So when we sing, 'Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,' we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.
Aiden Wilson Tozer
But 'nowhere' does not mean nothing; rather, region in general lies therein, and disclosedness of the world in general for essentially spatial being-in. Therefore, what is threatening cannot come closer from a definite direction within nearness, it is already 'there' - and yet nowhere. It is so near that it is oppressive and takes one's breath - and yet it is nowhere.
Warned by such evidences of their spiritual illness, believers profit by their humiliations. Robbed of their foolish confidence in the flesh, they take refuge in the grace of God. And when they have done so, they experience the nearness of the divine protection which is to them a strong fortress (Ps 30:6-7).
I, with millions of other Americans, have the same dream Martin Luther King Jr. had; when I wake up I wish some of the things I dreamt would be true. I wish that little black and white boys and girls would hold hands without being shocked at their nearness to each other and say in a natural way, "we have overcome.
In the immediate nearness of the gold, all else had been forgotten [... ], and I could not doubt that he hoped to seize upon the treasure, find and board the Hispanola under cover of night, cut every honest throat about that island, and sail away as he had at first intended, laden with crimes and riches.
Robert Louis Stevenson
The kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God on the earth will be combined together at Christ's coming - and that time is not far distant. How I wish we could get the vision of this work, the genius of it, and realize the nearness of that great event. I am sure it would have a sobering effect upon us if we realized what is before us.
Gordon B. Hinckley
It is not merely the likeness which is precious... but the association and the sense of nearness involved in the thing... the fact of the very shadow of the person lying there fixed forever! It is the very sanctification of portraits I think - and it is not at all monstrous in me to say that I would rather have such a memorial of one I dearly loved, than the noblest Artist's work ever produced.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Marriage is so unlike everything else. There is something even awful in the nearness it brings. Even if we loved someone else better than - than those we were married to, it would be no use. I mean, marriage drinks up all our power of giving or getting any blessedness in that sort of love. I know it may be very dear, but it murders our marriage, and then the marriage stays with us like a murder, and everything else is gone.
And yet and yet - the last secret of the tree of codes is that nothing can ever reach a definite conclusion. Nowhere as much as there do we feel possibilities shaken by the nearness of realization. The atmosphere becomes possibilities and we shall wander and make a thousand mistakes. We shall wander along yet not be able to understand.
Jonathan Safran Foer
The elevator doors had barely shut before Olivia's fingers were at the buckle of the belt cinching the waist of her trench dress. Drunk on his nearness, she ignored the security camera in the ceiling. It didn't mean a damn thing. Hell, who was she kidding? She was the wild Sweet triplet, the one voted most likely to do anything, and all she wanted to do right now was Mateo.
Margaret had always dreaded lest her courage should fail her in any emergency, and she should be proved to be, what she dreaded lest she was--a coward. But now, in this real great time of reasonable fear and nearness of terror, she forgot herself, and felt only an intense sympathy--intense to painfulness--in the interests of the moment.
Only by acknowledging the full extent of slavery's full grip on U.S. Society - its intimate connections to present day wealth and power, the depth of its injury to black Americans, the shocking nearness in time of its true end - can we reconcile the paradoxes of current American life.
Douglas A. Blackmon
Gazing around, looking up at the lofty pinnacles above, which seemed to pierce the sky, looking down upon the world, -it seemed the whole world, so limitless it stretched away at her feet, -feeling that infinite unspeakable sense of nearness to Heaven, remoteness from earth which comes only on mountain heights, she drew in a long breath of delight, and cried: "At last! at last, Alessandro! Here we are safe! This is freedom! This is joy!
Helen Hunt Jackson
Gazing around, looking up at the lofty pinnacles above, which seemed to pierce the sky, looking down upon the world,-\-\it seemed the whole world, so limitless it stretched away at her feet,-\-\feeling that infinite unspeakable sense of nearness to Heaven, remoteness from earth which comes only on mountain heights, she drew in a long breath of delight, and cried: "At last! at last, Alessandro! Here we are safe! This is freedom! This is joy!
Helen Hunt Jackson
And now, when Mother called to wake me up for the New Year, I first wanted to pray, but it turned into thanks, darling, for all that God had given us this year. For his wonderful ways with us, even if we don't understand it all now. For his love, that in all our disappointments and sorrow he himself helps us to bear it all, so that all this turns into a blessing because we feel his nearness and can take up our cross joyfully. And so we may know, and we do experience, that his power is made perfect in our weakness.
I can admire the solemn and stately language of worship that recognizes the greatness of God, but it will not warm my heart or express my soul until it has also blended therewith the joyful nearness of that perfect love that casts out fear and ventures to speak with our Father in heaven as a child speaks with its father on earth. My brother, no veil remains.
I see clearly that the thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. [...] The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules. The most important thing is the first proclamation: Jesus Christ has saved you.
Everything has two handles; the one soft and manageable, the other such as will not endure to be touched. If then your brother do you an injury, do not take it by the hot hard handle, by representing to yourself all the aggravating circumstances of the fact; but look rather on the soft side, and extenuate it as much as is possible, by considering the nearness of the relation, and the long friendship and familiarity between you--obligations to kindness which a single provocation ought not to dissolve. And thus you will take the accident by its manageable handle.
Friendship exhibits a glorious "nearness by resemblance" to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah's vision are crying "Holy, Holy, Holy" to one another (Isaiah VI, 3). The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.
C. S. Lewis
The world worlds, and is more fully in being than the tangible and perceptible realm in which we believe ourselves to be at home...By the opening up of a world, all things gain their lingering and hastening, their remoteness and nearness, their scope and limits. In a world's worlding is gathered that spaciousness out of which the protective grace of the gods is granted and withheld. Even this doom of the god remaining absent is a way in which the world worlds...All coming to presence...keeps itself concealed to the last.
High horns, low horns, silence, and finally a pandemonium of trumpets, rattles, croaks, and cries that almost shakes the bog with its nearness ... A new day has begun on the crane marsh. A sense of time lies thick and heavy on such a place ... Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language.
What I sought in books was imagination. It was depth, depth of thought and feeling; some sort of extreme of subject matter; some nearness to death; some call to courage. I myself was getting wild; I wanted wildness, originality, genius, rapture, hope. ... What I sought in books was a world whose surfaces, whose people and events and days lived, actually matched the exaltation of the interior life. There you could live.
When people quit talking to God, they quit talking to one another. And people who quit talking to God soon get very lonely and depressed. They are actually lonely for God, hungering for communion with Him, yearning for His close love and nearness; but instead of recognizing these needs as spiritual, they blame their lack of fulfillment on their husbands or wives.
I may be flying a complicated airplane, rushing through space, but in this cabin I'm surrounded by simplicity and thoughts set free of time. How detached the intimate things around me seem from the great world down below. How strange is this combination of proximity and separation. That ground - seconds away - thousands of miles away. This air, stirring mildly around me. That air, rushing by with the speed of a tornado, an inch beyond. These minute details in my cockpit. The grandeur of the world outside. The nearness of death. The longness of life.
The sunlight now lay over the valley perfectly still. I went over to the graveyard beside the church and found them under the old cedars... I am finding it a little hard to say that I felt them resting there, but I did. I felt their completeness as whatever they had been in the world. I knew I had come there out of kindness, theirs and mine. The grief that came to me then was nothing like the grief I had felt for myself alone... This grief had something in it of generosity, some nearness to joy. In a strange way it added to me what I had lost. I saw that, for me, this country would always be populated with presences and absences, presences of absences, the living and the dead. The world as it is would always be a reminder of the world that was, and of the world that is to come.
How many times have you struggled with the interpretation of certain Biblical texts related to the time of Jesus' return because they did not fit with a preconceived system of eschatology? Russell's Parousia takes the Bible seriously when it tells us of the nearness of Christ's return. Those who claim to interpret the Bible literally, trip over the obvious meaning of these time texts by making Scripture mean the opposite of what it unequivocally declares. Reading Russell is a breath of fresh air in a room filled with smoke and mirror hermeneutics.
