I ran across a link to a Thomas Watson (d. 1686) essay on the Ninth Commandment
. What I find interesting is how this 17th century Christian writer noted that through our silence we can also slander someone. We need to have the courage to stand up for those falsy accused, even when remaining silent would be easier, or better for us. Good stuff to consider.
The mandatory part of the commandment implied is that we stand up for others and vindicate them when they are injured by lying lips. This is the sense of the commandment, not only that we should not slander falsely or accuse others; but that we should witness for them, and stand up in their defence, when we know them to be traduced.
A man may wrong another as well by silence as by slander, when he knows him to be wrongfully accused, yet does not speak in his behalf. If others cast false aspersions on any, we should wipe them off.
When the apostles were filled with the wine of the Spirit, and were charged with drunkenness, Peter openly maintained their innocence. ‘These are not drunken, as ye suppose.’ Acts 2: 15.
Jonathan knowing David to be a worthy man, and all those things Saul said of him to be slanders, vindicated him. ‘David has not sinned against thee; his works have been to thee-ward very good. Wherefore then wilt thou sin against innocent blood, to slay David without a cause?’ 1 Sam 19: 4, 5.
When the primitive Christians were falsely accused for incest, and killing their children, Tertullian wrote a famous apology in their vindication.
This is to act the part both of a friend and of a Christian, to be an advocate for another, when he is wronged in his good name.