Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.—Rom. 8.33

David Dickson’s

Truth’s Victory Over Error

Chapter XXXII.

Of the State of Men after Death,

and of the Resurrection of the Dead.


ARE the Souls of the Righteous, being made perfect in holiness, received into the highest Heavens, where they behold the Face of GOD in Light and Glory?

Yes.  Acts 3.21.  Ephes. 4.10.  [Phil. 1.23.]

Well then, do not the Greeks, Arminians, Anabaptists, and Papists err, who maintain, that the Souls of the Righteous are not presently after death, admitted to enjoy happiness, which consists in seeing of GOD; but are put into some Mansion, though it be not a Heavenly one; yet a place above Hell, where they enjoy, even until the Resurrection, some Heavenly Delight, and Recreation, without seeing GOD?


Other Study Resources

  1. Truth’s Victory Chapter 32 Study PDF: 1
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Do not likewise the Socinians err, who affirm, That the Souls of the Righteous after death, until the Resurrection, are extinguished, and put out, to speak so?


By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, the Souls of the Righteous after Death are with Christ in Heaven, and enjoy that blessed Vision, Phil. 1.23.  Acts 3.21.  Eph. 4.10.  (2) Because, the Spirits of Just Men after Death return to GOD, and are received by GOD; Eccles. 12.7.  Acts 7.59.  Note, that Solomon only speaketh of the people of GOD.  Yet some understand it of the Souls both of Believers and unbelievers, which are both sentenced by GOD, as supreme Judge, immediately when a man dieth, every man to his place, the Souls of Believers to Heaven, of unbelievers to hell.  (3) Because, the Saints departed, together with the Angels, are said to sing perpetually Praises and Thanksgiving before His Throne; Rev. 4.6, 9-11.  Rev. 5.8-10.  Rev. 7.9,10.  (4) Because, Christ promised, that the Thief should be with him in Paradise, that same very day he died; Luke 23.43.  Paul also calls it the third Heaven; 2 Cor. 12.2,4.  (5) Because, the Spirits of just men, are said to be made perfect in holiness and glory, and placed in the Heavenly Jerusalem with the Apostles; Heb. 12.22,23.  (6) Because, the Apostle says, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of GOD, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens; 2 Cor. 5.1,2.  (7) Because, the same Apostle says, therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; 2 Cor. 5.6,8.  (8) Because, the souls of the righteous after death are comforted, and carried into Abraham’s bosom; Luke 16.22,25.

Quest. II. “ARE the souls of the wicked cast into hell, where they remain in torments, and utter darkness reserved to the judgment of the great day?

Yes.  Luke 16.23,24.  Acts 1.25.  Jude 6,7.  1 Peter 3.19.

Well then, do not the Greeks and others err, who maintain, that the souls of the wicked are not adjudged to hell’s torments, till after the resurrection?


Do not likewise the Socinians err, who maintain, that the souls of the wicked shall never be tormented in hell?


By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, the particular judgment of every single man, follows immediately his departure out of this life; Heb. 9.27.  (2) Because, the soul of the rich glutton, after it departed from his body, was tormented in the flames of Hell; Luke 16.22,23.  (3) Because, the souls of wicked men departed go to their own place, that is to hell, Acts 1.25.  (4) Because, the souls of wicked men, are no less punished in hell, than the Apostate Angels; Jude verses 6, 7.  (5) Because, the Spirits of those who in the time of Noah were disobedient are said to be in prison, 1 Peter 3.19; This prison is Hell, Matth. 5.25, 26.

Quest. III. “DOTH the Scripture acknowledge any other place than heaven and hell for souls departed from their bodies?


Well then, do not the Papists err, who besides these two places, have devised other four:

First, a place called Limbus patrum, in which the Faithful, who died before Christ’s passion, have been shut up, as in a dark prison, under ground; and being without torment, and for the time wanting happiness, have been kept close there until Christ’s Resurrection and ascension into heaven

Secondly, a place called Limbus infantum, in which Infants which die without Baptism, suffer the eternal punishment, not of Sense, but of Loss.

