C. H. Spurgeon
Sermon Notes From Charles Spurgeon
These Notes from Spurgeon, famed for his expository preaching in England at Park St.
and Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, are well worth studying, adapting, and making
your own, for any sound preacher of the Gospel. He is deservedly known
to this day as "the Prince of Preachers," and is arguably the greatest
preacher who has lived since New Testament days! - Webmaster
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 Are You Feeding Sheep Or Entertaining Goats? - Spurgeon
5. Gently! Gently!

And he said unto him, my Lord knoweth that the children are tender, and the flocks and herds with young are with me: and if men should overdrive them one day, all the flock will die. Genesis 33:13.

JACOB could have kept pace with Esau had he been alone, but not with so many children and flocks He did not expect Esau to travel at the slow rate which he was obliged to maintain, and therefore he desired to separate. Jacob, however, stated his reason plainly, and his brother felt the weight of it: if we must go different ways, let us cause our motive to be known, so that we may not be thought unkind. Matthew Henry says, "If friends cannot fall in with each other, they should see to it that they do not fall out" Jacob parted from his reconciled brother for the sake of his little ones, who were very dear to him.


He displayed a tender consideration for the young and feeble; let us do the same. Let us consider:

1. How we may overdrive?

Puzzling them with deep and controversial points of doctrine, and condemning them because they are not quite correct in their opinions. "Them that are weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations" (Rom. 14:1 ).

Setting up a standard of experience, and frowning at them because they have not felt all the sorrows or ecstasies which we have known.

Requiring a high degree of faith, courage, patience, and other graces which in their case can only be tender buds.

Preaching nothing but the severer truths, or constantly urging to duty by terrible threatenings while withholding the promises and the consolatory parts of the word.

Manifesting austerity of manner, suspicion, harshness, censoriousness of spirit, and contempt for weaker brethren.

Fault-finding and never commending. "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged" (Col. 3:21).

Dwelling always upon the trials, temptations, and woes of believers, and saying little about their joys and privileges.

In these and many other ways professed teachers show that they have need to go to school to Jacob to learn the shepherd's trade, and imitate his tender thoughtfulness.

2. Why we should not overdrive the lambs.

Common humanity forbids.

Our own experience when we were young should teach us better.

We may again become weak, and need great forbearance.

We love them too well to be hard with them.

Jesus thinks so much of them that we cannot worry them.

The Holy Spirit dwells in them, and we must be gentle towards the faintest beginning of his work.

We should be doing Satan's work if we did overburden them.

We should thus prove ourselves to have little wisdom and less grace. If we kill the lambs now, where shall we get our sheep from next year?

We dare not bear the responsibility of offending these little ones, for terrible woes are pronounced on those who do them wrong.

We remember how tender Jesus is: and this brings us to our second point.


See his portrait in Isaiah 40:11: "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young."

1. The weak have a special place in his love.

2. He will not have it that any of them should die.

3. Therefore he never overdrives one of them.

4. But he suits his pace to their feebleness, "I will lead on softly" (Gen. 33:14). "I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now."

Has he not thus been very tender to us? "Thy gentleness hath made me great" (Ps. 18:35).

Let us not fret and worry as though he were an exactor. We are not driven by Jehu, but led by Jesus. Let us rest in his love. At the same time let us not be slower than need be.

Towards others let us be tenderness itself, for we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.

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