The Contract! (tract)

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The Contract! is a religious tract written by Jack Chick. It was originally printed in 2004, and remains in print. It is shown under the tag "Basic Gospel" along with the tag "Hell".

The tract is heavily based on the American short story The Devil and Daniel Webster, though differing in key areas[1].

John Freeman, having lost his crops to a hailstorm and facing foreclosure (after the banker refuses to loan him any more money; Freeman swears revenge), makes the claim (as did the protagonist of the short story) that he would "sell his soul" to keep the farm, immediately he is approached by a "B. Fox" who offers to show Freeman where buried treasure is on his land (in exchange for half, and for his soul upon death; Freeman is required to sign the contract in blood). Freeman accepts, is shown the treasure, and gains his revenge (by saying he can't deposit the money in the bank because the banker told him never to return; the banker is summarily fired). He then tells his cousin (Bob Goode) who (upon learning that "B." stood for "Beelzebub") states that he will never get out of the contract.

Ten years later Freeman is facing death (having only four weeks left to live); regretfully he tells his doctor of the contract. The doctor shares the Gospel with Freeman, who repents of his sins. Freeman tries to share the news with Goode a week later, who refuses (claiming his good works will get him there).

At the funeral Goode remarks that Freeman had no chance to exit the contract. However, on the way home a tree is struck by lightning and falls on Goode's wagon, killing him. He arrives in Hell and meets "B. Fox"; he argues that he never signed any contract only to learn that Fox never needed one since he already had everyone's soul (except for children and those who trusted in Christ).

Similar Titles

Chick wrote another tract, ""It's A Deal", featuring Denzel Franklin (a black teenager) seeking sports fame who (after making the same "sell my soul" comment) he is approached by a gentleman (dressed like a pimp) who makes him rich and famous (and gives him 13 years instead of 10); at the end of his life his father is able to convince him to repent just before his death.

References

  1. Main differences are 1) the protagonist in the tract is shown as having a disabled son and getting revenge on a local banker (in the short story no children are mentioned, nor any banker), and 2) there is no "show trial" portrayed in the tract (an important item in the short story).

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