Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (3 October 1876) ... 1 Drop me a
line as soon as you can.
A week from last Sunday, I made a long trip to London, and
there I heard about a kind of job which perhaps might do for me
sometime. In seaport towns like Liverpool and Hull, certain
preachers are often in need of helpers who know how to speak
several languages, to work among the sailors, foreigners, and
visit the sick; some salary is attached to such a position.
I left here early at four o'clock in the morning. It was
beautiful in the park here, with the avenues of dark elm trees,
the wet road through it, and a grey rainy sky above it all; in
the distance there was a thunderstorm. At daybreak I was in
Hyde Park; the leaves were already falling from the trees and
the Virginia creeper was beautifully red against the houses,
and there was a fog. At seven o'clock I was in Kensington, and
rested a little in a church where I used to go so many Sunday
In London I visited some friends and also Messrs. Goupil
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (31 October 1876) ... passed like
little black figures.
When I was standing in the pulpit, I felt like somebody who,
emerging from a dark cave underground, comes back to the
friendly daylight. It is a delightful thought that in the
future wherever I go, I shall preach the Gospel; to do that
sell, one must have the Gospel in one's heart. May the Lord
give it to me.
You know enough of life, Theo, to understand that a poor
preacher stands rather alone in the world, but the Lord can
increasingly rouse in us the consciousness and belief in
“... yet I am not alone, because the Father is with
Ik weet aan wien ik mij vertrouwe
Al wisselen ook dag en nacht,
Ik ken de rots waarop ik bouwe,
Hij feilt niet, die mijn heil verwacht.
[I know to Whom I commit myself;
Though day and night may alternate,
I know the rock on which I build;
He Who awaits my salvation will not fail me.]
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (7 March 1877) ... of good courage,
Oh might I be shown the way to devote my life more
completely to the service of God and the Gospel. I keep praying
for it and I think I shall be heard, I say it in all humility.
Humanly speaking, one would say it cannot happen, but when I
think seriously about it and penetrate under the surface of
what is impossible to man, then my soul is in communion with
God, for it is possible to Him, who speaks and it is done; who
commands and it stands fast.
Oh! Theo, Theo boy, if I might only succeed in this,
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Uncle Cor (8 March 1877) ... until twelve or one o'clock
I like being in Holland
again, although the work across the
Channel, notwithstanding all the trouble and profound
disappointment, was dear to me. It is still - because of the
disappointment and relative failure this time, I am deeply
attached to it.
It is nice that Anna was able to find a situation so
promptly too; I hope she will do well. If you agree to Theo and
me coming next Sunday, kindly drop one of us a postcard; with
kindest regards to you and Aunt, believe me in the meantime
Your affectionate nephew, Vincent
I should have written you about this sooner, but Pa did not
ask me to go next Sunday until yesterday.
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh (22 March 1877) ... am to have them, they fill me with hope.
Writing to you about
my plans helps me to clarify and settle
my thoughts. To begin with, I think of the text, “It is
my portion to keep Thy word.” I have such a craving to
make the treasures of the Bible's word my own, to become
thoroughly and lovingly familiar with all those old stories,
and above all with everything we know about Christ.
In our family, which is a Christian family in the full sense
of the term, there has always been, as far as one can tell,
someone from generation to generation who was a preacher of the
Gospel. Why should there not be a member of our family even now
who feels called to that ministry, and who has some reason to
suppose that he may, and must, declare himself and look for
means of attaining that end? It is my prayer and fervent desire
that the spirit of my Father and Grandfather may rest upon me,
that it may be granted me to become a Christian and a Christian
labourer, that my life may come to...