Autobiography Of Dr. Karl Gottlieb Bretschneider -- By: George E. Day

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 010:38 (Apr 1853)
Article: Autobiography Of Dr. Karl Gottlieb Bretschneider
Author: George E. Day


Autobiography Of Dr. Karl Gottlieb Bretschneider

George E. Day

VI. Entrance Into The Ministry

With as much certainty as the physician foresees the death of an incurable patient, I foresaw that Napoleon, in the course of the next year (after the battle of Austerlitz), would turn upon Prussia, and that consequently Northern Germany, which had so long been spared, would then become the seat of war. The prospect was for me anything but pleasant. As the fees of the students, many of whom were poor, and the stipendium which I drew, were not sufficient to support me, I was obliged to make up the deficiency by writing for the press. But what would this amount to, amid the ravages of war in Northern Germany and with Leipsic perhaps in the hands of the French? In addition to this, there was another apprehension still more disquieting. Wittenberg was tolerably well fortified; at least, it had walls and trenches, although the latter were dry. The principle passage over the Elbe, especially for an army on the march, to Berlin, lay directly through it. It was not difficult to foresee that Wittenberg would be fortified, besieged, and defended, and that in the process the university would go to ruin, and its funds be mostly lost. I did not then dream that Prussia would so soon submit, but rather

hoped it would offer a resolute resistance. So much the more, however, did I apprehend the certain destruction of Wittenberg. Unwilling to remain any longer connected with an institution, of the downfall of which I had no doubt, I came to the settled resolution, about March, 1806, to withdraw from university life and seek a situation in the church.

The first thing to be done was to acquaint Reinhard, the upper court-preacher in Dresden, with my purpose, and secure his approbation; for Reinhard, from the very beginning of my university course, had taken me under his protection. We maintained a constant correspondence. It was not without some misgivings that I ventured to inform him of my decision, and ask his assistance in procuring for me a settlement in the ministry; for he had an attachment to Wittenberg, where he had been professor, and wished me to remain there. In his answer, he disapproved of my plan, and, in order to induce me to abandon it, promised to obtain for me a pension of a hundred thaler, and the prospect of being appointed professor extraordinarius, if I desired. I acknowledged his kindness, but stated in detail all my anxieties in respect to the future, and repeated my request. One reason, however, I kept back, viz. my dissatisfaction with the comparative standing of the university. It numbered usually but three hundred students, and even among these there was no real literary enthusiasm. More than all, lit...

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