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.

CHAP. 17. Of such Particulars in the mysticall Babylon as are 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, to the Gates, Tribes, Angells, and Foundations of the new Hierusalem.

I Hope it is now sufficiently declared, what those things were in the pri∣mitive Church, to which the twelve Gates, the twelve Angells, and the twelve Tribes have a speciall allusion. The 12 Gates are 12 Churches or Congregations, in which the Sacraments and especially Baptisme was administred. The 12 Angells are those 12 Pastors, to whom these 12 Churches were com∣mitted Page  107 The 12 Tribes are those 12 Titles, or Pa∣rishes, or other divisions, into which the City and people of Hierusalem were divided. And all these things will be farther cleared, by that, which I shall now say, concerning those things, which are answerable, and opposite unto them in the Romish Babylon. And that not only, because—Contrariajuxta seposita ma∣gis elucescunt, contraries being placed toge∣ther are the more easily discerned; but also, be∣cause the Church of Rome, by a pretended Im∣itation, but by a true and reall Emulation, pre∣tended her selfe to have been framed, and e∣rected, after the example of the Church of Hierusalem, and to be a continuall and perfect expression of it, even in respect of those things, which are above recited. Onuphrius de praeci∣puis Vrbis Rom: basilicis, in the second chap∣ter, where he writes of the first Parishes, Churches, and Pastors, which were institu∣ted and erected in the City of Rome, saith that Saint Peter came to Rome, and there founded the Church of Rome, and instituted the Cleargy in that City, Hierosolimitanae caeter arum{que} orien∣talium Ecclesiarum exemplo, according to the ex∣ample of the Church of Hierusalem, and other Orientall Churches. And concerning the in∣stitution Page  108 of Cardinalls, who were the first Pa∣rish Priestes of the first Churches erected in Rome,aGondisalvus Villadiego sayeth, Jnsti∣tutio Cardinalium figuraliter habuit ortum ab in∣stitutione divinà, exemplariter autem a Christo, expressa autem fuit facta tempore Pontiani & Marcelli Rom. Pontif. that is, the institution of Cardinalls, had it's institution figuratively, from divine institution, exemplarily from Christ, but ex∣pressely from the Popes Pontianus and Marcellus. By these and many other like testimonyes, which are frequent in their owne writers, it is evident that the Romanists are not likely to de∣ny, either that their Church and City of Rome, hath such things in it, as are fitly answerable to those particulars, which are above rehearsed in the description of the new Hierusalem; or that the literall Hierusalem, in the time of the Apostles, bad not such Churches, such Pastors, and such Ecclesiasticall divisions, as I haue a∣bove described. But supposing, that which will not be graunted, that these things mentioned in the description of the new Hierusalem, haue no allusion to things actually existing in the pri∣mative Church, and in the literall Hierusalem; yet it may be plainly proved, that all these things whether reall or imaginary, which are menti∣oned Page  109 in the description of the new Hierusalem, may very fitly mutatis mutandis, that is, chang∣ing the Names, and the Number onely, be applyed to such things as had reall and actuall existence in the City, and in the Church of Rome. For it may be proved by a cloud of wit∣nesses, that the Popes, about the time of Con∣stantine the great, did divide the City and peo∣ple of Rome into a certaine number of Ecclesi∣asticall divisions, Iurisdictions, Titles, or Pa∣rishes; and that in every one of these divisions, there was a Church erected for the administra∣tion of Baptisme, and to every one of these Churches a severall Presbyter assigned and ap∣pointed. Of this first division of the City and people of Rome, Onuphrius writeth after this manner. Ne Presbyterorum administratio in promiscuo esset, Evaristus Titulos, vel, ut nunc dicimus, Paraecias in Ʋrbe primus presbyteris di∣visit, ut singuli à se invicem secreti in suâ vrbis regione, Titulo, vel paraciâ, sacramenta Christi∣anis exhiberent, singulos{que} presbyteros in unoquo∣que Titulo collocavit. which words doe in effect intimate thus much, That Evaristus first divided the City of Rome into Titles, or, as we now say, Parishes, and appointed to every Priest his severall Region, Title or Parish. Page  110 And afterwards in the same chapter Onuphrius writeth thus, Dionisius vicesimus sextus Roma∣nus Pont: Evaristi exemplum secutus, cùm jam Christiana pietas mirum in modum in e â vrbe auct a esset, denuò Titulos, vel Paroecias Romae, cúm eas ampliasset, presbyteris divisit, ipsas{que} quo quis{que} suis limitibus, finibus{que} contineretur, distribuit: that is, Dionisius the 26 Pope of Rome, following the ex∣ample of Evaristus, when as Christian Religion was much increased in that City, did againe divide the Titles or Parishes (after that he had enlarged them) among the Priestes, and