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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

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

by
Thomas Vincent


LXXVIII. Ques. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
Ans.
The ninth commandment forbiddeth whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbour's good name.

Q. 1. What is more generally forbidden in this ninth commandment?
A. In this ninth commandment is more generally forbidden two things — 1. Whatsoever is prejudicial to truth. 2. Whatsoever is injurious to our own or our neighbour's good name.

Q. 2. What is forbidden in the ninth commandment, as prejudicial to truth?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth, as prejudicial to truth, — l. falsehood and lying whatsoever, whether it be lies to make mischief, as false accusation of others; or lies to make gain, as falsifying of our word, over-reaching our neighbours for advantage to ourselves; or lies to make wonder, as in the inventing of strange or false news; or lies to make sports, as in lying jests; or lies to make excuse, as in all lies for the covering of our own or others' faults. "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds." — Col. 3:9. "All liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone." — Rev. 21:8.

Q. 3. What doth the ninth commandment forbid, as injurious to our own good name?
A. The ninth commandment forbiddeth, as injurious unto our own good name — 1. The doing any thing which is justly of evil report, and may prejudice our reputation among men, such as committing adultery, theft, fraud, and any kind of baseness and wickedness, which is not only dishonourable unto God, but dishonourable unto ourselves. "Whoso coinmitteth adultery with a woman, lacketh understanding; a wound and dishonour shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away." — Prov. 6:32, 33. "Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear. — Now the Lord saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed." — l Sam. 2:24, 30. 2. All boasting and vain-glory, and that whether we boast of a false gift, or those gifts which we really have, whereby we really debase and render ourselves contemptible in the eyes of God, and of the more judicious Christians. "Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, behaveth not itself unseemly."— 1 Cor. 13:4, 5. "Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift, is like clouds and wind without rain."— Prov. 25:14. "Whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."— Matt. 23:12. 3. Bearing false witness against ourselves, in accusing ourselves in that wherein we are not guilty, and, by denying the gifts and graces which God hath given us, endeavouring to lessen our esteem, that thereby we might be numbered amongst those from whom we are through grace redeemed. "Let no man beguile you of your reward, in a voluntary humility."— Col. 2:18. 4. Unnecessary and imprudent discovery of all real infirmities, unto the scorn of the wicked and ungodly.

Q. 4. What doth the ninth commandment forbid, as injurious unto the good name of our neighbour?
A. The ninth commandment doth forbid, as injurious unto the good name of our neighbour— 1. Perjury, or false swearing and false accusations, or anywise bearing false witness ourselves, or suborning others to bear false witness against our neighbour. "Let none of you imagine evil in your hearts against your neighbour, and love no false oath; for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord."— Zech. 8:17. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come; for men shall be lovers of their themselves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good.''— 2 Tim. 3:1-3. "False witnesses did rise up; they laid to my charge things that I knew not."— Ps. 35:11. "A false witness shall not be unpunished; and he that speaketh lies shall not escape."— Prov. 19:5. "And they brought him to the council and set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place," &c.— Acts 6:12, 13. 2. Judging, evil-speaking, and rash censuring of our neighbours for doubtful or smaller matters, especially when we are guilty of the same or greater faults ourselves. "And they said, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live."— Acts 28:4. "Judge not, that ye be not judged. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" — Matt. 7:1, 3. "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things."— Rom. 2:1. "Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law; but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge."— James 4:11. 3. Scoffing, deriding, reviling, and reproachful speeches unto the face of our neighbours, and all backbiting of them, which may wound or detract from their due reputation. "Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother: thou slanderest thine own mother's son "— Ps. 50:19, 20. "Who shall dwell in thy holy hill? He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour." — Ps. 15:1, 3. "Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer among thy people."— Lev. 19:16. "And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also, speaking things which they ought not."— 1 Tim. 5:13. "Lest there be debates, envying; backbiting; whisperings, swellings, tumults."— 2 Cor. 12:20. 4. Raising or taking up evil reports against our neighbours, without good proof. "Thou shalt not raise a false report."— Exod. 23:1. "Nor take up a reproach against his neighbour." — Ps. 15:3. "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked." — Prov. 29:12.

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