"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes, or thorns, or figs, or thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit: but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."
No matter what person we may be considering, the best criterion obtainable in regard to his character is that given in the beautifully simple, direct words of the Christ: "By their fruits ye shall know them." The truly spiritual person may be identified by the purity of his life--by his actions of kindness, humility, and helpfulness. The less developed also manifest their "fruits" in kind: greed, cruelty, selfishness, and gossip.
We should appply this same "measuring rod" to the self-styled prophets and teachers who appear before the public and exhort their listeners to follow a certain teaching.
Concerning spiritual teachers, Max Heindel has given some very definite information as to the kind of "fruits" they should bear:
The higher we climb, either by evolution or Initiation, the clearer we see the Light, which is God, shining at the top; the more we are strengthened thereby, the better we are filled to walk or climb alone. Therefore, after a time it is unnecessary to have Masters to help us, and their place is then by the Elder Brothers, known in the West as friends and advisers.
The Elder Brothers of the Rose Cross aim to emancipate the Egos who come to them; to educate, to strengthen, and to make them co-workers. They never urge, never praise, and never blame. The urge must come from within the pupil, and they teach him to judge himself. In every respect they educate him to stand upon his own feet without leaning upon them or anyone else, for the higher we attain, the greater would be the disaster of a fall. Only as we cultivate equipoise and self-reliance, coupled with spiritual integrity and zeal of devotion, are we fitted to go on.
Anyone who professes to be a Teacher must be able to substantiate his claim by using the Jupiter Period consciousness, for the true Teachers, the Elder Brothers, who now are preparing the conditions of evolution which are to obtain during the Jupiter Period, all have the consciousness pertaining to that Period. Thus they naturally and without effort project pictures upon the consciousness of those whom they are addressing and thereby at once give evidence of their identity. Only they are able to guide others with safety, but they do not function as individual teachers. No truly highly evolved teacher could afford to give his time and energy to the instruction of a single pupil. Such highly evolved beings as the Elder Brothers of the Rosicrucian Order have other and more important things to attend to, and even the lay brothers who have been initiated by them are not allowed to bother them for small and unimportant matters.