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What the German Freemasons call proben und prufungen, meaning trials and proofs, and the French, dpreuves Maconniques, or Masonic proofs, are defined by Bazot (Manuel, page 141) to be "mvsterious methods of discovering the character and disposition of a recipiendary." They are, in fact, those ritualistic ceremonies of initiation which are intended to test the fortitude and fidelity of the candidate. They seem to be confined to Continental Freemasonry, for they are not known to any extent in the English or American systems, where all the ceremonies are purely symbolic. Krause ( Kunsturkunden, Book I, clii, 37) admits that no trace of them, at least in the perilous and fearful forms which they assume in the Continental Rituals, are to be found in the oldest English catechisms. He admits that, as appealing to the sentiments of fear and hope, and adopting a dramatic form, they are contrary to the spirit of Freemasonry, and greatly interfere with its symbolism and with the pure and peaceful sentiments which it is intended to impress upon the mind of the neophyte.
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