Let us dismiss from our minds forever the common idea that natural theology, moral persuasion, logical arguments, or even an exhibition of Gospel truth, are sufficient of themselves to turn a sinner from his sins, if once brought to bear upon him. It is a strong delusion. They will not do so. The heart of man is far harder than we fancy—the ‘old Adam’ is much more strong than we suppose.
The heart of man will never look to Christ, repent, and believe, until the Holy Spirit comes down upon it. Until that takes place, our inner nature is like the earth before the present order of creation began, “without form and void, and darkness covering the face of the deep.” (Gen. 1:2.) The same power which said at the beginning, “Let there be light—and there was light,” must work a creating work in us, or we shall never rise to newness of life.
~ J.C. Ryle