An interpretation of the number 666 wherein, not onely the manner, how this number ought to be interpreted, is clearely proved and demonstrated : but it is also shewed [that] this number is an exquisite and perfect character, truly, exactly, and essentially describing that state of government to [which] all other notes of Antichrist doe agree : with all knowne objections solidly and fully answered [that] can be materially made against it
Potter, Francis, 1594-1678.
Page  82

CHAP. 13. Of the nature, and qualitie, of those particulars, in which the root and the figure of the Beasts number is to be applied to the Papacie.

AND now concerning those particu∣lars in which this number is to be ap∣plied to the Papacie; it is to be remem∣bred what is above said of the number 12, and of those things to which it is applied. For as Antichrist is opposed to Christ, and as 666 is opposed to 144; so is 25 opposed to 12, and so must those things which are chiefly to be mea∣sured or numbred by this number 25 be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, ex adverso respondentia, that is correspon∣dent, answerable on the other side, and in some sort opposed to, or set over against those things which are measured, numbred, or described by the number 12. And (as I am perswaded) for this Cause partly is the Church militant, in the 21 Chapter of the Revel: measured, num∣bred, and described by these two numbers only 144 and 12, that there might be an expresse ex∣ample in the Scriptures not onely shewing in generall how the number 666, ought to be in∣terpreted; but also leading us (as it were) by the Page  83 hand to those particulars, in which the root of this number ought principally to be applyed. And although perhaps it were a sufficient ap∣plication, and as much as some Readers would expect, and more then any Papist can confute, to heap together a greater number of particulars, in which this number 25 is ra∣ther applicable unto the Romanists, then it is to any other estate, Church, or sect; or then a∣ny other number is to themselves, and to their state: yet this is farre short of that most exact and exquisite application, which seemeth chiefly to be intended by the Holy Ghost. In∣deed the frequent occurring of this number in things pertaining to the state, and Religion of the Romanists (as shall be shewed in the se∣cond place, after I have proved the first, and chiefe application) may well be an argument, that either some secret destiny, which is in it; or their affectation of it, hath made it more proper to them, and more common among them, then any other number. Yet, if it were applicable to them in no more, nor in no other particulars, but in those only which are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 to those things, which are measured, numbred, or described by the number 12 in the 21 Chap. of the Revel. those onely are abundantly and su∣perabundantly Page  84 sufficient, not only for an evident description, but for a remarkable, essentiall, and incommunicable definition as well of their City, as of their state and Hierarchy. For what can be either said, or imagined to be more essen∣tiall, or remarkable either to, or in any city then the figure of it, the circuit of the walls, or com∣passe of it, the number of the Gates, the number of the Churches, the number of Tribes, Wards, or Parishes into which it was first divided? And concerning the forme of government (which is more properly a City, then the mate∣riall structures) what can be said, or imagined, to be more essentiall to it, or remarkable in it: then the number, time, place, office, and in some sort the very name also of those persons, who are the very Basis and foundation of it, and the very hinges (as they themselves confesse) on which their whole Hierarchy depends, and moves it selfe? As therefore the number 12 in the 21 Chap. of the Revel. is applied to the Church and Hierarchy thereof in such things as are most essentiall to it, and in such circumstances, as are most apparently remarkable in it: so the number 25 in like manner must be applied to the Papacie, and Pseudo-Hierarchy thereof, in such things, as are most essentiall to it, and in Page  85 such circumstances, as are most apparently re∣markable in it.

And as the number 12 is in that chapter after such an admirable and wonderfull manner applied to the spirituall Hierusalem, that is to the Church and Hierarchy thereof, that the literall and materiall City, in which that Eccle∣siasticall Hierarchy was first established, is also by the same number plainly measured, and manifestly described: so ought also the num∣ber 25 to be in such sort applied to the mysti∣call and spirituall Babylon; that the materiall City it selfe, in which that Pseudo-apostolicall Hierarchy hath been long since established, may be by the same number both truly mea∣sured, and evidently described. And for this cause it is absolutely necessary, that the Beast mentioned in the 13 Chap: of the Revel: which is Antichrist, must not be one person only (as the Papistsfalsly teach) but (as the latest a and best writers doe agree) must essen∣tially consist of a certaine number of such per∣sons, as may be fitly answerable, b and op∣posite to Christ's Apostles, residing in some City answerable and opposite to Hierusalem. For how is it otherwise possible to interpret Page  86 this number of the Beast, after the same man∣ner, that that number which is opposed unto it is, and ought to be interpreted? How can we by counting the Beast's number finde out the number of his Apostles, and the number of his Tribes, & the number both of the spirituall & materiall gates of his Church and City, & the figure and compasse of it; except Antichrist shall have some City answerable to Hierusalem, and some Persons answerable to the Apostles, and essentiall to his Hierarchy ruling, and residing in it?