Letter and Spirit
Power is the main thing. Words are simply nothing but empty sounds. The real power of the gospel is God talking to the soul. The sound of words is the voice of man; or words may be seen by the eye in reading God’s Word; but when they talk to us, that is God’s power and voice. It is the peculiar nature of the gospel that it does not talk about Jesus when it comes in power, but Jesus Himself talks to the soul. So it is written: “When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when you sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou wakest; it shall talk with thee.” (Proverbs 6:22)
Thus is the grand secret. Men may read about Jesus, and form an opinion of Him; but for Him to talk to the soul forms an acquaintance with Him. You know the difference between reading the Bible, and the Bible talking to you. So it is also in hearing the Word. Sometimes Jesus is talked about; at other times he talks to the soul, and wins the heart and affections to Himself.
Joseph Hatton – 1880