This resource covers the character of the age of the Church Fathers and the history of Psalmody in the early ages of the church after the Apostles.
Statements related to this issue from Pliny, Tertullian, Jerome, Cyril, Augustine, Cassian, Chrysostom, the Apostolic Constitutions and others are all included, set in their context and commented on (from the Latin).
Interestingly, Gilbert M'Master writes,
"The truth is, fifty years after the death of the Apostles had not passed by, when the church they had planted with so much purity, and fostered with so much care, exhibited an aspect very different from what it did before. The historian Hegesippus, of the second century, pronounced the virgin purity of the church to have been confined to the Apostolic age.
Jerome, of the fourth century, testifies that the 'primitive church was tainted with gross errors while the Saviour's blood was yet warm in Judea.' In the following periods the depravity increased. God, indeed, had still his hidden ones, and in their hearts and hands his own cause was preserved; yet the picture of the times is drawn, on the page of history, in dark colours.
Keeping this in recollection, it may, nevertheless, be interesting to know their matter and modes of worship. And as a somewhat imposing display of research into the early practice of the church, on the subject of Psalmody, has by various writers been made, it may not be inexpedient to inquire, how far their representations of that practice and the inferences they drew from it, are entitled to our confidence."
This book is "Letter II" in Gilbert M'Master's, An Apology For the Book of Psalms, In Five Letters; Addressed To the Friends of Union In the Church of God.
'There was no charity in works, no discipline in manners. 'The practice of such periods can go but a little way in the settlement of controversies respecting divine institutions. For satisfaction, as to the appointments of God, we must rest, not on the practice of the Fathers, but on the records of inspired truth.
'Monstrous attempts were made, in that century, to reconcile falsehood with truth, light with darkness' (Mosheim, I. 174). In this age originated a bewildering mysticism, an idle monkish seclusion from the relations and duties of active life, and a multiplication of superstitious innovations, which cast a veil of darkness over the truth, substituting for the simplicity of the gospel an unseemly mixture of truth and error.