AN Epistle to the Flock of Christ. Being a Heavenly portion distributed from th [...] Love of God.

DEar Friends, and Brethren, Beloved in the Lord who have obtained Grace; Mercy and Peace in God the Father through the Lord Jesus Christ, unto whom God hath appeared in Light and life where ye have seen the excellent Glory of Immor­tality, and the riches and treasures of that Kingdom which is not of this World, and having seen that glorious sight or spectacle by the appearance of the heavenly seed in your inward parts, so you have seen both what the truth is, and from whom it comes, and you know that it is God of all truth who hath manifest truth unto you and you having loved truth in the manifestation, so you are in measure acquainted with its vertue and operation, and [...] hath drawn you with a cord of love out of your dead works to serve the living God in holiness of life, and you being joyned to the truth with constant and stedfast minds, your love and obedience is more enlivened and quickned to the leadings and working of it, so that you are followers of the truth in love to your own sa­tisfaction and comfort, and this was the gift of God which unto [Page 2] [...]u was given in th [...] beginning to lead you out of Egypts darkness [...]d bondage, and by which the word of salvation was first preach­ [...] unto you for you Restauration and recovery out of that th [...]al­ [...]m, and as your love and obedience hath stood in Faithfulness [...] the Word of Salvation that was first p [...]eached unto you, so you [...]now the blessed effects of it unto your deliverance out of Egypts [...]arkness and bondage, and also knows that glorious liberty and [...]eedom which in the truth you have obtained by the mercy of God, and so you know how the appearance of the heavenly seed [...]th withered the Earthly Weeds, and how the light hath driven [...]way darkness, and truth deceit, and life death, and love envy, [...]nd meekness wrath, and patience fretfulness, and temperance in­ [...]rdinacy, and faith unbelief, and peace trouble, and joy sorrow, [...]nd as truth hath thus changed you by the operation of its power [...] bringing with it all these heavenly vertues and graces into [...]our Souls, so it hath made you new creatures by regeneration in overcoming that spirit and nature in which ye were prone to e­vil, and where darkness had dominion over you to oppress you with heavy burthens, and by this ye are come to know that the Almighty hath shewed you kindness and tender mercies by manifesting himself unto you in a needful time, and stretching forth his arm to help you when distress and trouble was upon you in your captivity, for then did you travail in pain and groan in sorrow as wanting delive­rance, and the Lord did pitty you in your mournfull state, and sent a visitation to you in an acceptable time, and a deliverer came in power that hath broken the bands of death, and raized you from under the region and shaddow of it, [Page 3] and so you have seen the Lord in his appearance and goings, a [...] are acquainted with his power both in killing and making a li [...] and also in pulling down and raising up, and how he hath shewn kindness to you for your everlasting good, so that ye are beco [...] as Plants of his Right hand, and Babes of his own Family, a [...] Lambs of his own Flock, and now knows your portion in the he [...] ­venly Seed and Life which is immortal, and have taken up yo [...] rest in that land which strangers doth not possess, where know the Inheritance sealed unto assurance, and so cannot look [...] any other thing to be your comfort, peace, or satisfaction b [...] the heavenly inheritance in Christ Jesus, and hath drawn y [...] from things below and fixed your eye upon things above, a [...] that which comes from above is your portion and consolati [...] and every one hath a part according to the kindness of him th [...] disposeth and this heavenly portion is distributed amongst the heavenly plants Babes and Lambs whose satisfaction is the will of God, the bread from heaven is broken unto your feed upon, and water of life floweth unto you for your refres [...] ­ment, the heavenly seed is an open Fountain from which Etern [...] life is freely ministred unto you that have renounced evil are a [...] good things prepared, therefore my dear Friends and Brethr [...] be not careful or a portion or Inheritance in fading things, for you are dead to all fading things so life and immortality wi [...] take you up into heavenly Mansions, and into a heavenly por [...]io [...] and inheritance, and there you will know that all things are h [...] with Christ in God for you, and that will ease you of the bu [...] ­densome care that may come upon you by looking [...] Temporal Possessions, and you will feel the Heaven [...] Power, and Li [...]e, in Dominion over that which woul [...] draw you into Temporal things to weaken your Faith wit [...] doubtful Fears and there your Immortall Souls will be [...] [Page 4] liberty and freedom in the Immortal life, and you will have [...]e rejoycing in your heavenly portion as being the only good [...] God is the only good, from whose heavenly love a heavenly [...]rtion is distributed amongst you, and as God is the only good, [...]en so is his gift that proceedeth from him, and his gift being [...] only good it is eternal life, and they that receive the heavenly [...]rtion receives eternal li [...]e, and lives by their portion, and [...] that lives by their portion they praise the good which is [...]od.

Oh this is the excellent treasure and portion which is immor­ [...]l and never dies, happy for ever are you that have a part in it, [...]d keeps it to the end, your tree is planted by the Rivers of Waters and bringeth forth Fruit in due season, your leaf doth [...]t fall in Winter, nor wither in Summer but you always flourish [...]d are fair in fruitfulness for the heavenly power is over you to [...]eserve and keep you at all seasons, and so you are the branches [...]at the living Vine sendeth forth to bear Fruit to Gods glory, [...]d this being the work of the Lord by the operation of his hand [...] is in his hand preserved from being blasted, and though Win­ [...]er storms may be violent, and Summer may yeild a scorching [...]eat, yet the hand of the Lord preserves you from the extreams [...]f both, and your Fruit doth not decay, because it is of that seed [...]hich henceforth and for ever God hath blessed.

Oh glorious God, full of good, thy name is wonderful, and thy [...]lect remembers thee.

Oh holy life, full of light thy appearance draws unto thee, and [...]hy off-spring loves thee.

Oh living power, full of operation, thy work sanctifieth, and [...]hy workmanship depends upon thee.

Oh infinite spirit, full of vertue, thy Fountain ministreth, and [...]hy Family praises thee.

[Page 5]Oh blessed truth, full of grace, thy word instructeth, and thy Followers exalt thee.

Oh heavenly wisdom, full of divinity, thy counsel ordereth, and thy children honours thee.

Oh Eternal Majesty, thou art all in thy own fulness, thou distri­buteth and never wanteth, none can add unto thee, none can take from thee, none can compel thee, none can limit thee, thou art from everlasting and none is like thee, the seed of Abraham lives by Faith in thee, and the Fruit of his loins are heirs of thy King­dom, and in blessing thou blesseth them according to thy promise, and unto thee they gave endless glory.

Oh all ye Lambs of life, praise ye the Lord, he that is one only true, and wise in himself, the maker o [...] all things, who of him­self can do all things, praise ye his power with the powers of your Inner man which by Regeneration is renewed: and in prai­sing be humble before him that your mellody may be well plea­sing to him, for he is God of Gods, and Lord of Lords, the High and Mighty One that distributes your portion, and as ye sit in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, he will fill you wi [...] his good­ness, and so praise his name in the land of the living, and bless the one and only God who blesseth you.

So all dear and beloved friends every where, all wait for the distribution of your heavenly portion which the heavenly God giveth with his own hand, that ye may be always ready to receive it in his own time and having received it from his hand be choice of it, and not prodigal with it, for it is an excellent treasure, and not to be lavished, and you that are choice of it, as you receive it in the distribution from the love of God, it will be a pretious por­tion unto you, and you will feel it renewed and increased as you are choice in the using of it; and so your portion will not decay by Prodigal spending, but will be always ready to relieve you when you stand in need, and there you will gather strength in the Lord [Page 6] and in the power o [...] his might to stand in this strong tempest which is broken forth to overwhelm the render desires and breathings which God hath begotten a [...]t [...] himself, and if it were possible to beat down the pure appearance of truth and righteousness, and to lay waste the true way and worship of the living God, and as the violence of this furious tempest bloweth upon you to cause your hearts to fail from following the Lord in the leading [...] of his light, and so to bring you back again into Egypt and the house of bondage; so you had need be watchfull to the power of the almighty which is able to preserve you, and to be strengthened with might by his spirit in the Inner Man, that in the leadings of the light you may all continue following the Lord in his own way, and not be turn­e [...] aside to ei [...]h [...] hand, or driven back again into the old nature, for if any turn aside, as if they would stand and fee the end, and then think to turn in again when a calm may come, they may be so ta­ [...]en captive as never to se a r [...]turo, and if any go back again into the old nature for safty and security, there captivity will be great and heavy; for these are the things designed by the violence and fierce­ness of the [...]mpest, and if it could [...]ron aside or drive back again by its fury, then the nature of it would be a liberty to triumph in the works of Iniquity, therefore all dear friends, be watchful to the light and power of the Lord God, that in him ye may be strong to stand against the tempest in its fierceness and fury, and set the Lord alwaies before you that he may lead you and keep you in the way everlasting, for it is in vain for any to fly to the Moun­tains or Hills for help and salvation, because the tempest will pursue thither and find out the most secret place, but the name of the Lord is a strong Tower, the Righteous fly rhither and are safe, and so it may be said to the Righteous it shall go well with them, because they fly to the name of the Lord for Refuge and Safety, and so are neither turned aside nor [Page 7] driven back again, but in the name of the Lord are preserved, and are quiet from Fear of evil, and so it is well with the Righteou [...] whose dwelling place is in the name of the Lord, and blessed ar [...] the Righteous that ke [...]ps their habit [...] t [...]ch and are re [...]mov [...]d, th [...] Lord is your strength and po [...]ti [...]r, and Crowned R [...]j [...]ycing.

Oh you are amiable in your dwellings who in the light have taken up your rest, your Garment is an Ornament of [...]xcellen [...] beavty, and y [...]ur bed a sw [...]t and pleasant sav [...]ur, and in you [...] faithful testimony the Lord hath pleasure, and because you only seek the honour of his name he will honour you, and th [...]ugh th [...] dark places of the earth be full of cruelty against the in [...]cc [...]ncy o [...] your life, yet the power of the Almighty will be a sure de [...]erce o­ver the glory, therefore gird up the l [...]yns of your minds and hop to the end, for God is with you.

And dear Friends, I cannot but exhort you in Brotherly kind­ness to be stedfast in the Faith, c [...]ntent in patience, and quiet i [...] meekness, and abounding in love, that no part of the garment spotted of the flesh may appear upon you, but the pure Heavenly Wisdom and Righteousness of Christ Jesus may fill you are cloath you, then Wisdom will instruct you in all things wherein truth is concerned and so in wisdom to be ordered in the truth and one towards another and let nothing but the love of truth and on [...] another appear amongst you, and that will go over and wear on whatsoever is contrary for if you have an eye one upon another t [...] give Judgement in things wherein your eye may not b [...] satisfied, it will run you into divers apprehensions, an [...] secretly work into divisions, for the enemy is busie. [...] advance his work if he be not resisted, there are ma­ny things to be well weighed and considered wherein [Page 8] truth is concerned, and such as are strong to bear with the weak [...]nd h [...]p them, that none may be turned out of the way that in wisdome may be preserved, for if you will consider the present [...]ime you may be sensible that you are all concerned to walk wisely both to such as are within and such as are without, and yet not suf­ [...]or your testimony in any thing to be weakned, and as you wait [...]or Gods wisdom it will in all things direct you as best becomes the gospel of Christ Jesus, and then peace and unity will be pre­served amongst you, and ye will all be found in the true service of love to Gods glory.

So in all things my dear Friends be mind [...]ul to take counsel of the Lord God that his Wisdom may direct you in all your ways word [...] and works, and there you will all have mutual satisfaction in th [...] [...]ty of one spirit to your everlasting peace, joy and com­fort, and the blessings of the Lord God will cover you and rest up­on you.

And let not your ear be open to intelligence abroad neither speak much among [...] your selves of what is done unto you or o­thers but all dwell in the heavenly mansions of light and life, and hearken to the inteligence of wisdoms voice, and that will preserve you in the [...]eeling of your heavenly portion.

And be not dismayed at Tribulations, but follow the light in­to the Kingdom, and there you will find a sure reward for all your sufferings and afflictions.

Dear Friends and Brethren, my dear love salutes you, and un­to the Lord God I commend you, and in the Lambs patience I rest with you.

Your Friend and Brother in the tender compassion of Christ Jesus, W. Smith.
THE END

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