This tract has a slightly different layout than others. It punctuates pages with center, bold, ALL-CAPS headings, and numbered lists.
“MAN’S GREATEST NEED
Sin has separated man from God. To be separated from God at death means to spend eternity in Hell, because God will not excuse sin, and sin must be punished. Man is sinful, but God is holy. The blood of Jesus Christ is God’s way of meeting man’s greatest need.”
Wow. The jargon density in this paragraph is amazing. Of course, it doesn’t quite explain what “man’s greatest need” is after all, does it? It just threatens the reader with Hell right up front and center and…that’s it. I open this tract and immediately it’s pointing at gun at me, “You need something! The blood of Jesus Christ fulfills this need!” A person who is at least culturally Christian will fill this void of explanation with their own experience, but anyone else is going to look at this with a bemused stare and put it down again.
So, this tract is about blood. Excuse me, I mean, this tract is about BLOOD. So let’s look at the numbered list in the section that tells about this BLOOD. Specifically the blood of Jesus Christ. (For the sake of clarity, I omit the Bible references from these outtakes; often they are superfluous noise anyway.)
“WHAT WILL JESUS’ BLOOD DO?
- The blood washes and cleanses you from sin.
- The blood pays for your forgiveness.
- The blood makes peace with God.
- The blood saves you from God’s wrath.
- The blood opens the way to Heaven.”
Oh ho! Check it out! Is this the very first tract that I’ve read that actually mentions the Christian concept of Heaven? I could be mistaken, but I think that so far most of them have been threatening me with Hell over and over and never mention the reward scenario. So this is a singularly interesting specimen of propaganda for us right here.
To put this tract into context, I’m sure you can see that the cover is a two-tone image of a hand, pierced with a large spike, through the carpal bones (someone needs to study their anatomy!), with blood pooling down to form the color space around the word BLOOD. This is attempting to appeal to empathy—that looks like it hurts! And it ensconces the imagery of blood and bleeding in the mind of the reader before they start parsing the text.
I wanted to talk about the offer of Heaven, but the tract never defines it anywhere. The Bible quote that goes along with that line isn’t even helpful, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. (Hebrews 10:19.)” I guess that we’re supposed to take the writer’s word that this is referring to Heaven. Boldness? Holiest? I guess that this tract doesn’t actually go the last mile and offer Heaven as an alternative to Hell except in the barest sheen of cultural Christian reference.
The most foretelling portion of this list, I can see, happens to be that four out of the five list items are all about avoiding the threatened beat-down. Only the very last one is some sort of reward; the rest are mere escape from horrible punishment. Perhaps the Heaven reference just got thrown in there as an afterthought. Oh yeah, and there’s also Heaven, by the by.
This is interesting.
“YOUR GREATEST DECISION
Jesus shed His blood, was buried, and rose again the third day. At this moment He stands ready, able, and willing to save you. The choice is yours. A song says, ‘If the blood of Christ is sufficient for God, it is surely sufficient for me.’ It is the blood that satisfies God. Why not put your trust in Christ’s finished work, and call on Him for salvation now?”
The tract is quoting a song instead of the Bible here. This is an aberration! To my disappointment, I was unable to determine what song this paragraph refers to. I would like to know if anyone can help guide me to the proper resources, or if they are familiar with the lyric enough to simply fork over the data.
This paragraph is typical of these tracts. The tract spent a while setting up a house of cards series of bald assertions culminating in this: “You’re in trouble; I know the only solution; here’s that solution; take the solution or suffer horribly.” The theme here is just that God is a vampire and the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient to slake his bloodlust for you…
God does not drink…wine.