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. 9. That those writers who make the mystery of the number 144 to consist in the roote of it, ought also to have extracted the square Roote of the number 666. That the Extraction of the square root is an ancient and vsefull invention by which many famous mysteries haue been found out.

WHat hath been hitherto said, differeth little from the grounds which the la∣test interpreters haue layed for the fin∣ding out of the mystery. J haue as yet but bea∣ten and made plaine the same path, which Mr Page  44Forbes and other commentators upon the Re∣velation haue trodden out before me, but I am now come to that place, where they either stood still, or turned out of the way. It is true Mr Forbes and others affirme, that the number 144 is the number which is opposed to the number of the Beast; and that, as it is a square and perfect number, built and raised upon the number 12 onely, which is the roote of it; so the Church of Christ is a square and perfect building, built upon the doctrine of the 12 A∣postles. It is also true, that as the number 666 is neither a square nor perfect number, nor built upon the number 12: so neither is the Romish Hierarchy a square and perfect building, neither is it built upon the doctrine of the 12 Apostles. All this is true, but this is not all that is true; nor the tenth part of that which may be found out by this number. All this is but a ne∣gative description, shewing rather, what An∣tichrist is not, then truly defining what he is. And those interpreters which rest satisfied with so imperfect a description, must confesse that they know no more of Antichrist by this num∣ber then what is plaine and evident by many places of the Sriptures. Why doe they not there∣fore upon the grounds, which they themselues Page  45 have laid, farther prosecute their owne interpretations? Why doe they not seeke out the roote of the beasts number, as well as the roote of Gods number, that so they may know, not only negatively, what is not the foundation of the Romish Hierarchy, but also positively, what it is? Were they so unaquain∣ted in Arithmetick, that they knew not what the square roote of a number is, nor how it ought to be extracted? I dare not accuse such learned men of this nescience, much lesse of their ignorance in this kinde. Perhaps some of them through incogitancy, not rightly con∣sidering these words in the text, numerus enim hominis est, did thinke it unbeseeming the wise∣dome of God, and the majesty of the scriptures, to wrap up such divine mysteries in humane and heathenish inventions. True it is indeed, The extraction of the rootes of numbers is an humane, and perhaps an heathenish invention; but it is a lawfull, a profitable and an usefull in∣vention. It is the very ground, and foundati∣on of Arithmeticke and Geometry, and so ne∣cessary, and essentiall a part of these Sciences, that neither of them can well subsist without it. By it was found out that famous invention, for which it is said, that Pythagoras sacrificed Page  46 an Hecatombe unto the Gods; and why may not Christians finde out as great a mystery by it as ever Heathens did? Certainely if the wise∣dome of God will at any time vouchsafe to un∣lock this numbers mystery by any humane in∣vention, (as the words themselves seeme to in∣timate) there is none in respect of it selfe more probable, then this, by which so many, and so famous mysteryes have been, and dayly are re∣vealed. I say therefore, why doe not those la∣ter writers, which in part have rightly discern∣ed wherein the mystery of Gods number doth consist, extract the roote of 666 also? For had they extracted the square roote of this number of the beast, then had they truly endeavoured to interpret this number, after the same man∣ner, that they themselves do interpret that number, which is opposed unto it; then had they found out that number, which is mystical∣ly implied in 666, as 12 is in 144; then had they found out that number, which is chiefely in∣tended by 666, as 12 is by 144; then had they found out that nmber, which is the measure, number, and foundation, as well of that mate∣riall City, wherein Antichrist doth reside, as also of that state and government, by which he ruleth in it. For as the number 12 is not Page  47 onely exquisitely applicable to that ecclesiasti∣call government, and Hierarchy, which Christ did first institute in Hierusalem, but doth also describe, and measure the materiall City it selfe, as is partly above shewed: so the roote of the Beasts number, which is the number op∣posed to 12, is not only exquisitely and miracu∣lously applicable to that government, and Hie∣rarchy, which was by Antichrist first institu∣ted, but doth also describe, and characterize that materiall City, in which this government was first erected. And all this, by that which followeth shall be clearly and evidently pro∣ved.

But first, for as much as this opinion, which I shall here set downe, doth differ from all o∣ther in this respect, namely, in that it affirm∣eth, that the chiefe mystery doth not consist in the application of the number 666 unto Anti∣christ, but in finding out another number, by counting of this number, which other num∣ber is most properly, and most remarkably ap∣plicable unto him; I thinke it therefore necess∣ary not to passe over such proofes as the text it selfe affordeth for the full confirmation of this point, wherein the difference consisteth. For although it cannot be denied, but that the Page  48 like interpretation of the opposite number (as it is above shewed) is a strong, and violentpre∣sumption, why the Beasts number should be thus interpreted; yet the words of the text are so apposite, and do so necessarily inforce this interpretation, that I see not how it can bee pos∣sibly avoided, although there were no example in the Scripture for it.