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  93

CHAP. 15. That the first number of Cardinals according to their first institution and foundation is chiefly to be considered, as that which doth most remarkably characterize Antichrist in his originall.

AND that only the first decreed, and e∣stablished number of the Colledge of Cardinals is typed out unto us, and plainly foretold by the root of the Beast's num∣ber: this is a farre more evident and remarka∣ble description of Antichrist, then if any other number had been declared which should at a∣ny other time have been applicable unto them. For (as it is usually said) scire, is, per causas cog∣noscere, and as we cannot perfectly know any thing untill we know what were the first ori∣ginall causes and beginnings of it, so this order of Cardinals (which beareth now so much sway in the Romish Church) and which is the very body and corporation of Antichrist) may be then perfectly discerned, when we know what it was in it's first originall and beginning. And for this cause it is that the holy Ghost in the description of the new Hierusalem useth chiefly such numbers and measures as were Page  94 conspicuous and remarkable in the first appa∣rent foundation of Christian Religion. For the wall of the new Hierusalem is said to have 12 foundations, not because the number 12, either in respect of the Apostles themselves, or in re∣spect of Christian Bishops themselves (who are their lawfull successours in so much of their authority as is necessary for the perpetuall go∣vernment of the Church) should be, at all times following, actually existent, and remark∣able in the Church; but that by this one num∣ber, which is the root & Basis of another num∣ber, there might be an evident & strong allusion not only to the number, but also to the nature, qualitie, and office of those persons, from whom, as from the Root, the Churches Hierar∣chy doth originally proceed, upon whom it is fundamentally built, and in whom it was first apparently to be discerned. As therefore the number 12 is not applicable to the Hierarchy of the Church in respect of any one perpetuall and constant number of Persons, which was alwaies to continue, so neither ought the num∣ber 25 to be after this manner applicable to the Romish Hierarchy, but the true and exact ap∣plication of it, ought chiefly to be terminated in the discovery, not onely of the number, but Page  95 also, of the nature, quality, & office of those Per∣sons from whom their Pseudo-hierarchy did originally proceed, upon whom it was funda∣mentally built, and in whom and with whom it was first apparently to be discerned. Howso∣ever therefore it may perhaps at the first appre∣hension seeme requisite, that according to this application which I am at, the number 25 ought to be the onely constant, setled, and perpetuall number of the Popes Cardinalls, or Apostles, which should at all times during the time of Antichrists continuance be actually applicable unto them; yet upon due consideration it must be granted, that such an application can nei∣ther be warranted by the example of the oppo∣site number, which is applicable to the first number of the Apostles only; nor be agreeable to the nature of this type, which aymes, not on∣ly at a certaine number of unities, but also of such unities as are the root and Basis of other unities, which were to proceed from them, and to be built upon them; I say therefore, that it: must be granted that there is no necessity, nor any probability, that this number ought other∣wise to be applied unto them, then in respect of that first decreed & established number, which was most conspicuous, and remarkable, & most Page  96 exactly applicable unto them, in, and at the first foundation of their Colledge, and in the first apparent and actuall institution of their order. And that, not only the number of the 10 crow∣ned hornes mentioned in the Revelation, may be thus interpreted in respect of their first origi∣nall onely; but that also the number of the Beast ought to have speciall reference to the first ori∣ginal stock and image of Antichrist's Anti-Apo∣stles, is a truth clearely discerned, and in general tearmes plainly expressed by a late learned in∣terpreter of the Revelations, although he aimed not at the same particular application which I doe.

These things being now thus cleared and discussed in generall, concerning the time, the place, and the persons which this number ought chiefly to characterize; and it being pro∣ved that Rome is answerable to Hierusalem; and that the Cardinalls of Rome are those persons which may be fitly stiled Anti-Apostles in the Romish Hierarchy; and lastly, that the time in which the root of the Beast's number ought to be applied to the Pseudohierarchy of Anti∣christ, must be in the first apparent and remark∣able emersion of his Hierarchy: that so it may be like and answerable to that very nick of Page  97 time, in which, and in which only, the root of the opposite number is actually applicable to the Hierarchy of the Church; these things, I say, being thus cleared and discussed, it remaineth now that J shew by cleare and evident testi∣monies, that as the Colledge of Apostles did o∣riginally consiste of 12 persons and no more, so the Colledge and corporation of Cardinals in Rome, according to it's first institution, & in the first apparent and remarkable foundation of the a Papacy, did consist of 25 persons and no more.