van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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 57 letters relate to feelings - ambition...Excerpt length: shorter longer  
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(22 April 1877)
... be safer than taking it with me abroad. It seems to me a new proof and a hint - I have already observed more of them lately - that everything will be all right with me, that I shall succeed in the thing I so earnestly desire. Something of the old faith grows in me that my thoughts will be confirmed, my spirit renewed, and my soul restored to the old faith. It will be a choice for my whole life! Fix your heart and mind upon a good thing and a good work also, and pray for it to the Lord. Uncle Jan has been to Etten, and says that my little room is already waiting for me. Mr. Braat has somebody in mind for my place, so in May I shall probably be able to put my hand to the plough. I will hang the prints you gave me in that little room, and so they will remind me of you daily. Underneath the print after Rosenthal, that monk, I have written: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls....
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(30 May 1877)
... wish I were far away from everything! And yet I go on, but prudently and hoping to have strength to resist those things, so that I shall know what to answer to those reproaches that threaten me, and believing that notwithstanding everything that seems against me, I yet shall reach the aim I am striving for, and if God wills it, shall find favour in the eyes of some I love and in the eyes of those that will come after me. There is written: “Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,” and when the disciples had worked all night and had not caught any fish, they were told “go out into the deep and cast your nets again into the sea.”
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(31 May 1877)
... like our father, I will thank God. I have strong hopes of success: once somebody who was more advanced in life than I and who was no stranger to Jerusalem - meaning he had sought after it and found it - said to me, “I believe you are a Christian.” It did me so much good to hear this! Whatever you wish for yourself, too, hold firm to the thought of Christ and treasure His word - just as you do. It is good to believe that there is a God who knows what we want better than we do ourselves, and Who helps us whenever we are in need of it. And it is also good to believe that now, just as in olden days, an angel is not far from those who are sad - strengthened unto God - not only to those who are nearly angels themselves, but particularly to those who want the help of a higher power to be preserved from the evil, from the badness which we know is in the world and not far away from us - not far from those who are broken-hearted and dejected in spirit. I have often read...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(15 July 1877)
... - Bookseller's Row, for instance. May it be given to me in time to preach as well as many I have heard in the past and hear now. I am trying my utmost to prepare myself for it. I am very busy making a summary of the Reformation; the history of those days is quite stimulating and intriguing. Last week I spent an evening with the old Reverend Mr. Meyes and met his son, the Reverend Mr. Jeremie Meyes, with his wife, a daughter of Professor Tilanus, and two of their sons; one is here at the gymnasium, and the other is studying to be an engineer. The latter has helped to build those sheds here in the yard (in which they build the ships, like we saw with Uncle that afternoon when you were here) and also he has helped to build that new Kattenburg bridge. It was a pleasant evening and we spoke about many things abroad. He [the Reverend Mr. Jeremie Meyes] is a very gifted man, and has great talent and great faith. I heard him in the West Church. I watched him leave the pulpit...
Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
(30 October 1877)
... those in the Faubourg St. Germain.) Oh, boy, I shall be too glad for words if I can pass my examination; if I can overcome the difficulties, it will be in all simplicity of heart but also in prayer to God, for I often pray fervently to Him for the wisdom I need. And then that He may once grant that I write and preach many sermons - the more, the better - resembling our father's, and finish a work in my life, with every day bringing some improvement. I spent Monday evening at Uncle Cor's, and saw Aunt and the whole family; all send you their kindest regards. Uncle showed me that book, L'Oeuvre Gravé de Ch. Aubigny. From there I went to Uncle Stricker's and had a long talk with him and Aunt, for Mendes had been to see them a few days ago (one must not talk too lightly about genius, even though one believes there is more of it in the world than many suppose, but Mendes certainly is a very remarkable person, and I am and will remain grateful for my contact with...

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