Many bishops and divines of your communion are and have been quite orthodox. But what of it? Their opinion is only an individual opinion, it is not the Faith of the Community. Ussher is almost a complete Calvinist; but yet he, no less than those bishops who give expression to Orthodox convictions, belongs to the Anglican Church. We may, and do, sympathise with the individuals; we cannot and dare not sympathise with a community which interpolates the Symbol and doubts her right to that interpolation, or which gives communion to those who declare the Bread and Wine of the High Sacrifice to be mere bread and wine, as well as to those who declare it to be the Body and Blood of Christ. This for an example — and I could find hundreds more — but I go further. Suppose an impossibility — suppose all the Anglicans be quite orthodox; suppose their Creed and Faith quite concordant with ours; the mode and process by which that creed is or has been attained is a Protestant one; a simple logical act of the understanding, by which the tradition and writings of the Fathers have been distilled to something very near Truth. If we admit this, all is lost, and Rationalism is the supreme judge of every question. Protestantism, most reverend sir, is the admission of an unknown [quantity] to be sought by reason; and that unknown [quantity] changes the whole equation to an unknown quantity, even though every other datum be as clear and as positive as possible. Do not, I pray, nourish the hope of finding Christian truth without stepping out of the former Protestant circle. It is an illogical hope; it is a remnant of that pride which thought itself able and wished to judge and decide by itself without the Spiritual Communion of heavenly grace and Christian love. Were you to find all the truth, you would have found nothing; for we alone can give you that without which all would be vain — the assurance of truth.
From Mind in the Heart, via Restorative Theology, via Pontifications.
Okay. I take his point, in a sense. However: were I (or anyone else) to convert to a non-Protestant (in the way Khomiakov seems to be using that term) church, would not "rationalism" still be sitting in judgment over catholic doctrine? Would not the "mode and process by which" this convert attained a catholic creed yet be "a protestant one; a simple logical act of the understanding, by which the tradition and writings of the Fathers have been distilled..."? Would not Rationalism, or better perhaps would not rationality, or the reason, yet be "the supreme judge of every question" in such a case? In other words, is it not in fact the case that converts convert because the doctrine of the ecclesial entity to which they are converting makes sense to them? Concomitantly, then, is not their reason the arbiter of (Scripture and) Holy Tradition? Khomiakov finds in Anglicanism "a remnant of that pride which thought itself able and wished to judge and decide by itself without the Spiritual Communion of heavenly grace and Christian love." But here, precisely, is the paradox: does not the act and possibility of conversion, which surely Khomiakov admits, entail the very possibility of that which he here denies: namely that an individual outside the Spiritual Communion of heavenly grace and Christian love (which is the Church) may "judge and decide" rightly, by an inscrutable process of intellection and affection, that catholic doctrine is true and therefore ought to be assented to? And once he has converted, does not the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian, by the quotidian renewal of his resolve to remain within the Roman or Orthodox communion, just continually ratify the sovereignty of his reason as the arbiter of truth?
This question is related to that paradox raised by Augustine in the narration of his own conversion, a paradox which my intuition tells me has its roots in Platonism and also has to do with prevenient grace: how can you call God to help you when his help is necessary for you even to call out? Augustine also puts it another way, in terms of exteriority and interiority: how can you seek something (or Someone) that is already and has always been inside of you? Quo enim recedam extra caelum et terram, ut inde in me veniat Deus meus, qui dixit, caelum et terram ego impleo? Loosely: Where might I withdraw beyond heaven and earth that my God might come into me, when my God has said "I fill heaven and earth"?
In the excerpt from Khomiakov we see an assumption regarding the differentiation of Protestantism from Catholicism. And I here mean both of these terms in the kind of way that they are often used, for example, at Pontifications: such that "Protestantism" includes Anglicanism (but not Orthodoxy), and "Catholicism" includes Orthodoxy (but not Anglicanism). The basis of differentiating between Protestantism and Catholicism is by an examination and judgment of what Khomiakov here calls the "faith of the Community." This assumption is also manifest in such dicta as one sometimes hears: e.g. that Anglicans believe they are catholic because they have valid orders, whereas (Roman) catholics believe they have valid orders because they are catholic. When cited by Roman Catholics, the former belief is implicitly false and the latter implicitly true. But with regard to a determination of catholicity it is obviously question begging. What is it for an individual or a community to be catholic?
