Roll Pride

After Christian’s little dust-up with Formalist and Hypocrisy he ascends the hill called Difficulty and then rests at Arbour. Arbour is “made by the Lord of the Hill, for the refreshment of weary Travellers.” Bunyan narrates:

” … thither therefore Christian got, where also he sat down to rest him. Then he pulled his Roll out of his bosom, and read therein to his comfort; he also now began afresh to take a review of the Coat or Garment that was given him as he stood by the Cross. Thus pleasing himself awhile, he at last fell into a slumber, and thence into a fast sleep, which detained him in that place until it was almost night; and in his sleep his Roll fell out of his hand. Now as he was sleeping, there came one to him and awaked him, saying, Go to the Ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. And with that Christian suddenly started up, and sped on his way, and went apace till he came to the top of the Hill.”

Bunyan’s Christian loses his Roll:

” … he felt, and found it not. Then was Christian in great distress, and knew not what to do; for he wanted that which used to relieve him, and that which should have been his pass into the Coelestial City. Here therefore he began to be much perplexed, and knew not what to do. At last he bethought himself that he had slept in the Arbor that is on the side of the Hill; and falling down upon his knees he asked God’s forgiveness for that his foolish act and then went back to look for his Roll.”

Christian, after a diligent search, finds his lost Roll. What is this “Roll”?

“Now by this time he was come to the Arbor again, where for a while he sat down and wept; but at last, as Christian would have it, looking sorrowfully down under the settle, there he espied his Roll; the which he with trembling and haste catched up, and put it into his bosom. But who can tell how joyful this man was when he had gotten his Roll again! For this Roll was the assurance of his life and acceptance at the desired Haven. Therefore he laid it up in his bosom, gave thanks to God for directing his eye to the place where it lay, and with joy and tears betook himself again to his Journey.”

What meaneth this? Bunyan’s (false) Christian initially lost and then later regained assured confidence in his own established righteousness as the grounds of “his life and acceptance at the desired Haven.” This goes against what happens to true Christians as set forth in passages such as Romans 10:1-4 and Hebrews 10:19. Next Page

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