Imagens das páginas

thought and will are to be expressed and executed. The Churchman has apparently misapprehended our allusion to the Church of Rome. He replies to us as if we had asserted that the Pope and the Church of Rome are the source of the authority of the corporation. But we asserted no such thing. We did not contend that it is essential to the existence of a corporation that it have a head ruling by virtue of its own inherent authority ; but that the body cannot exist and act as a corporation without an official head through which it may declare and execute its will. For aught that we said, the authority may be vested in the whole body. The question before us was not, Where is the authority of the Church vested ? but, What is the legal mode of expressing it? We assumed, that a corporation is a corporation only on condition of possessing corporate unity, and certain organs through which to act; and that it never does or can act, quoad corporation, save in and through these organs. Is The Churchman prepared to dispute this? A corporation wanting unity, individuality, is obviously no corporation at all; and a corporation having no organs through which to act is at best a merely possible corporation, not an actual corporation ; for it has no corporate faculty, that is, no ability to perform a single corporate act. The state without organs, that is, constituted authorities, is no true state; it is at best only the state in abeyance. It cannot act as the state ; it can discharge none of the functions of a state.

Equally evident is it, that what is not done by the individuals composing the corporation through its corporate organs, or constituted authorities, is not done by the corporation. The resolutions of the people of Massachusetts, unless these be convened by legal warrant, cannot be the resolutions of the State of Massachusetts. The members of the two houses of the legislature, coming together as so many individuals, without form of law, are not the legislature; and however unanimous they may be in their acts, their acts cannot be laws, unless passed in accordance with the Constitution, the

[ocr errors]

forms of law, and signed by the proper officers. So of any incorporated company. Its acts are corporate acts, authorized by the corporation, and binding on it, only when done by it legally convened, as the corporation, and acting through its proper officers.

The principle here contended for must apply equally to the Church, if the Church be a corporation. It must be an organic body, organized into an artificial individual, and have appropriate organs through which to express and execute its will; and then only what is done through these organs is done legally, that is, by the Church. This is what, and all, we contended for. We did not contend that the Pope is the sovereign of the Church, but simply that he is its visible, official head, through which the will of the Church must be expressed and executed, in order to be legally expressed and executed. More than this we of course believe; for we hold the Pope to be, not the vicar of the Church merely, but also the vicar of Christ; but this is all that was assumed in our argument, and all that we judge it necessary to assume in order to convict the Anglican Church of schism.

Admitting, then, for the moment, that the analogy of the corporate body to the natural body is not complete, our argument is not invalidated; because we do not found our argument on the assumption of such analogy, in any sense in which The Churchman has objected to it. He denies that analogy only when the head of the corporation is assumed to govern the corporation in the sense in which the head governs the natural body; but we have asserted the head not as governing the corporation, but simply as the organ through which the corporation must govern.

A head in this last sense is essential to the very existence of a corporation as an actual corporation.

Nor better founded is the objection, that the corporation is “an invisible body.” In this objection The Churchman asserts the invisibility of the Church, that is, that the Church is an invisible body; and from the invisibility of the Church he apparently concludes, though his reasoning is exceedingly vague and uncertain, to the invisibility of its organs, and therefore that an act of the Church, or any portion of it, in order to be legitimate, does not need to be done through visible organs. Consequently, admit that the separation of the Church of England was an act not authorized by the corporation speaking through visible organs, it does not follow that it was not authorized by the Church; for it may have been done by the Church speaking through its invisible organs. Therefore, it does not necessarily follow that the separation was schismatic. If this is not his argument, we do not comprehend the force of his objection, nor wherefore he should have quoted Blackstone's definition of a corporation, namely, “A corporation, being an invisible body, cannot manifest its intentions by any personal act or oral discourse."

But to this we object, 1. That, strictly speaking, a corporation is not an invisible body; and 2. That, though a corporation may not be able to manifest its intentions by a personal act or oral discourse, yet it must be able to manifest its intentions, and, therefore, have organs through which to manifest them, or be at best only a merely possible corporation, not an actual corporation. To all practical purposes, otherwise, it would be as if it were not.

