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Abraham Clark was a patriot who signed the Declaration of Independence. When he signed that rebellious document, he knew and understood that it could mean his own death.

One night, a British officer announced, “We have captured your sons!” He was staggered at the news. The officer continued, “Your sons are prisoners of the Crown—locked away in the prison ship the Jersey. They will surely die there unless you repent of this foolish rebellion against the king!” Presenting Clark with a rolled up letter, the officer promised, “Sign this paper. Admit you were wrong, Mr. Clark, and your sons will go free.”

Abraham Clark’s mind was awash with thought burning at him. His sons were prisoners! They were innocent; they had done no wrong! He was the one who took the stand, made the rebellious act and defied the king. But not his sons.

“Shoot me!” he declared. “I’m the one you want! Shoot me and let my sons go free.”

“No, your sons will remain our prisoners until you sign this paper.” The British officer thrust the letter in his face. “This rebellion is a lost cause. You backwoods colonists can never stand against the power of the British Empire. Don’t be a fool,” he sneered. “Your sons’ lives—their freedom—is at stake.”

Suddenly, Clark knew what he must choose. It was for freedom’s sake that he took this stand for independence, so his sons could live free from tyranny and oppression, even if, in the end, they would die free. He refused to sign the letter, and the young officer could not persuade him to do so.—Michael Tait and Toby Mac in Living Under God.