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. 22. That the Popish Creed consists of twenty five Arti∣cles, as the Apostles doth of twelve.

I Come now unto the sixt and last point of application, which concerns the faith and doctrine professed by Antichrist, and the number of heads and Articles into which it is, or may be conve∣niently divided: and to this purpose I have al∣ready mentioned the Councell of Trent, (of which the acclamations above mentioned te∣stifie, saying; Haec est fides Beati Petri & Aposto∣lorum: Haec est fides Patrum: Haec est fides Ortho∣doxorum) Page  151 I have noted three things in which the number 25 is applicable unto it. First, con∣cerning the number of Prelates there assembled in the first Session, the History of the Councell of Trent, lib. 2. pag. 130. plainly testifieth that the number of all the Prelates then, and there as∣sembled, was 25. And although the number of Prelates was afterwards in other Sessions in∣creased, and continually altered, and changed; yet this first Session was that which gave nomen & esle to the Councell, and therefore the num∣ber of Prelates assembled in this Session is most remarkable, & rather to be observed then in a∣ny other.

Secondly, concerning the number of Sessi∣ons, and that the whole Councell is divided in∣to 25 Sessions, all editions of that Councell doe testifie, and the books themselves will be as a thousand witnesses untill the end of the world.

And lastly, it is witnessed by the same books also, that the number of Popish Archbishops, which subscribed to this Councell was 25, and although many other Bishops and Legates, and Abbats, & others subscribed also, yet the num∣ber of Archbishops is more remarkable then any of the rest, because, as Bishops (who ought chiefly, if not only to have decisive voices in ge∣nerall Page  152 Councells) are virtually and representa∣tively, their whole subordinate Clergie: so they themselves, especially in the Romish Hierarchie, are virtually and representatively contained in their Archbishops. It might be here, as I believe, truly added, that the number of all the Decrees of this Councell of Trent, was also 25. (I meane of such aDecrees as concerne matters of faith & reformation, which onely are to be accounted for the Decrees of the Councell, because these only were read and confirmed in this Councel, as appeareth by the last words of the last Sessi∣on) but because it is hard to set downe any one certain number of them, and because it is alrea∣dy proved by that which is above said, that the number 25 is more remarkable in this Councel then any one other number: therefore I passe now to that Creed and forme of profession of the Romish faith, which was composed by Pope Pius the fourth, according to the doctrine of the Councell of Trent, by which Creed it is evi∣dent that they have increased the number of the Articles of the faith from twelve unto twenty five, as by the Creed it selfe here written verba∣tim out of Pope Pius his Bull may evidently ap∣peare.

Page  153

1 Credo in unum Deum, patrem omnipotentem, fa∣ctorem Coeli & Terrae. visibilium omnium & in∣visibilium.*

2 Et in unum Dominum Iesum Christum, filium Dei unigenitum & expatre natum ante omnia secula; Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero, genitum non factum, con∣substantiolem patri, per quem omnia facta sunt.

3 Qui propter nos homines & propter nostram salutem descendit de Caelis, & incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto ex Maria Virgine, & homo fa∣ctus est.

4 Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato passus & sepultus est.

5 Et resurrexit tertiâ die secundùm Scripturas.

6 Et ascendit ad Coelum, sedet ad dextram patris.

7 Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vi∣vos & mortuos, cuius regni non erit finis.

8 Et in Spiritum sanctum Dominum, & vivifi∣cantem, qui expatre filio{que} procedit, qui cum pa∣tre & filio simul adoratur & conglorificatur, qui loquutus est per Prophetas.

9 Et unam sanctam Catholicam & Apostolicam Ecclesiam.

Page  15410 Confiteor unum Baptisma in remissionem pec∣catorum.

11 Et expecto resurrectionem Mortuorum.

12 Er vitam venturi saeculi Amen.

13 Apostolicas & Ecclesiasticas traditiones reli∣quas{que} ejusdem Ecclesiae observationes & consti∣tutiones firmissimè admitto & amplector.

14 Item sacram Scripturam juxta eum sensum, quem tenuit & tenet sancta mater Ecclesia (cu∣jus est judicare de vero sensu & interpretatio∣ne sacrarum Scripturarum) admitto; nec eam unquam nisi juxta unanimem consensum Pa∣trum accipiam & interpretabor.

15 Profiteor quo{que} septem esse verè & proprié sa∣cramenta novae legis à Jesu Christo Domino no∣stro instituta, at{que} ad salutem humani generis, licet non omnia singulis necessaria, scilicet Bap∣tismum, Confirmationem, Eucharistiam, Pani∣tentiam, Ordinem, Extremam Ʋnctionem, & Matrimonium, illa{que} gratiam conferre, & ex his Baptismum, Confirmationem, & Ordinem sine sacrilegio reiterari non posse.

16 Receptos quo{que} & Approbatos Ecclesiae Catho∣licae Ritus, in supradictorum omnium sacramen∣torum solenni administratione recipio & ad∣mitto.

17 Omnia & singula quae de peccato originali & Page  155 de justificatione in sacrosanctà Tridentiná Sy nodo definita, & declarata fuerunt, amplector & recipio.

