WORLDS OF TESTS AND ATONEMENTS
13. What more is there to say about worlds of atonements that you don't already know, since you have only to look at the one in which you live? The great number of superior intelligences amongst your inhabitants indicates that the Earth is not a primitive world, destined to receive beings who have recently left the hand of the Creator. The innate qualities which they bring with them constitute a proof of their having already lived and achieved a certain degree of progress. But the number of vices to which they are subject also shows their great moral imperfections. This is why God has placed them in an ungrateful world, in which they can make atonement through heavy work and the suffering of the miseries of life, until they deserve to ascend to happier planets.
14. Nevertheless, not all the Spirits who have incarnated on Earth came to atone. The races which are called savage were formed from Spirits who had only just left their infancy, and who found themselves, as it were, on an educational course for development through contact with more advanced Spirits. Later came the semi-civilized races, made up of the same Spirits as they travelled along their paths to progress. In general, these are the indigenous races on Earth, who will raise themselves little by little through the centuries, some of whom have already managed to reach an intelligent state equal to the more enlightened.
The Spirits who are in atonement are, if we may use the term, the exotic ones of the Earth; they have already lived on other worlds where they were excluded for persisting in wickedness, or for having been the cause of perturbation to the good people in those worlds. They therefore had to be exiled for a time to an ambient of more backward Spirits, so receiving the mission of helping them to advance as they bring with them more developed intelligences and the germ of the knowledge they have acquired. This then is how Spirits under punishment are found amongst the most intelligent races, and why the misfortunes of life seem so very bitter for them. This is because they have a higher degree of sensitivity and so are more highly tested by contrarieties and sorrows than the primitive races whose moral sense is still obtuse.
15. Consequently, the Earth offers an example of a world of atonement and although the variety is infinite, they all have one thing in common: they all serve as places of exile for those Spirits who rebel against the Law of God. This means that these Spirits have at one and the same time to fight against the perversity of man and the inclemency of nature, which is doubly arduous, but which will develop the qualities of heart and intelligence simultaneously. God then, in all His goodness, allows punishment to become something which will benefit the spirit. - SAINT AUGUSTIN (Paris, 1862)