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. 27. Objections answered concerning the fractions of the Root of 666. That the Root of 666 is more ex∣actly applicable to the Papacie then the root of any square number could have been.

HAving now, as I believe, sufficiently proved all that I have above promi∣sed concerning the application of the number twentie five unto the Papacie, both Page  181 in respect of such things as are essentiall to this application, and also in respect of such things as are perhaps only accidentally adventitious unto it: I come now to answer such generall objections as may be made against all that hath been yet said, & to shew that howsoever some things may be objected which seeme to make against this interpretation, yet they being duly considered and well examined, are a full con∣firmation of it; and doe open a doore to the finding out of as great, if not greater mysteries concerning the Papacie, as any of those which have been hitherto declared.

First, it may be objected concerning the root of the number 666, that the root is not precisely 25, but a surd number between 25 and 26; and that therefore if in this mystery the num∣ber 25 be chiefly aymed at, it is probable that the wisdome of God would have led us to the finding out of this number 25, rather by com∣manding us to count and extract the root of the number 625, then the number 666.

Secondly, supposing the root to be 25 (as it is most certaine that it is) it may be objected con∣cerning the number of the Colledge of the Cardinals at their first institution, that their number was not 25 but 26, because the PopePage  182 numbreth himselfe among the Cardinals, as he is Peters successour, in his Apostleship. And be∣cause he is a Cardinall and so accounted.*

To the first objection it might be replied, that although the root of 666, may in some sense be said to be a surd number; yet it is to have its denomination, not from any square number exceeding the number given, but from the greatest square number contained in the number 666, as it is above said, and as by those that have written of this part of Arithmaticke is sufficiently declared: yet if it be granted that roots of numbers may sometimes have their denomination, as well from the next square number exceeding the number given, as from the greatest square number contained in it: this doth rather confirme then prejudice the truth of this application, as it shall be anon declared.

To the second objection, it might be answe∣red, that as Christ was not numbred among the Apostles, nor properly was an Apostle, but was their Lord and Master, so the Pope, as he pre∣tends himselfe to be Ʋicarius Christi, is not, nor can be numbred among the Cardinals, but is their Lord and Master: but yet, as the Pope pre∣tends himselfe to be Successor Petri, (and that as well in his Apostleship, as in the Vicarship of Page  183 Christ) in this respect it is nothing prejudiciall to the application of the root of the number 666 to the Papacie, if it be granted that he may in some sort be numbred among them. For howsoever I say that these two objections may be thus briefly answered, yet J choose ra∣ther by admitting something to be true in ei∣ther, to shew how these two objections doe re∣ciprocally answer each other. For indeed ei∣ther of these objections is a full answer to the other; they are like two earthen vessels, of which if one be knocked against the other, both are dissolved. All that can be concluded from the first obiection is, that howsoever the root of 666 be expresly 25, that yet in some re∣spect it may be said to be 26, because some∣times, and in some cases, although not proper∣ly, roots of numbers may have their denomina∣tion, à numero quadrato simpliciter proximo, from the next square number, although it exceed, and be not contained in the number given. All that can be concluded from the second obiection is, that howsoever the first expresly decreed num∣ber of the Cardinals was 25, yet if the Pope be numbred among them, as in some respect he may and ought to be, that then that number may in some respect be said to have been 26, as Page  184 therefore the first obiection proveth the root of 666 to be expresly 25, and yet in some respect 26. So the second proveth the originall number of Cardinals to have been 25, and yet in some re∣spect 26. from both therefore it may be con∣cluded, that there is a greater similitude and likenesse between the root of 666, and the first number of that Colledge and Corporation which is Antichrist, then by any of those other things which are above said could have been conceived or imagined. For if the number of the Beast had been said to have been 625, the* root of which number is so 25, that it can in no respect be said to be 26. Then the Iesuits might with probability have alleaged, that S. Peter was numbred among the 12 Apostles, and that the Pope being his Successor actually is and ought to be numbred among the Cardinals, & that after the Popes death to testifie that he was still a Cardinall, it is one of the usuall ceremo∣nies at the Popes funerall, that a Cardinals hat should be painted upon his coffin: and that therefore the first originall number was 26, and not 25. Contrariwise, if the number of the Beast had been said to have been 676, the root of which number is so 26, that it can in no respect be said to be 25, then it would have been allea∣ged, Page  185 that the Pope is Vicarius Christi, and that as Christ was not numbred among the Apostles, so the Pope ought not to be numbred among the Cardinals: and that therefore the first de∣creed number by Marcellus was 25, and not 26: and against this objection J see not what could have been materially replied.

