van Gogh's letters - unabridged and annotated
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Letter from Vincent van Gogh to Theo van Gogh
Paris, 27 September 1875

[Goupil & Cie.]

Paris, 27 September 1875

Dear Theo,

“The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation; the kingdom of God is within you.” “The son of Man is not come to be served, but to serve,” and we who want to become His followers, Christians, we are not greater than our Lord [see Like 22:26-27; John 13:16]. Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the pure in heart.

Narrow is the path which leadeth unto life, and those that find it are few. Struggle to enter by the narrow gate, for many will seek to enter, and will not be able [see Matt. 7:14].

My brother, let us be prudent; let us ask of Him Who is on high, Who also prayeth for us, that He take us not away from the world, but that he preserve us from evil. Yea, let us be sober, and watch, let us trust in God, and not lean upon our intellect. Let us ask of Him that He force us to come in; that He enable us to fulfill a Christian's life; that He teach us to deny ourselves, to take our cross every day and follow after Him; to be gentle, long-suffering and lowly of heart.

A part that shall not be taken away, a spring of living water, springing into Life eternal [see Luke 10:42; John 4:13], these are the good gifts that the Hearer of prayers, the Giver of all perfect gifts, will give unto those that pray for them unto Him.

And over and above this the assurance that there is “a Father's house in which are many mansions,” and that, when He that hath gone and prepared a place for us, He will receive us all unto Himself. And for our comfort in life, on the road to that “Father's house,” the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who shall lead us in truth [see John 14:2-6, 16-17].

Yet a Christian's life has its dark side too, it is principally man's work.

For those that walk with God, God's friends, God's pious ones, those who worship him in the Spirit and in Truth, are tried and purified, and often have received from God a thorn in the flesh; blessed shall we be, if we can repeat after our father, Paul: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, but now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things, and am I become, and God hath made me sorrowful yet always rejoicing.”

Write soon and give my regards to all acquaintances, and believe me

Your loving brother, Vincent

At this time, Vincent was 22 year old
Vincent van Gogh. Letter to Theo van Gogh. Written 27 September 1875 in Paris. Translated by Mrs. Johanna van Gogh-Bonger, edited by Robert Harrison, number .

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