BRECKINRIDGE, JOHN: American Presbyterian; b. at Cabell's Dale, near Lexington, Ky., July 4, 1797; d. there Aug. 4, 1841. He studied at Princeton and was tutor there 1820-21; was chaplain of Congress 1822-23; was ordained Sept. 10, 1823, and was pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, Lexington, Ky., 1823-26; of the Second Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, 1828-31; corresponding secretary of the Board of Education of the Presbyterian Church at Philadelphia 1831-36; professor of pastoral theology in Princeton Seminary 1836-38; secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions 1838-40. He was president of the American Colonization Society, and at the time of his death was president-elect of Oglethorp University, Georgia. He was a leader of the Old School party and an ardent controversialist. He published a discussion with Archbishop Hughes of New York under the title Roman Catholic Controversy (Philadelphia, 1836) and some minor controversial essays.
BRECKENRIDGE, ROBERT JEFFERSON: Presbyterian minister, brother of John Breckinridge; b. at Cabell's Dale, near Lexington, Ky., Mar. 8, 1800; d. at Danville, Ky., Dec. 27, 1871. He was graduated at Union College, 1819; practised law in Kentucky, 1823-31, and was a member of the State legislature, 1825-29; studied theology at Princeton, 1831-32, was ordained Nov. 26, 1832, and was pastor of the Second Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, 1832-45; president of Jefferson College, Pennsylvania, 1845-47; pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Lexington, Ky., and at the same time State superintendent of public instruction, 1847-53; professor of theology at Danville Seminary, 1853-89. He was a stanch Old School Presbyterian and the author of the "Act and Testimony" (1834), complaining of the prevalence of doctrinal errors, the relaxation of discipline, and the violation of church order, which played an important part in the disruption of the Presbyterian Church; he opposed the reunion in 1869. He was a bitter opponent of the Roman Catholic Church. During the Civil War he defended the Union cause and was president of the national Republican convention at Baltimore in 1864 which renominated Abraham Lincoln for the Presidency. During his residence in Baltimore he edited The Literary and Religions Magazine (1835-43), and The Danville Review at Danville (1861-65); his principal literary work is two volumes, The Knowledge of God, objectively and subjectively considered (New York, 1857-59).
BRECKLING, FRIEDRICH: A forerunner of the Pietistic school; b. at Hanved near Flensburg, Sleswick, 1629; died at The Hague Mar. 16, 1711. He studied at Rostock, where he imbibed the theology of Arndt; then at Königsberg, where syncretism was dominant, at Helmstädt, where his relation Calixtus then was, at Wittenberg, Leipsic, Jena, and Giessen. Here his thesis for the master's degree (1653) was criticized as savoring of Weigelianism, but he refused to alter it, and published it at Amsterdam under the title Mysterium magnum, Christus in nobis (1662). He became closely allied with Tackius, and went deeper into theosophy by the aid of Hermes Trismegistus, Paracelsus, and Böhme. Going to Hamburg, he read Betke's Antichristentum, and was much influenced by its conception of priestless Christianity. After some years of wandering in search of knowledge, he was ordained to be his father's assistant and ultimate successor; but violent attacks on the local clergy caused his deposition and imprisonment in 1660. Escaping, he went to Amsterdam and got a charge at Zwolle, where he spent eight years of comparative quiet, but was again deprived of his office, and lived in retirement at Zwolle (1668-72), Amsterdam (1672-90), and The Hague (1690-1711). He maintained a correspondence with Spener and with Gottfried Arnold, whom he helped in his church history, and was busily engaged as a writer. In spite of his weaknesses, he deserves remembrance as a link in the chain of mystical natures who prepared the way for Spener and the Pietistic movement.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: G. Arnold, Kirchen und Ketzergeschichte, iii, 148-149, iv, 1103-04, Frankfort, 1729; A. Ritschl, Geschichte des Pietismus, ii, 1, 128, 146, Bonn, 1884; L. J. Moltesen, F. Breckling, et Bidrag til Pietismens Udviklingshistorie, Copenhagen, 1893.
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