But the wisdome of God foreseeing all these difficulties and ambiguities, and intending to declare exactly the true number of the first foū∣dation of that Colledge of Cardinals, whereof the Pope is head, and knowing that it could not be foretold absolutely without ambiguity, by one number onely (because it is absolutely un∣possible to say truly, that that number was abso∣lutely in all respects 25, or that it was absolutely in all respects 26, for as the Pope is Vicarius Chri∣sti, so it was 25 and not 26. But as he is Succes∣sor Petri, and as he is numbred among the Cardinals, so it is 26 and not 25.) doth therefore set downe this number 666, that by our coun∣ting and extracting the root of this number he might lead us unto these two numbers the number 25, and the number 26, the last unities of both which numbers, are as two indivisible extreames and limits, without and beyond which, this number of Antichrists foundation▪ Page  186 is not found, and between which, the very am∣biguity of this numbers termination is in such an admirable manner contained and confined, that although it may in divers respects be said to be either of them; yet it can in no respect be said either to be any other number * without, or beyond them: or to be so between them, that it may be said to be neither of them. For as the root of 666 cannot be said to be any number which is greater then 26, nor to be any number which is lesse then 25, so neither can it be truly said, that it is neither 25; nor 26. But as the origi∣nall number of the foundation of that Col∣ledge was either 25, or 26, which way soever it be understood: so the root of 666 (considered as an absolute number in nudis essentialibus, as it ought to be) is one of these two numbers, take it which way you will. For if this number 666, be considered as it is an absolute number in it selfe, and as it is quantitas discreta onely, then the root of this number cannot at all be said to be between 25 and 26, either as medium participatio∣nis, or as medium abnegationis. Not as medium ab∣negationis, because it may be said to be either, & in divers respects (although not by equall pro∣priety of speech) to be both of the extreames: not as medium participationis, because in abso∣lute Page  187 numbers, unities immediatly succeeding each other, doe admit no latitude, either of ex∣tension, or denomination between them; and because all unities in absolute numbers are sim∣pliciter & absolutè indivisibiles, that is, such as cannot be divided into parts, either of the same, or of any other denomination. Wherefore as it is absurd and impossible, to say that the number of Cardinals at the first foundation of their Col∣ledge, was 25 Cardinals and halfe a Cardinall; or 25 Cardinals and three quarters of a Cardi∣nall: so is it as unproper and unpossible to say that the root of 666 (being considered in puris essentialibus, and as an absolute number) is 25 unities and halfe an unitie, or 25 unities & three quarters of an unitie. But as the root of this number is properly and expresly 25, and yet in some respect 26: so the number of Cardinals was properly and expresly 25, as it is above pro∣ved, and yet if the Pope be numbred among them, it may in that respect be said to be 26. For because such a number was chosen and expres∣sed to be the number of the Beast, as had a surd number for it's root, it is therefore certaine that the manner how the originall number of Car∣dinals was terminated, is ambiguous, and such as could not by one number onely be expressed. Page  188 For the choice of such a number as had a surd root, doth not make that which is certaine in it selfe, to be ambiguous unto us, but it makes the very ambiguity it selfe to be certaine, that is, it makes us certainly know, that although 25 should be the onely expresse and first decreed number of Cardinals; yet that the Pope himselfe (howsoever he be Primus in ordine and of ano∣ther denomination) may, and must in some re∣spect be numbred among them, and may, and must in some respect be excluded from them. And being the Pope must be numbred among them, as he is Successor Petri in his Apostleship, and must not be numbred among them, as he is Ʋicarius Christi, or as he is Successor Petri in his Vicarship of Christ, why may it not therefore be said, that the Root of this number doth fore∣tell, not onely the number of the Cardinals, but also, that the Pope should pretend himselfe to be, both Ʋicarius Christi, and Successor Petri. But however this may be, or seem to be too nice & intricate, yet I am perswaded that those few which fully understand what the surd root of a number is, and how it ought to be denomina∣ted, cannot but confesse that here is a strange & extraordinary similitude, between the * Papa¦cie in its first originall, and the root of the num∣ber Page  189 666; and perhaps the likenesse is so great, and so great, and so exquisite, that mans understanding is not able fully to cōprehend it, nor the tongues of Angels to expresse it. And thus much I con∣ceive to be sufficient to have said in way of an∣swer to such objections as are above mentio∣ned, and that a reason might be shewed, why it was neither possible nor convenient, that a∣ny perfect square number, could so perfectly characterise the Papacie, as some one of those numbers which are contained between the number 625, and the number 676. But yet it may be here farther added, that although the number 25 be simpliciter, and may be truly said to be the root of all those numbers which are contained between those two square numbers 625 and 676, yet the number 26, may secundùm quid, that is, in some respect, be also said to be the root of so many of those numbers as are neerer unto 676 then to 625, and for this reason it was most convenient, that the number of the Beast should be greater then the number * 650, and lesse then 676: that so taking proximum ve∣ro pro vero, it might in some respect, although not properly, be said to be 26. * But speaking properly and strictly, the root of 666, can be said to be no other Cardinall number but 25. Page  190 because Quod inest in dicitur de, & quod non inest in non dicitur de, that is, because it is to have it's denomination from the greatest square nū∣ber contained in the number 666, and not from that number which is not contained in it, as it is above declared.