The third is a most pleasant Meadow, in which as in a Royal prison, the Souls that are in it, want happiness, yet suffer no punishment of Sense, except what ariseth from the delay of happiness, but only of Loss.

This place seems to be the Elisian Fields, taken out of the sixth book of Virgil’s Æneiods.

The fourth place is called Purgatory, which is a middle place between heaven and hell, in which are the Saints, who have departed from this life, without making satisfaction by temporal punishments, for their venial sins, yet have gone thither for the guilt of their punishment, the fault whereof is pardoned in this life: that when they have satisfied and are well purged from every spot and blemish, they may be admitted to that blessed Vision in seeing GOD for ever.

Do not (I say) the Papists err, who besides heaven and hell maintain other four places, for souls departed?


[For the First,] By what reasons do you confute Limbus patrum?

(1) Because, the Souls of the Faithful that departed before Christ’s passion, were made Inhabitants of the same Heavenly Jerusalem, with the Angels, Heb. 12.22,23.  (2) Because, the Spirits and Souls of the Faithful that died before Christ suffered, returned to GOD who gave them, Eccl. 3.21. [Eccl. 12.7.]  (3) Because, the virtue of Christ’s sacrifice did no less extend itself to Believers under the Old Testament, than to Believers under the New, Rev. 13.8.  (4) From the example of Enoch, and of Moses, and Elias, which two before the passion of Christ, were seen upon the mount with him, Gen. 5.24.  2 Kings 2.11.  Luke 9.30,31.  Heb. 11.5.

[For the Second,] By what reasons do you confute Limbus Infantum?

(1) Because, the Covenant belongs to the Children of Believers though not baptized; in which Covenant, glory and life eternal are promised, Acts 2.39.  (2) Because, Christ said, that the Kingdom of Heaven belonged to little children, though not baptized, Matth. 19.14.  (3) Because, the Infants of the Israelites dying before the eighth day, were not shut up in Limbus Infantum, as the Adversaries themselves confess.  But the Nature and Essence of Baptism under the New Testament, and the Nature and Essence of Circumcision under the Old, are the same, Col. 2.11,12.  (4) All the Arguments which are brought against the absolute necessity of Baptism, do clearly overturn this fiction of Limbus Infantum.

Thirdly [and Fourthly,] There is no such place as a most pleasant meadow, in which, as in a Senatorian prison, the Souls that are in it want Felicity; yet suffer no punishment of Sense.  This was made evident in the First Question.  Lastly, there is no such place as Purgatory.  (1) Because, there is no such thing as Venial sin, as it is explained by the Popish-church, upon which false Foundation, is built this fancy of Purgatory, Rom. 6.23.  (2) Because, temporal punishments do not extend themselves beyond this life, Rom. 8.18.  2 Cor. 4.17,18.  1 Peter 5.10.  For in this life only, the Godly receive their evil things, as the Wicked receive their good things, Luke 16.25.  (3) Because, after the fault is pardoned, there remains no punishment to be undergone; Ezek. 18.22.  Psalm 32.1,2.  Micah 7.19.  Rom. 8.1,33.  (4) Because, the Thief upon the Cross, that was converted, did not suffer afterwards any punishment in Purgatory, Luke 23.43.  Neither could his death, and confession upon the Cross, be accounted a perfect satisfaction (as the Adversaries affirm) because he did acknowledge, he had received the due reward of his deeds, Luke 23.41.  He that suffers as a Murderer, or as a Thief, or as an evil doer, his punishment cannot be accounted a satisfaction, 1 Peter 4.15.  (5) Because, they that die in the Lord, rest from all their labours; Rev. 14.13.  (6) Because, Christ’s satisfaction for the sins of Believers, is most full, complete, and perfect, and doth not need our imperfect satisfactions, whether for the Fault or the Punishment; Isaiah 53rd chapter; Titus 2.14.  1 John 1.7; Heb. 10.14; Col. 1.20-22.  Neither by our sufferings in Purgatory, is Christ’s satisfaction applied to us.  First, because our sufferings there cannot be an instrument for applying Christ’s Merits to us.  For on GOD’s part, we have the Word, Sacraments, and the Spirit as means, for applying his merits to us.  On our part we have Faith.  Was it ever heard of in the Word of GOD, that the Lord made use of exquisite torments for applying his Grace?  To apply Mercy by the executing of Justice: Is forgiving debt, applied by exacting the debt?  Shall pardon be applied to us by the punishing of us?