did so distribute them, that every one might be contained within his owne bounds and limits. Jsodorus Mosconius speaking of the Cardinalls, writeth to the same purpose, saying, Nonnulli tutiùs ausi sunt affir∣mare,*tempore Silvestri primi, hoc est anno 314, creatos esse, qui (ut aiunt) primò Cardinalium Col∣legium ad similitudinem Romanorum procerum or∣dinavit; nam sicuti servabatur ut in Vrbe cuili∣bet Regioni, quae in plures divisa erat, plures Cu∣ratores deputarentur ad perficiendum ea, quae ad civium incolumitatem pertinerent, sub praefecti po∣testate; Jta Silvester Papaut indemnitati Eccle∣siae commodiùs consuleret, singulis regionibus Vr∣bis singulos destinaverat Cardinales, That is, Others more waryly have affirmed that they were Page  111 first created in the time of Silvester the first, in the yeare 314, who (as they say) ordained a Colledge of Cardinalls according to the similitude of the Se∣nators of Rome. For as anciently it was observed, that (the City being divided into many Regions) there were certaine Curators appointed to every Region, who being subjected vnder the authority of him, that was the chiefe governour of the City, were to performe such things as pertained to the welfare of the Citizens. So Pope Silvester, for the good, and for the more convenient government of the Church, destinated severall Cardinalls to every severall Region of the City. These divisi∣ons which by Onuphrius and Mosconius are called Regions and Parishes, are by other wri∣ters called by divers other names. Some call them Diocaeses, some Jurisdictiones, some Gu∣bernationes, some Tituli, some Ecclesiae parocbi∣ales, some Curiae. By all which it is evident, that they were certaine locall divisions of the City and people, having Churches or publicke places of meeting erected in them, (as the Gates were to the auncient Tribes of the Israelites) & a power of Jurisdiction & government annex∣ed to them: and being such, it cannot be denied but that these titles are fitly answerable to those Tribes of the Israelites, into which the Page  112 City and people of the literall Hierusalem were anciently divided: and also unto those Ecclesi∣asticall divisions aboue mentioned, by which in the times of the Apostles, the Citizens of the new Hierusalem, either were, or began to be, or shall yet be, or by the description of the new Hierusalem are supposed to have been distingui∣shed. And it may be here observed, that these ti∣tles or parishes, into which the City of Rome was divided about the time of Constantine, suc∣ceeded, and came in the places, and were in∣steed of those 30 or 35 Tribes, into which Rome was anciently divided. For the Cardinalls, as they increased in power, and grew into credit, so being not content with that spirituall autho∣rity, and Episcopall jurisdiction which they had in their Titles, they began by little and little, to u∣surpe upon the temporall dominion of the Ci∣ty, untill they had ingrossed all that authority unto themselves, which either the Curiales Fla∣mines had over the Tribes in matters of religi∣on, or the Senatours in humane affaires. And by this meanes it did quickly come to passe, that the new division of Rome into 25 Titles, caused that ancient division to be antiquated and ex∣tinguished. S. Austine in his enarration upon the 122 Psalme, writing of the Tribes there men∣tioned Page  113 (which both by himselfe and S. Hierome, are interpreted to be the same Tribes, which are spoken of in the description of the new Hierusalem) taketh occasion to speake, not on∣ly of those 35 Tribes, into which the City of Rome Ethnick was anciently divided, but also of certaine divisions, which he calleth Curiae, into which Cities in his time were usually di∣vided; his words are these. Tribus alio nomine dici possunt Curiae, sed non propriè, ita{que} Tribus uno nomine vicino, alio propriè dici possunt: sed vicino dicuntur Curiae,—Sunt autem, vel crant in istis quo{que} aliquando civitatibus Curiae etiam populo∣rum, & una civitas multas Curias habet, sicut Roma 35 Curias habet populi. Hae dicuntur Tribus: has populus Israel duodecem habebat secundum filios Iacob. The effect of which words is, that Tribes properly so called may by another name be cal∣led Parishes: and that all cities are usually divi∣ded into such wards or parishes, as are answe∣rable to those Tribes, into which the Cities of Hierusalem and Rome were anciently divided. I might here adde, that as a late a Writer of the Roman Antiquities, calleth those ancient Curiae or Tribes of Rome, Parishes, because of the great likenesse which they had to such Eccle∣siasticall divisions: so those first Titles or Pari∣shes Page  114 into which Rome Christian was divided, may by the same reason be called Tribes: but it matters not by what name they are called, so long as they are fitly answerable, to those anci∣ent Tribes of Hierusalem and Rome, although called by another name, and changed to ano∣ther number. And thus much of things, an∣swering to the Tribes of the new Hierusalem.

