A marvelous illustration of sacrificial love and atonement is found in Charles Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, where Sidney Carton dies for Charles Darnay. The young Frenchman has been condemned to die by the guillotine. Sidney Carton is a dissipated English lawyer who has wasted great gifts and quenched high possibilities in riotous living. When he learns the plight of his friend, he determines to save him by laying down his own life — not for the love he has for the man, but for the sake of the man’s wife and child. To that end Carton gains admission to the dungeon the night before the execution, changes garments with the condemned man, and the next day is led out and put to death as Charles Darnay. Before he went to the dungeon he had entered the courtyard and remained there for a few minutes alone, looking up at the light in the window of the daughter’s room. He was led by…
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