The Age of Early Church
Psalm-singing did not die with the apostles. We have books and books containing the writings of the early church fathers who lived in the centuries immediately after the apostles. Where are all the man-made hymns they composed and sang? One looks in vain. In fact, where hymns were to be found in the church they were composed by and worked their way in through Gnostic, Manichean, Apollinarian, Donatist, and Arian heretics as a vehicle for introducing heresy. For example, Bardesanes, a Gnostic of the second century, and his son Harmonius composed a songbook of 150 hymns to rival the Psalter of the 150 Psalms.
For private personal edification at home, at sea, and in the field, and especially for corporate worship, Christians sang psalms. Men like Tertullian (d. 230), Eusebius (d. 340), Athanasius (d. 373), Basil (d. 379), Ambrose (d. 397), Chrysostom (d. 407), Jerome (d. 420), and Augustine (d. 430) spoke of the church’s love for and universal use of the psalms. For example, Eusebius noted, “the command to sing Psalms in the name of the Lord was obeyed by everyone in every place; for the command to sing is in force in all churches which exist among nations, not only the Greeks but also throughout the whole world, and in towns, villages and in the fields.” Chrysostom famously stated:
All Christians employ themselves in David’s Psalms more frequently than in any other part of the Old or New Testament. The grace of the Holy Ghost hath so ordered it that they should be recited and sung every night and day. In the Church’s vigils, the first, the midst, and the last are David’s Psalms. In the morning David’s Psalms are sought for; and David is the first, the midst, and the last. At funeral solemnities, the first, the midst, and the last is David. Many who know not a letter can say David’s Psalms by heart. In private houses where virgins spin—in the monasteries—in the deserts, where men converse with God—the first, the midst, and the last is David. In the night, when men are asleep, he wakes them up to sing; and collecting the servants of God into angelic troops, turns earth into heaven, and of men makes angels, chanting David’s Psalms.
Surely it was love for the psalms and a conviction to maintain their unrivaled place in worship that led the Council of Laodicea (360) to forbid the introduction of hymns into the church. The great ecumenical Council of Chalcedon (451) confirmed this ruling. The early church was determined to sound Jehovah’s praise in psalms.
 Michael Bushell, Songs of Zion: The Biblical Basis for Exclusive Psalmody, 4th Edition (Norfolk, VA: Norfolk Press, 2011), p. 251.
 Cited in Terry Johnson, “The History of Psalm Singing in the Christian Church” in Joel R. Beeke and Anthony T. Selvaggio, eds., Sing a New Song: Recovering Psalm Singing for the Twenty-First Century (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2010), p. 45.
 Cited in Bushell, Songs of Zion, pp. 32-33.