The Manifoldness of Beauty
Psalm 104:24-30
O LORD, how manifold are your works! in wisdom have you made them all: the earth is full of your riches.…

To those who have eyes to see, the works of God are instinct with delicate and intensest beauty, and the subtlest blasphemy against high Heaven is that which speaks of God's world as "a waste howling wilderness." Whether it be in the infinitely great or the infinitely little, this is one of the outstanding characteristics of nature, this the one thing that puts an arrest upon human thought and challenges human admiration. Before the gorgeous splendour of midnight stars, and the fastidious delicacy of a pencilled butterfly's wing, before the majesty of a planet's orbit and the graceful curve of a sea-gull's flight, before the infinite grandeur of tumultuous waters and the rare grace of a sensitive flower, the mind of man, with a stoop which is uplifting, bows as in the presence of beauty, whose face is unveiled and whose glory is discovered. That is the one arrestive splendour, that the continually insistent note. And our conception of this beauty is enhanced and its profound suggestiveness increased by a consideration of its manifoldness, the almost bewildering variety of its fascinating forms. Nowhere in the wide realm of beauty is this infinite variety more obvious, more pleasing, more full of subtle power than among the flowers. There is a beauty in the pomp of crowded rose-bush, as well as in the snowdrop, the first frail prophecy of coming spring. Sweet violets, fit symbols of virtues that are not noisy and aggressive, touch our hearts with the same power as the opulent wealth of the "laburnum's dropping gold." Delicate daffodils, bending like sweet nuns in breathless adoration, hold our hearts with the same magic strength as stately lilies robed in a glory which surpasses that of kings. Beauty is everywhere, but it is beauty wrought into infinite diversity of lovely forms, and by its very manifoldness widening and deepening its appeal, giving to its voice a deeper note, and to its splendour a more ravishing charm. And this great fact not only holds rare suggestions for character, but is full of vast implications — it is instinct with noble teachings for life. In the world of soul God is not a God of uniformity. Each man has his own temperament and tastes and dispositions, each has had his own cross and temptation and conflict, each has his own grace and combination of graces, and every true man is himself, and no other. In all that there is a profound suggestion of individuality. Every good man, by the tender grace of God, is to develop his life into the beauty of Jesus, according to its kind. Let not the violet quarrel with the rose, nor the rich peony mock the whiteness of the narcissus: each has its own grace, its own power, and its own appeal.

(G. B. Austin.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

WEB: Yahweh, how many are your works! In wisdom have you made them all. The earth is full of your riches.

The Apparent Intentions of Divine Wisdom
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