van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Paris, 17 September 1875

Dear Theo,

A feeling, even a fine feeling, for the beauties of Nature is not the same as a religious feeling, though I believe these two are connected. *

Nearly everyone has a feeling for nature, some more, some less, but there are some who feel: God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. Father is one of those few, Mother too, and Uncle Vincent as well, I think.

You know that it is written: “The world passeth away and the lust thereof”, and that on the other hand we are also told about “that good part which shall not be taken away”, and about “a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” Let us also pray that we may grow rich in God. Still, do not dwell too deeply on these matters - in the fullness of time they will become clearer to you of their own accord - and just take the advice I have given you.

Let us ask that it may fall to us to become the poor in the kingdom of God, God's servants. We are still a long way from that, however, since there are often beams in our eye that we know not of. Let us therefore ask that our eye may become single, for then we ourselves shall become wholly single.

Regards to Roos and to anybody who may ask after me, and believe me, always,

Your loving brother, Vincent

Sleep well, I must go and polish my boots for tomorrow.

*The same is true of the feeling for art. Do not succumb too much to that either. Above all, save some love for the business and for your work, and respect for Mr. Tersteeg. One day you will appreciate, better than now, how much he deserves it. No need to overdo it, though.

At this time, Vincent was 22 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 17 September 1875 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number 038.

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