Is America a land of God where saints abide for ever? Where golden fields spread fair and broad, where flows the crystal river? Certainly not flush with saints, and a good thing, too, for the saints sent buzzing into man's ken now are but poor-mouthed ecclesiastical film stars and clich?-shouting publicity agents. Their little knowledge bringing them nearer to their ignorance, ignorance bringing them nearer to death, but nearness to death no nearer to God.
Ibn Mas'ud said, "When 'Umar died nine-tenth of all knowledge vanished with him." The people were shocked and said, "How can this be when among us now are still many of the great companions?" Ibn Mas'ud replied, "I am not speaking of the knowledge of fiqh and the science of judgements, I'm speaking about the knowledge of Allah." This struggle of isolation, hunger, sleeplessness, weeping, fear and endless service to men was for this end. The journey is only for knowledge of Allah and the whole of it lies in detachment from everything that passes away. First from what is displeasing to Allah, then from one's self-illusion and desires, and then from all men and all otherness until there is only isolation and extreme nearness to Allah.
Khalid Muhammad Khalid
The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance, All our ignorance brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
T. S. Eliot
Fishing provides time to think, and reason not to. If you have the virtue of patience, an hour or two of casting alone is plenty of time to review all you've learned about the grand themes of life. It's time enough to realize that every generalization stands opposed by a mosaic of exceptions, and that the biggest truths are few indeed. Meanwhile, you feel the wind shift and the temperature change. You might simply decide to be present, and observe a few facts about the drifting clouds... Fishing in a place is a meditation on the rhythm of a tide, a season, the arc of a year, and the seasons of life... I fish to scratch the surface of those mysteries, for nearness to the beautiful, and to reassure myself the world remains. I fish to wash off some of my grief for the peace we so squander. I fish to dip into that great and awesome pool of power that propels these epic migrations. I fish to feel- and steal- a little of that energy.
She brought her elbow backward and connected with Rand's ribs. He swore and released her. She whirled on him. 'That's for being so arrogant!' Rand advanced on her, and the grin on his face wasn't at all reassuring. She took one step back, then turned to sprint into the bathroom, when a pair of hands caught her and slung her over a hard muscled shoulder. 'Put me down right now!' She screamed as she pummeled his back. 'You are the most annoying, selfish, barbaric, horny man I know, Rand Miller!' He set her back on her feet inside the bathroom, then cupped her chin in his palm. 'You are the most gorgeous, intelligent, feisty woman I know, Lucy Flemming.' Lucy narrowed her eyes. What was he up to now? 'Flattery won't help you out of this one.' 'It's not flattery. It's the truth, ' he murmured as he leaned close to her ear. 'And, baby?' 'Yes?' she answered, her voice nearly inaudible as his nearness began to override her anger. 'I'd better be the only horny man you know.
And I wonder, therefore, how James Atlas can have been so indulgent in his recent essay 'The Changing World of New York Intellectuals.' This rather shallow piece appeared in the New York Times magazine, and took us over the usual jumps. Gone are the days of Partisan Review, Delmore Schwartz, Dwight MacDonald etc etc. No longer the tempest of debate over Trotsky, The Waste Land, Orwell, blah, blah. Today the assimilation of the Jewish American, the rise of rents in midtown Manhattan, the erosion of Village life, yawn, yawn. The drift to the right, the rediscovery of patriotism, the gruesome maturity of the once iconoclastic Norman Podhoretz, okay, okay! I have one question which Atlas in his much-ballyhooed article did not even discuss. The old gang may have had regrettable flirtations. Their political compromises, endlessly reviewed, may have exhibited naivety or self-regard. But much of that record is still educative, and the argument did take place under real pressure from anti-semitic and authoritarian enemies. Today, the alleged 'neo-conservative' movement around Jeane Kirkpatrick, Commentary and the New Criterion can be found in unforced alliance with openly obscurantist, fundamentalist and above all anti-intellectual forces. In the old days, there would at least have been a debate on the proprieties of such a united front, with many fine distinctions made and brave attitudes struck. As I write, nearness to power seems the only excuse, and the subject is changed as soon it is raised. I wait for the agonised, self-justifying neo-conservative essay about necessary and contingent alliances. Do I linger in vain?