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Westminster Shorter Catechism Project

A Scripture Catechism
in the
Method of the Assembly's

by Matthew Henry

Q. 78 What is forbidden in the ninth commandment?
A. The ninth commandment forbids whatsoever is prejudicial to truth, or injurious to our own or our neighbour's good name.

1. Is lying a great sin? Yes: Lie not one to another, seeing ye have put off the old man, Col. 3:9. Is it a sin that God hates? Yes: lying lips are abomination to the Lord, Prov. 12:22. And is it a sin that all good men hate? Yes: I hate and abhor lying, Ps. 119:163. Does it make men like the devil? Yes: for he is a liar, and the father of it, John 8:44. And will it bring them to hell? Yes: for all liars shall have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, Rev. 21:8.

2. Is it lawful to tell a lie to make sport? No: for as a madman who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, so is he that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport? Prov. 26:18, 19. Is it lawful to tell a lie to excuse a fault? No: for Gehazi for doing so had a leprosy entailed on him and his seed for ever, 2 Kings 5:27. May we tell a lie with intention to do good? No: We must not do evil, that good may come, Rom. 3:8. Will what is got by lying do us any good? No: The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is vanity, tossed to and fro of them that seek death, Prov. 21:6. Should we therefore pray against this sin? Yes: Remove from me the way of lying, Ps. 119:29.

3. Is it a sin to belie ourselves? Yes: As there is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great riches, Prov. 13:7. May we be careless of our own good name? No: If I should say I know him not, I should be a liar like unto you, John 8:55.

4. Is it a sin to belie our neighbour? Yes: They laid to my charge things that I know not, Ps. 35:11. Is it folly? Yes: He that uttereth slander is a fool, Prov. 10:18. Is it a sin to speak evil of any? Yes: Put them in mind to speak evil of no man, Tit. 3:1,2. And to be censorious of our brethren? Yes: Judge not, that ye be not judged, Matt. 7:1. Is it a great offence to God to do this? Yes: He that speaks evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaks evil of the law, and judgeth the law, James 4:11. Does it make us like the devil? Yes: for he is the accuser of the brethren, Rev. 12:10.

5. Is it a sin to raise a false report? Yes: Thou shalt not raise a false report, Exod. 23:1. And a sin to spread it? Yes: Thou shalt not go up and down as a tale-bearer, Lev. 19:16. May we proclaim our brothers' faults? No: for charity rejoiceth not in iniquity, 1 Cor. 13:6. Is it a sin to speak ill of magistrates? Yes: Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people, Acts 23:5. Is it a sin to be abusive to the poor? Yes: for he that mocketh the poor, reproacheth his Maker, Prov. 17:5. May we speak ill of those who speak ill of us? No: We must not render railing for railing, 1 Pet. 3:9.

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