What then were the apostles? It is plain from the divine record that they were men immediately commissioned by Christ to make a full and authoritative revelation of His religion; to organize the church; to furnish it with officers and laws, and to start it on its career of conquest through the world… The apostles, the twelve, stand out just as conspicuous as an isolated body in the history of the church, without predecessors, and without successors, as Christ Himself does. They disappear from history. The title, the thing itself, the gifts, the functions, all ceased when John, the last of the twelve, ascended to heaven.