Do no wrong to their names; next to their persons this is to be valued. A slanderer is worse than a thief; the one is publicly odious, but the other robs us of our better treasure, and more conducible to our usefulness for God than wealth, “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches,” (Proverbs 22:1). A wrong done to the estate is sooner repaired than a wrong done to the name of others, for a reproach divulged is hardly recalled; when the wound is cured, yet the scar remains; and therefore this is a very great evil to do wrong to their names; especially when you reproach the godly, and do wrong to them, because their discredit lights upon religion. God is much concerned in the credit and honour of his servants. You hinder their service, and lay them open to the rage of the world. A blemished instrument is of little use.
“Were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses? (Numbers 12:8). To speak against persons eminent and useful for God in their age is to render them suspected to the world; and who would drink of a suspected fountain? You hinder their use and serviceableness. And the wrong is greater when one Christian blemisheth another, for one scholar to speak against another, and one lawyer against another; so for one Christian to speak against another, it aggravates the injury. Therefore, when there is cause to speak against a man, it should be with grief.
– Thomas Manton