The Charm of the Chapel

The Charm of the Chapel

The Charm of the Chapel

The Charm of the Chapel

Excerpt

The Chapel whose charm this book depicts is a particular building on a particular campus, but its charm is universal. Its appeal to the universal heart of mankind is as valid as the procedures of science in studying the stars or as the heart throb of humanity in a James Whitcomb Riley poem. James Whitcomb Riley poem.

Science passes from the particular to the universal. Einstein's theory of relativity states that wherever you are in the Universe, whatever your environment, the same mathematical equations will suffice to describe your observations. suffice to describe your observations. The principle of relativity is simply a statement that our local results do indeed have universal validity. Thus theoretical astronomy, for instance, discovers properties of matter, and then reckons that matter in a remote star a billion years ago behaved in basically the same way as matter does today on the earth.

If we pass from science to the humanities, from the material to the spiritual realm, we find that the distinguishing mark of art is its ability to clothe the particular with universality, and the insignificant with significance. The universal element is reason transfigured, reason on fire, reason radiant at every point. This means an enlargement of spiritual boundaries; an escape from narrowness, and prejudice, and littleness.

James Whitcomb Riley is the poet laureate of the American heart because he was able to dig out of the soil of his native Indiana the gold of true poetry. He sang his sweetest songs of the simple, commonplace things that he daily saw and felt. Others might have journeyed to romantic, historic, or classical haunts to find some poetic nugget; but Riley revealed the inner harmony of common things, and made known the musical idea which nature has dressed up in her often rough habiliments. His poetry is an uninterrupted voluntary of the heart. It is the application of ideas to life. The responsive tenderness of his heart has won lettered and unlettered . . .

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