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5. Of the Psalter

Antiquities of the Christian Church
CHAPTER XI. Use of the Holy Scriptures in religious worship

5. Of the Psalter

The use of the psalter as a system of psalmody is an imitation of the synagogue and temple service. The usage is of great antiquity, and very general, both in the ancient and modern church. But the psalter also partook very much of the character of a symbolical book, and constituted an essential part of the liturgy of the church. It contains appropriate lessons for reading, and religious formularies, suited to the capacities of the youth and of the people generally. These, the clergy were required to commit to memory, and to explain. Such indeed was the consideration in which it was held, that it was styled the Bible in miniature, a manual of all sacred things, and a representative of the sacred Scriptures. Even in the dark ages, when men were denied the use of the Bible, the psalter was allowed to the laity generally. 

The psalms were very early introduced as a constituent part of religious worship, and were variously numbered and divided; sometimes into five books, corresponding to the books of Moses; and again they were arranged in different classes according to their character, as Hallelujah, Baptismal, Penitential Psalms, and many others.

Concil. Tolet. vii. c. 10: Concil. Nicaen. ii.:

Athauas. ad Marcell. torn. i. p. 959: Ambros. in Ps. Dav. praef. Opp. p. 1270.

Concil. Tolosat. A. D. 1129. c. 12: Hard. torn. ii. P. ii.

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