To Theo van Gogh. Dordrecht, on or about Tuesday, 6 March 1877.
When the Lord’s Supper is next celebrated here I’ll attend it, you should do the same in The Hague, let us go as true participants in the Lord’s Supper.
And take this piece of rye bread too, and eat it, as I do, with our thoughts turned toward our Father’s house and to the things we heard and saw there.
And believe me
Your most loving and affectionate brother
And pray: Lord, bless this food!
Herewith Ecce Homo, send me Mater Dolorosa. Adieu, old boy, a handshake in thought.
To Theo van Gogh. Dordrecht, Thursday, 8 March 1877.
God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape.
Let none of these things move thee.
My dear Theo,
Thanks for your letter, be of good heart, and He shall strengthen thine heart. Today I received a long letter from home in which Pa asked me if it would suit us both to go to Amsterdam next Sunday to visit Uncle Cor. If it’s all right with you, then I’ll come to you in The Hague on Saturday evening on the train that arrives a few minutes after 11, and in the morning we’ll take the first train to Amsterdam and stay till evening.
We ought to do it, Pa seems very keen on the idea, then we’ll be together again next Sunday. It is possible, isn’t it, for me to stay with you that night? Otherwise I’ll go to the Toelast. Write a postcard now if you agree, let us stick close together.
Herewith a few words for Uncle Cor, add something to it if you like. It’s already late, this afternoon I took a walk, because I felt such a need to, first around the Grote Kerk, then the Nieuwe Kerk, and then up onto the dyke where all those mills are that one sees in the distance if one walks along the railway tracks. There is so much in that singular landscape and vicinity that speaks and seems to say ‘be of good courage, fear not’.
There are days in one’s life when all members suffer because one member suffers, and where there is true ‘godly sorrow,’ God is not far, He who will hold us. If we believe that, let us, in those days, fervently desire and ask for things we should like to see happen, that we might also be heard. Would you also ask for me that a way be found for me to devote my life, more so than is now the case, to the service of Him and the gospel? I continue to insist and I believe that I’ll be heard, I say this in all humility and bowing myself down, as it were. It is such an import and such a difficult matter, and yet I desire it. One might say it isn’t humanly possible, but if I think about it more seriously and delve beneath the surface of what is humanly impossible, then truly my soul waiteth upon God, for it is possible for Him who speaks, and it is done, who commands, and it stands, and it stands fast. O Theo, Theo, old boy, if only it might happen to me and that deluge of downcastness about everything which I undertook and failed at, that torrent of reproaches I’ve heard and felt, if it might be taken away from me and if I might be given the opportunity and the strength and the love required to develop and to persevere and to stand firm in that for which my Father and I would offer the Lord such heartfelt thanks. A handshake in thought and regards to everyone at the Rooses’, ask it for me in this thy day, and believe me
Your most loving brother