18 Profiteor pariter in Missa, offerri Deo verum proprium & propitiatorium sacrificium pro vi∣vis & defunctis, at{que} in sanctissimo Buchari∣stiae sacramento, esse verè, realiter, & substanti aliter, corpus & sanguinem, unà cum anima •• Divinitate Domini nostri Iesu Christ; fieri{que} conversionem totius substantiae panis in corpus, & totius substantiae vini in sanguinem, quam conversionem Catholica Ecclesia, transubstan∣tiationem appellat.

19 Fateor etiam sub altera tantùm specie totum, at{que} integrum Christum verum{que} Sacramentum sumi.

20 Constanter teneo Purgatorium esse, animas{que} ibi detentas, fidelium suffragiis juvari.

21 Similiter & sanctos unà cum Christo regnantes venerandos, at{que} inrocandos esse: eos{que} orationes Deo pro nobis offerre at{que} eorum reliquias esse venerandas.

22 Firmissimè assero, Imagines Christi ac Daipa∣rae semper Ʋirginis, nec non aliorum sancto∣rum habendas & retinendas esse; at{que} iis debi∣tum honorem ac venerationem impertiendam.

23 Indulgentiarum etiam potestatem à Christo in Page  156 Ecclesia relictam fuisse, illarum{que} usum Christi∣ano populo maximè salutarem esse affirmo.

24 Sanctam Catholicam & Apostolicam Roma∣nam Ecclesiam omnium Ecclesiarum Matrem & Magistram agnosco, Romano{que} pontifici be∣ati Petri Apostolorum principis successori, ac Ie∣su Christi Vicario veram obedientiam spondeo ac juro.

25 Caetera item omnia â Sacris Canonibus & oecu∣menicis Conciliis, ac praecipuè à sacrosanctà Tri∣dentinâ Synodo tradita, desinita, & declarata, indubitanter recipio: at{que} profiteor simul{que} con∣traria omnia at{que} haereses quaseun{que} ab Eccle∣sia damnatas & rejectas & anathematizata ego pariter damno, rejicio, & anathematizo.

The words which follow next in the Bull, which are these, Hanc veram Catholicam fidem, &c. doe suppose and intimate that a perfect forme of the Catholike faith is premised and formerly declared; wherefore J suppose that it cannot be denied, either that this Creed endeth in this place, or that it is not aptly and fitly divi∣ded, and distinguished into 25 Articles. For sup∣posing the first part of this Creed, wherein we agree with the Papists, to be distributed into 12 Articles (as commonly it is, and as no man that is a Christian will deny) J doe upon this sup∣position Page  157 appeale unto any man, whether this whole Creed can with any tolerable conveni∣encie be distributed, either into a greater num∣ber of Articles, without separating such things as are in themselves united, or into a lesser, without confounding such things as are in themselves to be distinguished. If it be objected that the 12 Articles of the Christian faith ought not to be accounted as part of Antichrists Creed, and that this application would better fit Anti∣christ, if that addition onely which he hath made unto the Apostles Creed, either were, or conveniently might be divided into 25 Articles: J answer, that if Antichrist had added 25 Arti∣cles unto the Apostles Creed; then the number of Articles contained in the profession of his faith, would have been 37, and not 25. For it cannot be denied, that the Pope doth openly professe the 12 Articles of the Christian faith, nor proved that Antichrist ought not so to doe. But rather it is to be considered; that it is as great, if not greater impiety and presumption, to adde new Articles to the Christian faith, as wholy rejecting it, to erect another faith and religion. And that it more properly befits Anti∣christ, to deny the Christian faith ex consequenti and indirectly, then to renounce the externall Page  158 profession of it: for the mouth of Antichrist ought to be as a fountaine sending forth at the same place sweet waters & bitter, he is to have a forme of godlinesse, but to deny the power thereof; he is to pretend himselfe to be a Chri∣stian, and to be built upon the true foundation of the Apostles; but he is also to overthrow this foundation upon which, in some sort he is, and pretends himselfe to be built, by superinducing damnable doctrines, exconsequenti and indire∣ctly contradicting & denying that faith which he doth externally professe. The Divels them∣selves may make profession of the Christian faith, to the same end that Antichrist doth, that is, to deceive by it: and it is probable that the Divels doe more certainly know and believe, the historicall truth of the Creed, then some Popes have done. And lastly, the Papists them∣selves cannot deny, but their imaginary Anti∣christ (who shall be of the Tribe of Dan as they say) must believe, or at least prosesse himselfe to believe, so many of the Articles of the Creed, as the Iewes now doe, or as may be evidently proved out of the old Testament. By all which things it is evident, that the externall profession of the Christian faith, can no way priviledge the Pope from being that great Antichrist Page  159 which was to come into the world: but rather it may be truly said, that this externall professi∣on, is causasine qua non, such a thing as could not but concurre to his constitution. For as Anti∣christianisme consists of two parts, the one be∣ing an open, yet a fained and hypocriticall pro∣fession of the truth; the other a secret and indi∣rect, yet a reall and effectuall eversion of it: so this forme of the profession of the faith above mentioned, consisting of 25 Articles, of which 12 belong to the first part, and 13 to the second, may be fitly esteemed a perfect summe and character of Antichristianisme.