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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

The Shorter Catechism
of the Westminster Assembly
Explained and Proved
from Scripture

Thomas Vincent

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

Q. 1. Wherein doth this ninth commandment differ from the sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments?
A. This ninth commandment doth differ from the sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments, in that the sixth commandment doth respect our own and our neighbour's life; the seventh commandment doth respect our own and our neighbour's chastity; the eighth commandment doth respect our own and our neighbour's wealth and outward estate; but this ninth commandment doth respect our own and our neighbour's good name.

Q. 2. What is more generally required in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment doth more generally require the maintaining and promoting truth between man and man.

Q. 3. How ought we to maintain and promote truth between man and man?
A. We ought to maintain and promote truth between man and man, by speaking the very truth to and of one another, and that from the heart. "These are the things that ye shall do, Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour; execute the judgment of truth and peace in your gates." — Zech. 8:16. "Wherefore putting away all lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another." — Eph. 4:25. "Lord, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart." — Ps. 15:1, 2.

Q. 4. What doth the ninth commandment more particularly require, in reference unto our own and others' good name?
A. The ninth commandment doth more particularly require, in reference unto our own and others' good name, the maintaining and promoting thereof; especially in witness-bearing.

Q. 5. How ought we to maintain and promote our own good name?
A. We ought to maintain and promote our own good name by deserving it, and defending it.

Q. 6. how may we deserve a good name?
A. Although we can deserve nothing in the sight of God, yet we may deserve a good name in the sight of men, by being good, and by doing good.

Q. 7. What is that which we may be and do that we may deserve a good name amongst men?
A. That we may deserve a good name amongst men, we must be holy, humble, harmless, wise, loving, patient, meek, just, righteous, sober, chaste, true, honest, and every way gracious and virtuous, as to our inward dispositions and affections; our conversations also, and actions, must be correspondent, doing always those things which be praise-worthy and of good report. "Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; having a good conscience: that whereas they speak evil of you, as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ." — 1 Pet. 3:15, 16. "That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world " — Phil. 2:15. "A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine." — Eccles. 8:1. "Put on therefore (as the elect of God, holy and beloved), bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering." — Col. 3:12. "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things which ye have both learned and received, and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace shall be with you." — Phil. 4:8, 9.

Q. 8. How may we defend our good name?
A. We may defend our good name— 1. By clearing ourselves from the false aspersions, and vindicating our innocency against the false accusations, of our adversaries. "I do the more cheerfully answer for myself; that thou mayest understand that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem, and they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogue, nor in the city; neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me." — Acts 24:10-13. 2. By speaking sometimes in commendation of ourselves, when there is need only, aid that very sparingly, modestly, humbly, and unwillingly, always abasing ourselves, giving God all the glory for anything in ourselves which is praiseworthy. "I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you, for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing." — 2 Cor. 12:11. "By the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed on me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me." — 1 Cor. 15:10.

Q. 9. Who ought especially to maintain and promote their good name?
A. All ought to maintain and promote their good name, especially all believers and professors of religion; chiefly magistrates, and such unto whom public trust is committed; and ministers, unto whom is committed the charge of souls. "In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to speak of you. Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." — Tit. 2:7-10.

Q. 10. Why ought all to maintain and promote their own good name?
A. All ought to maintain and promote their own good name — 1. Because it is for the glory of God, which is the duty of all principally to aim at, and to design their own honour only in subordination hereunto. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works., and glorify your Father which is in heaven." — Matt. 5:16. "Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, whereas they speak against you as evil-doers, they may, by your good works which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation." — 1 Pet. 2:12. 2. Because a good name is precious, and rendereth men the more useful one to another, causing mutual love unto, and confidence in one another, whereby their mutual concernments and advantage, both civil and spiritual, are exceedingly promoted. "A good name is better than precious ointment." — Eccles. 7:1. "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold." — Prov. 22:1.

Q. 11. What doth the ninth commandment require of us, in reference to the good name of our neighbour?
A. The ninth commandment requireth of us, in reference unto the good name of our neighbour, the maintaining and promoting thereof as our own, and that both in regard of ourselves and in regard of others.

Q. 12. How ought we to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in regard of ourselves?
A. We ought to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in regard of ourselves — 1. By looking unto, and having a due esteem of, the worth and the good things which are in them. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." — Phil. 2:4. "Esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake." — 1 Thess. 5:13. 2. By liking, and loving, and desiring, and giving thanks to God for their good name and fame. "I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." — Rom. 1:8. 3. By a ready receiving a good report concerning them, and rejoicing therein. "I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came, and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth." — 3 John 3. "Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth." — 1 Cor. 13:6. 4. By deafening the ear against and discouraging talebearers, backbiters, slanderer; who speak evil of their neighbours. "That taketh not up a reproach against his neighbour." — Ps. 15:3. "The north wind driveth away rain; so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue." — Prov. 25:23. 5. By grieving at their faults, which expose them unto disgrace, with desires and endeavours to promote their amendment and the recovery of their reputation. "For, out of much affliction and anguish of heart, I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you." — 2 Cor. 2:4.

Q. 13 How ought we to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in reference unto others?
A. We ought to maintain and promote our neighbour's good name, in reference unto others — 1. By giving that honour unto them which is their due, speaking well of them behind their backs, freely acknowledging their gifts and graces, and good things, and preferring them in honour before ourselves. " Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king." — 1 Pet. 2:17. " Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the truth itself: yea, and we also bear record, and ye know that our record is true." — 3 John 12. "I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; that in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; so that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." — 1 Cor. 1:4, 5, 7. " Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another." — Rom. 12:10. " Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory, but, in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves." — Phil. 2: 3. 2. ;By defending their reputation and good name, in endeavours to prevent or stop any evil or false report concerning them, and to vindicate them so far as we can; especially when we are called before a magistrate to bear witness to their innocency, so far as it is consistent with truth. "Then Ahimelech answered the king, and said, And who is so faithful among all thy servants as David, who is the king's son-in-law, and goeth at thy bidding, and is honourable in thine house?" — 1 Sam. 22:14. 3. By concealing and covering their faults and infirmities when we may, with unwillingness to expose them unto disgrace; and, in the spirit of meekness, endeavouring to restore them when they are overtaken and fallen into sin. "Charity shall cover the multitude of sins." — 1 Pet. 4:8. "Joseph, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately." — Matt. 1:19. "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." — Gal. 6:1. 4. By reproving them before others only when there is need, and that with a respect unto their condition, and remembrance of what is praise-worthy in them. "If thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more," &c. — Matt. 18:15, 16. "I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience," &c. "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee," &c. — Rev. 2:2, 4.

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