148 FOURTH SERMON fountain of that remission, sanctification, and comfort which is here promised. It comes not from our con version unto God, but from God's free love and grace unto us. And this is added: 1. To humble them that they should not ascribe anything to themselves, their repentance, their prayers, their covenants and promises, as if these had been the means to procure mercy for them, or as if there were any objective grounds of loveliness in them to stir up the love of God towards them. It is not for their sake that he Both it, but for his own, The Lord sets his love upon them because he loved them," Deut. vii. 7, 8. " Not for your sakes do I this," saith the Lord God, " be it known unto you," Ezek. xxxvi. '22. " He will have mercy because he will have mercy," Rom. ix. 15. 2. To support them, above the guilt of their greatest sins. Men think nothing more easy while they live in sin, and are not affected with the weight and heinous- ness of it, than to believe mercy and pardon. But when the soul in conversion unto God, feels the heavy burden of some great sins, when it considers its rebel- lion and apostacy, and backsliding from God, it will then be very apt to think God will not forgive or heal so great wickedness as this. There is a natural Novatianism* in the timorous conscience of convinced sinners, to doubt arid question pardon for sins of apostacy and falling after repentance: Therefore in this case God takes a penitent off from the considera- tion of himself by his own thoughts, unto the height and excellency of His thoughts, who knows how to pardon abundantly, Isa. lv. 7 -9. Jer. xxix. 11. Ezek. xxxvii. 3. Nothing is too hard for love, especially Excessive strictness.