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The president of the choir chose a particular psalm at his own will.

It consists of 150 psalms, divided in a particular way, to be described later.

In any case, the Roman arrangement of the Psalter reaches back to a hoary antiquity, at least to the seventh or eighth century, since when it has not undergone any alteration. Psalms i-cviii are recited at Matins, twelve a day; but Sunday Matins have six more psalms divided between the three nocturns.

Thus: The psalms omitted in this series, namely, iv, v, xxi-xxv, xlii, l, liii, lxii, lxiv, lxvi, lxxix-xcii, and xciv, are, on account of their special aptitude, reserved for Lauds, Prime, and Compline.

These psalms formed the groundwork of the Liturgy of the Jews for twelve centuries before Christ, and He certainly made use of these formularies for His prayers, and quoted them on several occasions.

The Apostles followed His example, and handed down to the Christian Churches the inheritance of the Psalter as the chief form of Christian prayer.

But this form of devotion, apart from lessons and other formularies, occupied so much time that they began to spread the recitation of the entire Psalter over a whole week.

By this method each day was divided into hours, and each hour had its own portion of the Psalter.

A glance at the above tables will show that, broadly speaking, the Roman Church did not attempt to make any skilful selection of the psalms for daily recitation.