Quest. IV. “WILL such as are found alive, at the last day not die but be changed?

Yes.  1 Thess. 4.17.  1 Cor. 15.51,52.

Well then, do not the Papists err, who maintain, that such as are found alive at the last day shall die?


By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, Christ is ordained of GOD to be judge of Quick and Dead; which distinction would be needless, if all truly Died; Acts 10.42.  (2) Because, the Apostle says (as was cited) we shall not all sleep but be changed: which place of Scripture is not to be read, we shall all therefore sleep, as the Papists say, putting in the Greek particle oun for ou, therefore for not.  Because this illative particle oun, cannot agree sufficiently with the Apostle’s Preface, Behold, I shew you a mystery: This Mystery is not death itself, but a change in place of death, which is a great Mystery indeed.  (3) As the Resurrection of many of the bodies of the Saints, was a preamble of the great Resurrection of our bodies, (Matth. 27.52,) So the translating of Enoch, that he might not see death, seems to be a preamble of this change in place of deathHeb. 11.5.

Quest. V. “SHALL the Dead be raised up, with the self-same bodies and none other, although with different qualities, which shall be united again to their Souls for ever?

Yes.  Job 19.26-27.  1 Cor. 15.42-44.

Well then, do not the Socinians, Arminians Anabaptists, Photinians and Marcionites err, who maintain, that the same individual body, is not raised up, which we carried about with us here, and laid down in the dust, but another body made of Air, or of some matter more subtle than Air, altogether void of flesh and blood, made a-new by Christ?


Do not likewise the Quakers err, who maintain also, That the same individual body is not raised again, but that there is a change thereof in substance, as well as in quality?


By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, it is evident from Scripture, Phil. 3.21, that there shall be a transforming of those vile bodies at the Resurrection, to be fashioned after the glorious body of Christ; and so not the forming and making of a new one, which is hard to conceive, if the same individual body should not be raised, and if this change here spoken of, be as well in substance, as in quality.  (2) Because, the Apostle says, He that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies (and therefore not bodies made of Air) by his Spirit, that dwelleth in you; Rom. 8.11.  (3) The same Apostle says, For this corruption must put on incorruption, and this mortality must put on immortality; 1 Cor. 15.53.  (4) Because, the Justice of GOD requires that the same individual bodies shall receive rewards, or punishments, which have done good or evil, while life remained; 2 Cor. 5.10.  Rom. 2.6.  Eph. 6.8.  (5) Because, the body of Christ, who is the efficient cause of our Resurrection, (1 Cor. 15.4, 12, 13, 16,) rose again that same individual body, Luke 24.39,40.

Quest. 6. “SHALL the bodies of the unjust by the power of Christ, be raised to dishonour?

Yes.  Acts 24.15.  John 5.28,29.  Phil. 3.21.

Well then, do not the Socinians err, who maintain, there shall be no resurrection of the unjust?


By what reasons are they confuted?

(1) Because, the Apostle says, We must all appear before the Judgment-seat of Christ, that every man may receive the things done in the body; 2 Cor. 5.10.  (2) Because, the hour cometh, in the which, all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation: John 5.28,29.  (3) Because, the Apostle says, being accused before Tertullus, there shall be a Resurrection of the dead, both of the Just and Unjust; Acts 24.15.  (4) Because, according to Enoch’s Prophecy, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his Saints, to execute Judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them; Jude verses 14,15.  (5) Because, many of them that sleep in the dust of the Earth, shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame, and everlasting contempt; Daniel 12.2.