Third Companion Book: The Pilgrim’s Progress (Part 4)

The second question that must be answered to better appreciate the narrative of the novel is: what is the “roll” or certificate that is given to Christian for safekeeping and that must be surrendered to gain admission to Heaven?

This “roll” is given to Christian at the time that his burden is lifted.  It is soon lost by Christian only to be found after he is forced to trace his pilgrimage backward to find it.

The roll is viewed as the grace of hope: the desire for the difficult but attainable good of eternal happiness.  Hope could be considered the nourishment for the Adventure, shielding the traveler from discouragement.

The “roll” or certificate is also viewed as the boon or gift that the pilgrim is in search for to attain happiness in this life.  The boon is the gift that must be seized before approaching the threshold of happiness.  This gift is meant to add to the flourishing of Christian’s family and neighbors.  It is captured with the assistance of the virtue of temperance in Gallery Five and through the love expressed in Gallery Six it is surrendered at the moment that Christian realizes happiness.  It is this captured boon that helps his family and neighbors to flourish in their lives in Part Two.

In the novel, Christian must surrender his certificate before entering the kingdom of Heaven.  It is with the grace of hope that Christian is able to reach the gate of happiness.  In fact, two important figures help Christian along his pilgrimage once his burden is lost and the “roll” is provided to him: Faithful and Hopeful.  Faithful joins him early in his pilgrimage to be put to death later.  Hopeful then joins Christian for the remainder of his pilgrimage and joins him in entering Heaven.

More to come!

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