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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 77. What is required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment requires the maintaining and promoting of truth between man and man, and of our own and our neighbour's good name, especially in witness-bearing.

1. Is it our duty to govern our tongues? Yes: I said, I will take heed to my ways that I sin not with my tongue, Ps. 39:1. Is he a good Christian that does not? No: for if any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, that man's religion is vain, James 1:26. Must we therefore pray to God to keep us from tongue-sins? Yes: Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, Ps. 141:3.

2. Is it our duty to speak truth? Yes: Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour, Zech. 8:16. Is there good reason for it? Yes: for we are members one of another, Eph. 4:25. And is this the character of a good man? Yes: that he speaketh the truth in his heart, Ps. 15:2. Are all truths to be spoken at all times: No: for there is a time to keep silence, and a time to speak, Eccl. 3:7. But may an untruth be spoken at any time? No: for God's people are children that will not lie, Isa. 63:8.

3. Is it our duty, especially in witness-bearing, to speak truth? Yes: for a faithful witness will not lie, Prov. 14:5. And the whole truth? Yes: Samuel told Eli every whit, and hid nothing from him, 1 Sam. 3:18. And nothing but the truth? Yes: for a lying tongue is but for a moment, Prov. 12:19.

4. Is it our duty to strive to have a good name with God? Yes: for not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth, 2 Cor. 10:16. And should we endeavour to have a good name with good people? Yes: Let those that fear thee turn unto me, Ps. 119:79. And if possible a good name with all people? Yes: Demetrius hath a good report of all men, 3 John 12. Must we abound in those things that are of good report? Yes: if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on those things, Phil. 4:8.

5. In order to our getting a good name must we live by faith? Yes: for by it the elders obtained a good report, Heb. 11:2. Must we walk wisely? Yes: for a man's wisdom makes his face to shine, Eccl. 8:1. Must we do justly? Yes: Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles, 1 Pet. 2:12. And be humble? Yes: for before honour is humility, Prov. 18:12. And must we abound in good works? Yes: Let your light so shine before men, Matt. 5:16. But can good people expect to have everyone's good word? No: Woe unto you when all men speak well of you, Luke 6:26. May we hazard a good conscience to preserve our reputation? No: for our praise is not of men, but of God, Rom. 2:29.

6. Ought we to be very tender of the good names of others? Yes: we must honour all men, 1 Pet. 2:17. Must we give them the praise of that in them which is good? Yes: We also bear record, 3 John 12. But may we flatter them? No: he that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail, Job 17:5. Must we charitably conceal their faults? Yes: for charity covers a multitude of sins, 1 Pet. 4:8. Must we discourage slandering and censoriousness? Yes: we must with an angry countenance drive away a backbiting tongue, Prov. 25:23.

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