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From this arrangement arose the idea of dividing the Psalter according to specially devised rules. Benedict was one of the earliest to set himself to this task, in the sixth century.
In his Rule he gives minute directions how, at that period, the psalms were to be distributed at the disposition of the abbot ; and he himself drew up such an arangement.
Some psalms, such as xxi, seem specially appropriate to the Passion.
In this connection it may be pointed out that in this sense the word, as it is used nowadays, is illogical; it should be named a Plenarium rather than a Breviarium , since, liturgically speaking, the word Plenarium exactly designates such books as contain several different compilations united under one cover.
This is pointed out, however, simply to make still clearer the meaning and origin of the word; and section V will furnish a more detailed explanation of the formation of the Breviary.
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.