Greater Love Hath No Man

Greater Love Hath No Man
by April Heki

2007 Essay Contest Winning Essay
Category III, ages 19+

After much deliberation and debate, the time was upon the members of the 2nd Continental Congress to make the decision between loyalty to Great Britain or declaring America an independent nation. The delegates had agreed that this undertaking, being of such great importance, should only be done with unanimous consent. New York was abstaining but all the other colonies were in favor of independence, that is, all except Delaware. The two delegates present were split, Thomas McKeen in favor of the act of declaring independence and George Read in opposition. The vote of the state of Delaware and ultimately the fate of the nation lay in the hands of one man, Caesar Rodney.

Mr. Rodney, attending to loyalist uprisings at the time, received word from McKeen on July 1, 1776 of the gravity of their situation. Rodney immediately set out for Philadelphia, riding all through the night of the first and into the morning of the second. He arrived at the Pennsylvania Statehouse, haggard from the exertion of his eighty mile journey through rain and thunder and the toll it had taken on his already failing health, in time to cast the deciding vote for independence.

Caesar Rodney’s declaration was wrought with conviction, dedication and courage. It is believed he stated, “As I believe the voice of my constituents and of all sensible and honest men is in favor of independence, my own judgment concurs. I vote for independence.”

The delegates of the thirteen colonies had unanimously come to the decision to absolve “from all Allegiance to the British Crown” and declare America the right to be “Free and Independent States.” Not a one in the assembly of delegates gathered to make the crucial decision to abdicate from the rule of their mother country was ignorant of the consequences thereof. All knew that such an action was akin to signing their own death warrant.

But yet, at the same time, they knew that their attempt at liberty was not in vain. They would fight and if they prevailed, would indeed obtain the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

But what of this man Rodney? He who had just opted to cut off all ties from the mother country had, in so doing, cut off his only hope for his own life. For he was being consumed by the ravages of face cancer and his only hope lay in treatment in England.

“With a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence,” Rodney joined the others in mutually pledging “our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor,” and in so doing, pledged his life unto death.

He understood and applied in regard to freedom what the Lord taught in His Holy Word: “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you. Greater love has no one that this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

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