And by the way, the Vincentian Canon is a non-starter. If to be catholic, as St. Vincent says, is "to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all," the question instantly arises: by all of whom? Roman Catholics? Christians? If it is Roman Catholics, then the Orthodox are ruled out as "catholic" insofar as they do not as a body believe, for example, the universal ordinary jurisdiction nor the situated infallibility of the bishop of Rome, nor the Immaculate Conception of our Lady. And if we mean "...by all Christians..." then probably Southern Baptists and Nestorians are ruled in.
In the end I think the status of an individual Christian as truly "catholic" is indeed in some sense a function of the submission of their volition, a bending the knee of the heart, to the Church. And yet the submission must come about as (at least in large part) recommended by the intellect. I've never heard of anyone going over to Rome (or the East) because it didn't make sense to do so. Thus I don't think the excerpt above from Khomiakov is helpful. Anglican Christians can just as much hold their beliefs because those beliefs come to them recommended by the One Church as can Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christians. And it is just as necessary for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians rationally to differentiate the visible body to which they owe their submission -- to differentiate the One Church from other "ecclesial communities" -- as it is for Anglicans. Perhaps (perhaps) its true that more RC and Orthodox Christians go through this process per capita as a matter of positive fact than Anglicans. But even that is not obvious, and I tend to doubt it. We can see in this why disunity is a scandal. Were the unity of the Church visible, then catholically bending the knee of the heart would be considerably simpler, and that Christianity is a matter of obedience (as opposed to a lifestyle choice or a self-identity) would I imagine be more robustly manifest to the world, for the sake of whom the grace of unity is bestowed (John 17.21).
Why am I an Anglican? Because I am doing my best to obey the Lord's summons to his service. Because I want, more than anything, to be a slave for the sake of the Name. Lord knows it would in a very real sense be much easier for me to be Roman Catholic or Orthodox. Obeying the call I discerned to the Anglican priesthood has been, hands down, the most costly and painful thing I've ever done. I knew that it would be, and I was brought to my knees in tears in the face of this knowledge at Evensong before my ordination. When I asked the Lord why I should be an Anglican priest, I clearly discerned the answer: "because the essence of priesthood is sacrifice, and here you will be closest to the sacrifice of my Son." In my heart I accepted this, and it has been born out in my priestly vocation. I know that the Christian priesthood cannot be merely an exercise in private devotion, and I have faith that mine is not, though its hard for me to see the fruits of my ministry in the Body. But I believe that God actualizes his particular plans even though the actualization may be invisible or counterintuitive (1 Cor. 2.9).
Catholicity may be born out in the lives of individuals in complicated and inscrutible ways, but it is at least an act of obedience. And while I appreciate the good intentions of former Anglicans who perpetually exhort those whom they have left behind to climb into the Barque of Peter (or Andrew), they must also recognize that the Holy Spirit may answer Anglican prayers for conversion of heart in ways, or on timeframes, that they might not have expected. Michael Liccione, at Pontifications, has written:
One cannot cease to be Protestant by thinking like a Protestant. The way out of that box is to use all means available, chiefly prayer and ascesis but also study and meditation, to decide which principle of authority one shall submit to. Only the reformation of will made possible by such means will enable one to receive the gift of faith in its fullness.
I couldn't agree more. But what must be acknowledged is that many Anglicans have sought to submit, have sought to "believe one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church," and what's more have sought to "believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ," through prayer, ascesis, study and meditation, and who yet find themselves in the Anglican Communion -- not because they appreciate the free-thinking or free-willing it seems to afford, nor because it seems a pleasant and easy-going, non-papal brand of catholic Christianity, but rather out of obedience. What is difficult to bear is the implication (not necessarily Liccione's) that if catholic-minded Anglicans were really sincere or really obedient, they would go immediately to Rome. Once more I can assure you: I am doing the best I can, and I am still an Anglican.