A single legal authority will suffice to sustain our first objection.

" A corporation,” says Mr. Kyd, as quoted with approbation by Angell and Ames, “ is as visible a body as an army; for, though the commission or authority be not seen by every one, yet the body united by that authority is seen by all but the blind. When, therefore, a corporation is said to be invisible, that expression must be understood of the right of many per. sons, collectively, to act as a corporation, and then it is as visible in the eye of the law as any other right whatever of which natural persons are capable." - Angeli and Ames on Corporations, p. 4.

But even admit that the corporation, quoad corporation, is invisible, yet the individuals composing it, and

[ocr errors]

the organs through which it acts, are visible, and this is all the visibility we contended for. The authority of the Church, all admit, is invisible; for it is the authority of Christ, who is its Invisible Head. But the question we raised does not turn on this, but on the visibility of the organs through which that authority is expressed. Is The Churchman prepared to deny that the Church is the visible depository of the doctrines, and the visible medium of the authority, of Christ on earth? Does not The Churchman hold, as well as we, that Christ both commissioned his Church to teach all nations, and commanded us all to hear the Church? But, if the Church, that is, the Ecclesia docens, be not visible, how are we to recognize it, to know when we hear its voice and receive its teachings, or when we do not?

The validity of the second objection we have already established, in establishing the necessity of organs through which the Church may manifest its intentions. The Church is to teach ; but how can it teach, if it have no organ for teaching? We, the Ecclesia discens, are to hear it; but how can we hear it, if it have no voice? And how can it utter its voice without a vocal organ?

And if the organ be not visible, cognizable, how shall we distinguish the voice of the Church from any other voice, or know it to be the voice of the Church? The Churchman, as well as we, demands obedience to the voice of the Church. Then he must abandon the fiction of an invisible Church, and concede the Church to be a visible, organic body, existing in space and time, with visible organs for the perceptible manifestation of its intentions.

Furthermore, the best legal authorities sustain the analogy of the corporate body to the natural body much more fully than The Churchman seems to suspect. Chief Justice Marshall defines a corporation to be,

“ An artificial body, possessing certain properties; among the most important of which are Immortality, and, if the expression may be allowed, Individuality; properties by which the perpetual succession of many persons are considered as the same, and act as the single individual.”. Angell and Ames on Corporations, p. 2.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Jacob, in his Law Dictionary, as well as Tomlins, in his, defines a corporation (corporatio) to be,

“A body politic, or incorporate; so called, as the persons composing it are made into a body, and of capacity to take and grant, &c. Or, it is an assembly and joining together of many into one fellowship and brotherhood, whereof one is head and chief, and the rest are the body; and this head and body knit together make the corporation : Also, it is constituted of several members like unto the natural body, and formed by fiction of law to endure for ever.”

Another authority adds,

A corporation aggregate [as distinguished from a corporation sole] is an artificial body composed of divers constituent members ad instar corporis humani; the ligaments of which body politic or artificial body are the franchises and liberties thereof, which bind and unite all its members together ; and the whole frame and essence of the corporation consist therein.” - 1 Bacon's Abridgment, p. 500.

The analogy of the corporation to the natural body is recognized and insisted upon by all these authorities. They all go to prove that a corporation, quoad corporation, must be an individuality, and possess a central will or unity of volition, together with a head or organ for its expression. The Church, then, since it is conceded to be a corporation, must possess the same; and its whole frame and essence, as a corporation, must consist in its being knit and bound together into one artificial body, with a central will, and unitary organs for expressing and executing it. All this is involved in the very conception of it as a body corporate, or corporation, in distinction from a mere aggregation.

This assumed, we return to our former argument. The separation of one member of the Church from the communion of another, not authorized by the Church in its corporate capacity, is not authorized by the Church at all, and is therefore irregular and schismatic. The antecedent we have proved from the admission of the Church as a corporation, and from the very conception of a corporation itself. The conclusion is evident from the fact, that the Church is one body, and all the

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »