“My brethren, it is quite certain that no man ever begins the new birth himself. The work of salvation never started with the efforts of any man. God the Holy Spirit must begin it. Now, the reasons no man ever started the work of grace in his own heart are apparent. The best reason of all is because he cannot.
He is dead. The dead may be made alive, but the dead cannot make themselves alive, for the dead can do nothing. Besides, the new thing to be created as yet has no being. The uncreated cannot create. But you say, ‘Man can create.’ Well, if hell can create heaven, then sin can create grace. Let any man create a fly, and afterward let him create a new heart in himself.
Until he has done the lesser thing, he cannot do the greater. Besides, no man will. If any man could convert himself, there is no man who would. The will to love God, the desire to be in unison with Christ, is not to be found in any man who has not already been brought to be reconciled with God through the death of His Son.”
–Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Work of the Holy Spirit” in Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit (New Kensington, PA: Whitaker House, 2000), 16-17.