How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?…
You take up a book and read a poem. Slowly, carefully you distil the meaning, admire it, appropriate it. Very likely you imagine that you have obtained the author's full significance, and extracted therefrom all the enjoyment and profit possible. But let some friend recite it, enunciating clearly, articulating sympathetically, giving to each line its appropriate expression, and the probability is that you will see and feel more than you did previously. An experienced and able missionary has remarked, "I have never seen a Chinaman weep over a book; but I have seen a Chinaman weep under a sermon. I have myself many times made a Chinaman weep by the proclamation of the gospel." We have the sermons of George Whitfield and the orations of Edward Irving, and what is the first experience of those who peruse them? In the majority of cases it is disappointment. "Can this be the renowned man who moved so mightily the spirits of his contemporaries?" Such is our astonished question. Yes, it is the renowned man; but cannot you see how it is that you are not affected by his discourses as others were? It is because they heard, whereas you only read. Wisely, then, is it ordained that the gospel shall be preached.
(T. R. Stevenson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?