“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” —Psalms 51:10
That we need renewal is very clearly seen when we reflect that all created things need it. Nothing that God has made is self-existent. Self-existence belongs exclusively to the “I AM THAT I AM.” Even the tall archangel, who stands nearest the eternal throne, can only claim a borrowed existence, which is immortal only in the immortality of God. The very mountains crumble, rocks dissolve, and marble wears away. Those old rivers that have even been adored by idolaters for their antiquity yet need to be refreshed with the melted snows from the mountain’s brow. It is rumoured of our mother earth herself, that her soil is losing its former fruitfulness; certain it is, that the most fertile fields yield no perpetual harvests unless the labour of man manure the soil. All things on earth need perpetually to be renewed. “Thou renewest the face of the year,” said the Psalmist; for in winter earth sleeps like a wearied giant; as if hoary with the decay of age, the snow covers its slumbering head. In winter the world shows none of her youthful verdure; all her beauty lies buried beneath the sod. Are not all things hushed and quiet in winter’s bedchamber of life? But spring comes leaping on; the song of birds arouses the slumbering earth, and she awakes refreshed; but were it not for the renewings of delicious spring, would not earth become everywhere as intolerable as at her frozen poles? Nor here alone are refreshings needed, for doubtless the upper spheres require fresh fuel for their ardent flames. The orb of day shines in radiance lent him by the great Father of Lights, albeit that he is, in Milton’s noble phrase, “of this great world both eye and soul;” that eye must soon grow dim with age, and that soul must lose its overflowing life, if the all-filling God refuse his ever-flowing aid. No created thing standeth by itself. ‘Tis only an infernal conceit that anything can be without the great Creator’s perpetual presence; and wilt thou lend thy soul to this blasphemy of hell? If thy piety can live without God, it is not of divine creating; it lives not but in thy fancy; it is but a dream; for if God had begotten it, it would wait upon him as the flowers wait for the dew.
—Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)
Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 9
Delivered Sunday Morning, January 25, 1863
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
Sermon No. 490, “Gracious Renewal”