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without fear or hesitation, without equivocating or dissembling; to love and desire to attain a knowledge of religious truth, and to propagate it by all consistent methods; to adhere steadfastly to it, when we do know it;-to use the gift of speech to the purposes for which it was bestowed, to the bonour of God, by setting forth his praises, and promoting the cause of his true religion-to the benefit of man, by affording him spiritual counsel and consolation, by exhorting to righteousness and dissuading from evil, by not omitting any fit opportunity to contribute by good words to his temporal benefit and happiness :-desire and study to preserve our own and our neighbour's reputation ; in the first place, to use every laudable endeavour to es. tablish and to confirm our own good name by striving to deserve the favourable opinion which others may be inclined to form of our character and qualifications, by keeping the testimony of a good conscience,-by avoiding even the appearance of evil, -by doing well, not in order that we may be seen of men, and be rewarded with their praise, but that we may be approved of God; and if men, seeing our good deeds, should on account of them glorify God and esteem us for the work's sake, by being justly thankful that we reap a double recompense, and by employing it as an encouragement to still greater exertion for the future ;-by disdaining all bypocritical semblance of qualities which we do not possess, and all sinister means of seeking a reputation, which we do not merit;
by being diffident of our abilities, and open to wise counsel and friendly reproof;-by neither imputing to ourselves imperfections and sins of which we are not conscious, and exaggerating the corruption to which we know ourselves to be subject, nor denying those
transgressions of which we are really guilty, when. ever there is a necessity or fit,occasion to confess them ;-by neither rejecting just commendation for the valuable qualities and powers with which it bas pleased God to bless us, nor vain-gloriously boasting of possessing them, as if they were derived from our own will, and depended wholly upon our own un. assisted faculties. We are, in the next place, called upon to shew regard for our neighbour's fame and credit, by avoiding and discouraging all false reports, and all prejudicial stories and insinuations, though they may be founded in truth ;-by hiding his fail. ings and infirmities, throwing a veil over his weaknesses and faults, and disclosing no more of his vices and his shame than is required for the purpose of his own amendment, of warning to others, or of public justice ;-by judging charitably of all, and putting the best construction on words and actions of which they will admit;-by being willing and anxious to hear and to believe favourable reports, and to disa countenance and disbelieve, if possible, unfavourable ones ;-by rejoicing in the honour and fame of others, and lamenting any disparagement of their credit ;by taking every opportunity to raise our neighbour in general esteem, if his good qualities be not duly estimated, or his less estimable ones be over-rated.
$3. The prohibition, " Thou shalt not bear false witness," as it is applicable to legal questions, and public testimony, forbids the judge to pronounce a basty or iniquitous sentence, to mis-state the law, or to refuse to listen to the evidence before him,--the jury, to disregard their oaths, and give a malevolent or partial verdict,--plaintiffs, to be actuated by a
spirit of contention or revenge, to take unfair advan. tage, use dishonest means, suborn witnesses, or at. tempt to pervert judgment in order to gain their cause,-defendauts, to conceal the truth, or resist legal authority, lawyers, to undertake disreputable causes, or to conduct their pleadings with falsehood, or with treachery,—witnesses, to withhold, misrepresent, or garble the truth, to give false evidence, to allow bribery, personal feelings, or interest, to affect their testimony.
The general sins forbidden, arem-Falsehood or Lying-to say what is not true, or to speak the truth, with intent to deceive,--to speak as we do not think, whether it be really truth or falsehood ;-to utter lies even in jest, without any injurious design, but simply to deceive, for they violate the sacredness of truth, and blunt the sense of the sinfulness of falsehood ;-to make use of lies in order to promote our own or our neighbour's advantage ;-to extenuate or conceal a fault, which, for the same reasons, is not allowable ;-to indulge a habit of lying without any immediate object, for the sake of vanity, or through
e collectie word die sake full ve the force of an idle and disgraceful custom, to which no limit can be placed,- for one lie certainly begets another ;-to falsify facts in writings of any descrip. tion, or in oral converse, except it be in works. avowedly fictitious and imaginary, composed for instruction or amusement, in tales or parables, which are not intended to be received as statements of facts, but are acknowledged fictions, representations, or similitudes, put into the form of true histories, the better to convey information or advice ;—to exaggerate the truth-except in the poetical use of hyperbolical or figurative language, and then only when it
truply to deceist, without
may not lead to misconception ;--to speak the truth unseasonably, or when it may be attended with ill consequences ; for this is a breach of charity ;-on the other hand, to withbold or deny the truth, when we are called upon to avow it, or when the declara. tion of it may be of advantage, either spiritually or temporally, to our neighbour, or ourselves ; - dissimu: lation to say or pretend one thing, and to mean another; irreligious, immoral, mischievous, and unprofitable conversation, which obviously offends against both truth and charity;-talkativeness, or the love of chattering; for a tongue that is always employed, can scarcely be always well employed, and want of reflection, the source of loquacity, as frequently leads to the transgression of the Ninth Com. mandment, as malevolence ;-disregard of our own good name, or neglect of any thing which may establish and support it, or shield it from unjust aspersion ;-all: open or secret sin, which either directly or indirectly will be visited with disgrace will sooner or later destroy the fairest character ;-affected hu. mility, or the seeking of praise by a false appearance of modesty; and, on the contrary, empty pride, or the boasting of ourselves beyond measure or with. out reason ;-bragging of things which are a dishonour rather than an honour to us, as daring inpiety, or successful vice;~exalting our own gifts or qualities in order to induce a comparison to the disadvantage of our neighbour ;-detraction—the desire and endeavour to diminish the credit of our neigh. bour's virtries, and to scrutinize and expose his faults; an aggravated offence, as it betrays a base and dis.. ingenuous spirit, as it is little liable to confutation, as it is often clothed in the garb, of zeal for religion, and
assumes the hypocritical appearance of candour and justice, as it manifests an extreme acuteness of sense with regard to the errors and sins of others, but an utter blindness to our own; the very reverse of that blessed system of charity and truth, which teaches us to be most vigilant in the detection of our own failings, and to avert our eye from those of other men;
calumny or slander--the wilfully inventing or propagating of false reports, which tend to bring disgrace or infamy on others, but which as often injure the author and disseminator as the subject, by recoil. ing with increased violence on the slanderer, and thus proving destructive of a good name, though not of the one designed ;-harsh and uncharitable judge ment of the words and deeds of others, putting the worst interpretation upon them of which they will admit, rather than the best ;-fattery--the attributing of merit which is not due, or the extravagant extolling of what is really good, with a view which is either dishonest or ridiculous ;-abusiveness,—implying unbecoming, intemperate, or railing and reproach. ful language,—which, if not unjust in its imputation, and false in its expression, is at least uncharitable or malicious.
$4. The virtues and duties which most effectually gua. rantee a right use of the tongue, are-Love and goodwill towards all mankind, even towards our bitterest enemies ;-prayer to God that it may please him to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts ;-firmness and integrity in not allowing any argument or motive to deter us from gaying whatever we are bound by Christian principle to say;--true humility--the having no desire to elevate