"It is a peculiar feature in our holy religion that it begins its work within, and acts first upon the heart. Other religions, like that of the Pharisees, begin with outward forms and ceremonies, perhaps hoping to work inwardly from without, although the process never ends so, for the outside of the cup and of the platter is made clean, but the inside still remains full of rottenness as before. No truth is more sure than this concerning all the sons of men, "Ye must be born again;" there must be an entire and radical change of man’s nature, or else where God is he can never come: the gospel does not flinch from this, but enforces the declaration. The Holy Spirit does not attempt to improve human nature into something better, but lays the axe at the root of the trees, and declares that we must become new creatures, and that by a supernatural work of the omnipotent God."
From a sermon by Charles Haddon Spurgeon
entitled "The Heart of Flesh,"
delivered August 31, 1873