6. The guilty spirit suffers, first, in the spirit-life, in proportion to the degree of its imperfections; and, next, in the return to terrestrial life which is granted to it as a means of repairing its past wrongdoing; and it is to this end that it finds itself thrown into the society of those whom it has wronged, or placed in the midst of surroundings similar to those in which it did the wrongdoing that it has to expiate, or in a situation which is its opposite: as, for example, in a state of poverty, if the spirit has made a bad use of riches, or in a humble position, if it has been proud.
As previously remarked, the spirit’s expiation of wrongdoing is effected both in the spirit-world and also upon the Earth; the expiation of the earthly life is only the continuation and complement of the expiation which had been previously begun by it in the spirit-world, and is imposed on it in order to help forward its improvement, by giving it the opportunity of putting into practice the lessons it has learned; it is for the spirit to profit by the opportunity thus afforded it. Is it not better for it to come back to Earth, with the possibility of eventually winning entrance into Heaven, than to be condemned to everlasting misery, on quitting the earthly life? The new opportunity thus given to the spirit of working out its own purification, and consequent happiness, is a proof of the wisdom, the goodness, and the justice of God, who wills that each spirit incarnated in a human body should owe everything to its own efforts, and should be the artificer of its future; if it be unhappy, for a longer or shorter period, it has only itself to blame for it, and, whatever may be the intensity or duration of the suffering it may have brought upon itself, the door of repentance, amendment, and rehabilitation is always open for it.