New York: 4th month 3rd, 1829
Thy acceptable letter of the 2nd month last was duly received and its contents has been considered and although I apprehend there is enough already in print of my own clear testimony and spread before the Public throughout most parts of the United States in my communications and letters some published by my consent and some by my opposers to answer and confute all those several charges and matters specified thy letter. But in as much as though desires to have a clear statement in relation to those several subjects noted in thy letter, I take as follows:
1st: As to the scriptures of Truth as recorded in the Book called the Bible, I have ever believed that all parts of them that could not be known but by revelation where written by holly men as they were inspired by the holly ghost and could not be known through any other medium and they are profitable for our encouragement comfort and instruction in the very way that the apostle Paul testifies and I have always accounted them when rightly understood as the best of Books external. I have always delighted in reading them in my serious moments in preference to any other Book from my youth up and have made more use of their contents to confirm and establish my ministerial labours in the gospel than most other ministers that I am acquainted with. But at the same time I prise that from whence they have arrived their origin much higher than I do them as that for which a thing is such the thing itself is more such and no man I conceive can know or rightly profit by them, but by the opening of the same inspiring spirit by which they were written, and I apprehend that I have read them as much as most other men and none I believe has received more profit from them than I have.
2ndly: I have always believed since I have been and reflected on the subject in the miraculous conception of Jesus as far as history can give belief and no man I can conceive is possessor of a higher belief and as his Divinity I am fully convinced that he was truly the son of God and that he could not be so unless he fully partook of the very nature spirit likeness and divinity of his heavenly father as in the moral relation none could be a proper son of man unless he fully partakes of the very nature spirit image and likeness of his father. That his mission as the last and greatest Prophet of the law state in as first to fulfill all the righteousness of that shadowy covenant and thereby abolish it and all its outward ordinances, and by which he was prepared to receive additional power from on high as the scriptures assures us that when he came out of John’s watery baptism the last institute of that dispensation we read that the holy ghost descended upon him and a voice from heaven was heard to say this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, he now witnessed the fullness of the spiritual birth and was thereby qualified to enter upon his gospel mission and when in the new Covenant Profiside off long before by Jeremy the Prophet being the son of God with power according to the spirit of holyness by the resurrection from the dead by which he was first before all the former prophets. As to the disposition of his Body of flesh, I consider it a secret that infinite wisdom hath seen fit to hide from man as he did the Bodys of Moses and Elijah lest some of their admiring followers should Idolize them. One thing the scriptures assures us and which I fully believe that flesh and blood cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven and Jesus fully confirms this view as he told Nichodemus that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit.
As to Heaven and Hell, and the devil, I am astonished to think that every youth of sixteen to eighteen years of age should not have a real knowledge of them. Does not heaven signify a joyful state to the soul and hell a state of torment and does not the Presence of God by his spirit either by justifying or condemning us always produce these two states according to our obedience or disobedience to the divine requirings? I am fully persuaded that I was a witness of these things before I was twelve years of age and therefore I consider that the torment of a soul separated from God by sin and transgression far exceeds what Jesus made use of as a figure thereof under the similitude of a body cast into a lake of fire and brimstone, but we cannot suppose that external fire and brimstone can have any effect on an immortal spirit and the Psalmist clearly justifies this view in his appeal to the almighty if says he I ascends to heaven thou art there and if descend and make my bed in hell thou art there.
Here we see that his presence constitutes and give a correct estimate of the state and conditions of every immortal soul according to their obedience or disobedience to the requirings of his holy spirit a manifestation whereof is given to every rational accountable being to profit withal by which all are made to know his will concerning them whilst they are wilfully blinded and as to what is called a devil or satan it is something within us that tempts us to go counter to the Commands of God and our duty to him and our fellow creatures, and the scriptures tells us there are many of them and that Jesus cast seven out of one woman and I remember hearing in my young years a very able and approved minister among friends give his explanation of that portion of scripture and that the evils she had fell into was through and unlawfully indulgence of the propensities and desires of our common nature as probationary creatures and although necessary and useful in there place, but when indulged beyond bounds of reason and truth, it produces sin and should suppose that every man of common understanding by a proper introversion into himself would immediately discover that he was never tempted to any evil, but though one or the other of the propensities and desires of his common nature as an accountable being and that those propensities and desires which keep under the discipline of the Prophet Christ which is god’s love as the scriptures disclose on the tablets of our hearts where all ministers of good to man and qualify him rightly to answer the end of his Creation for without those propensities and desires, man would be a dormant inactive creature as he would have nothing to excite him to action to procure those things necessary to preserve his life or to seek after an attainment in true knowledge sufficient to introduce him into the knowledge of his Creator and prepare him to be a Communicant with him in the Realms of Blessedness when you with time here on earth can it be possibly necessary for me to add any thing further to manifest my full and entire belief of the immortality of the Sons of man, surly what an ignorant Creature must that man be that hath not come to the clear and full knowledge of that in himself does not every man feel a desire in his very nature after happeness that urges him on in a study persist after something to satisfy this desire and that all the riches and honour and glory of this world together with everything that is mortal falls infinitely short of satisfying the desire which proved it to be immortal and any being or thing that is immortal in itself receive the impress of an immortal desire upon it surely not therefore this immortal desire of the soul of man never can be fully satisfied until it comes to be fully established in a state of immortality and eternal life beyond the grave.
On my return to the Bosom of my dear family and friends at home although under severe opporations of the cold I took in Jersey that confined me to the house for several weeks, there was the unsullied joy and peace of mind I witnessed in a retrospective view of my late journey to the west among my friends and the unmultied favors dispensed to me through the whole anxious for the promotion of the noble cause of Truth and Righteousness in the earth which view inspires my whole man with humility, thanksgiving and gratitude to the Blessed author of all our sure mercies who is over all worthy forever. Add to that sweet communion with my much beloved wife and children, I humbly consider a comfort and felicity far beyond my desserts; but alas, how fleeting and uncertain are all our joys that rest on terrestial objects for so soon almost (……next line of letter torn through fold … illegible)… my bodily indisposition and in the full enjoyment of the endeared embraces of my beloved companion she was taken ill with a cold, and although for several days we felt no alarm, respecting her recovery yet it seemed suddenly to fix upon her lungs and brought on an inflammation which terminated her precious life on the ninth day after she was taken ill, which sudden and unexpected separation seemed almost to much for my nature and fortitude of mind to endure having nothing left to console us for so great a loss, but a remembrance of her virtuous life and pious example, and a confident belief that her precious soul landed safe on the angelic shore where the wicked and every opposing spirit leaves from troubling and she enjoying the full and sweetest rewards of a virtuous and well spent life where all sorrow and sighing is at an end and that our great loss has resulted in still greater and eternal gain and as nothing further has transpired of worthy of particular notice.
I will now draw to a close with desiring to present my sincere love and regard to thy dear wife and children (……next line of letter illegible)… and others of my friends in thy freedom and with a large share to thyself I subscribe thy sincere friend,
Sent to Charles Stokes