321. THE EIGHTH COMMANDMENT.
THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.
"Bearing false witness against the neighbor," or testifying falsely, means, in the natural sense nearest to the letter, to act the part of a false witness before a judge, or before others not in a court of justice, against one who is rashly accused of any evil, and to support the accusation by the name of God or anything else that is holy or by one's personal influence and the strength of his personal reputation. In a wider natural sense this commandment forbids all kinds of lies and hypocrisies in civil life which look to an evil end; also traducing and defaming the neighbor, to the injury of his honor, name, and fame, on which the man's whole character depends. In the widest natural sense, the commandment forbids plots, cunning devices, and premeditated evils against anyone, which spring from various sources, as enmity, hatred, revenge, envy, emulation, and the like. For these evils conceal within them the bearing of false witness.