Jn the next place it is to be observed, that in every one of these Parishes, there was some publique place of meeting appointed, or some Church erected, for the administration of Bap∣tisme; & these places or Churches in the City of Rome, are fitly answerable to those Churches in the literall Hierusalem, which were the first Gates of the spirituall Hierusalem. For as it is above declared, that every particular Church, may for divers reasons be said, to be a gate of the Church universall, but especially in respect of the administration of baptisme, which literal∣ly and properly is the Gate of the Church: so these Churches in the City of Rome, which are named Baptismall Churches (as it is a observed) because in these only, Baptisme was originally administred, are in this respect, as also in di∣vers others, properly and exactly answerable to those Gates of the Spirituall Hierusalem.Page  115 That there were such Churches as these, and that to every one of these Churches there was at the first but one Priest appointed, as there was one Angell placed at every Gate of the ce∣lestiall Hierusalem, is evident by that which Onuphrius hath written, and by the testimo∣nies of divers other writers, whose words J shall have occasion to set downe, when I come to speake of the number of these Churches. But when these Parish Preists degenerated into Cardinalls, and were made a Colledge, and Corporation, exercising a new kind of super∣episcopall jurisdiction, in, and over these churches; then was the birth of Antichrist, then did Antichrist really, and truly, and li∣terally, and locally sit, first in these christian churches at Rome, and from thence his pseu∣do-apostolicall Authority, hath been obtrud∣ed and imposed upon other churches. By which it is evident, that, as some interpreters doe make the Apostles themselves, although in divers respects, to be the Gates, the Angells, and the foundations of the celestiall Hierusalem; so the Cardinalls in one respect may be said to be the first Gates of the Church of Rome because at their first institution, the administration of Ba∣ptisme, was committed unto them only: and in Page  116 another respect they may be called Angels, be∣cause they were Pastors of the first parish chur∣ches in Rome; and lastly, they may be truly said to have been the first Foundation stones, on which the Popish Hierarchie hath been ever since erected, as it is above more fully and parti∣cularly declared. I doe not forget that some writers doe interpret these twelve Foundati∣ons, to be the twelve Articles of the Creed, but I passe over this interpretation in this place, not because the Pope hath not a Creed consisting of twentie and five Articles answerable to those of the Apostles, but because I conceive the 12 Articles of the Creed, to be chiefly and directly aymed at, by the twelve manner of fruits grow∣ing on the tree of life, as in the sixth and last place shall be observed. And thus much in ge∣nerall of things sometime actually existing in Rome, answerable to the Gates, Tribes, Angels, and Foundations, sometime actually existing in the new Hierusalem, and that, according to all senses, which way soever they may with any probability be interpreted: concerning all which I doe oblige my selfe to prove, that there were 25 Gates in Rome according to the sense literall, & 25 Churches for Baptisme according to the sense spirituall, and 25 Pastors placed at Page  117 these Churches, and 25 Cardinals sitting and ruling in them, and 25 Titles, Tribes, or Parishes belonging to them.