way to avoid the thorns (and stay inside the bounds) is to learn like Paul to be content in whatever state we are in (Philippians 4:11–13).
If you wish to be happy in…any other place or situation whatever, sanctify it to God — seek to do his whole will in it…but recollect that the moment you attempt to break the bounds appointed by God, you will be pierced through with many sorrows; you will then find the thorns in the very place, where, while you walked on in the path of duty, roses only seemed to abound.
A wonderful reminder, even for adults.
The Hedge of Thorns
Also available in beautiful hardback as part of Lamplighter Publishing’s Rare Collector Series.