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§ 295. Dejection of the Apostles immediately after Christ’s Death.—Their Joy and Activity at a later Period.—The Reappearance of Christ necessary to explain the Change.

The death of Christ annihilated at a stroke the Messianic expectations of the Apostles. Their dejection was complete. But if, of all that they had hoped, nothing was ever realized, this dejection could not have passed away. It is true, we may suppose it abstractly possible that, after the first consternation was over, the deep, spiritual 424impressions which Christ had made might have revived, and operated more powerfully, and even more purely, now that they could no longer see him with their bodily eyes. But this view could not arise except along with the recognition of a historical Christ as the personal ground and cause of such a new spiritual creation; without the presupposition of such a Christ there is no possible foundation on which to conceive of such after-workings.

And even with it, we cannot explain (not bare conceivable possibilities, but) the actual state of the case, viz., the dejection of the Apostles at first, and what they were and did afterward. There must be some intermediate historical fact to explain the transition; something must have occurred to revive, with new power, the almost effaced impression; to bring back the flow of their faith which had so far ebbed away. The reappearance, then, of Christ among his disciples is a connecting link in the chain of events which cannot possibly be spared. It acted thus: Their sunken faith in his promises received a new impulse when these promises were repeated by Him, risen from the dead; his reappearance formed the point of contact for a new spiritual communion with him, never to be dissolved, nay, thenceforward to be developed ever more and more. According to their own unvarying asseverations, it was the foundation of their immovable faith in his person, and in himself as Messiah and Son of God; as well as of their steadfast hope, in his communion, of a blissful, everlasting life, triumphing over death. Without it they never could have had that inspiring assurance of faith with which they every where testified of what they had received, and joyfully submitted to tortures and to death.

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