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world. For an attestation of this opinion he brings forward a case in which Pope Boniface VIII. commended by the number six those decretals which he perfected in the proem of the sixth book, “ Which booke (sayeth hee) being to be added vnto fiue other bookes of the same volume of Decretals, wee thought good to name Sextum the sixt: that the same volume by addition thereof conteining a senarie, or the number of sixe bookes (which is a number perfect) may yeeld a perfect forme of managing all things, and perfect discipline of behauiour.” *
Huthmannus and Zacharias Portzigius have imagined that the letters X&s, which stand for the number 666, may be also designed to point out the initials of Antichrist's name or actions. The example given by the former is Χριςόν ξενίζοντα saugūs, † “ crucifying the hospitable Christ;" and
* See L. Tomson's English Bible in loc. Amstel. 1633.
+ This mode of solving a mystery, by means of the initial let. ters contained in it, is called by the Rabbins Notaricon, and was sometimes used among the Greeks, as is evident in the Pseudosibylline oracles, where the following lines are made upon the game of our first father : • Autos eds to l' ó trácas. Tetpay pouzu a tov 'Adalhin ..: . Τον πρώτον πλασθέντα, και ούνομα πληρώσαντα
'Aytoniny Te, dúovy , deonu opiar te, xai ápxtóv.
Ortus, Occasus, Austrum, Boreamque rigentem. For that God formed the four-lettered Adam, who was first formed, and comprehends in his name, the East, the West, the
that of the latter is Xgesouáxos Eutels sepavopógos, " the shaved opposer of Christ, wearing the crown.”
The opinion of C. A. Heumannus upon the number 666 is truly singular. He says, “ the mark and character of the Beast is Xes. This" he adds “is not to be taken in the literal sense, as if the number 666 were intended; but the solution of the ænigma is as follows: the false prophet has on his front and back the appearance of a Christian, (for X is the first letter of the name of Christ, and s is the last, or rather the first letter of the second syllable,) and he will be accounted a guide of the Christian church, and boasts himself to be the Vicar of Christ. But the snake lie's concealed in the grass, i. e. he has the Ę (which is the figure of the serpent or devil, Apoc. xii. 9. and xx. 2.) in the middle, as if in his belly, or within his skin. The serpent, therefore, or the devil, animates him, governs him, speaks through him, and kills the saints." *
South, and freezing North.” See Oracul. Sibyl. Lib. ii. or ii. and Bibliothecâ Patrum, Tom. VIII. The above is more clearly explained by Cyprian in his treatise upon the mountains of Sioni and Sinai; and by Augustine in his ninth and tenth Dissertations upon John. The East is called by the Greeks 'Avaton, the
West Δύσις, the North 'Αρκτός, and the South Μεσημβρία. The initials of these words evidently make the word 'Adaply the name of the first man. See Iren. adv. Hæreses, p. 164, note 1.
* Signum bestiæ et character est Xes'. Hoc non est capien. dum sensu literali, quasi numerus 666 denotetur. Sed hæc est hujus ænigmatis mens: pseudopropheta ille à fronte et à tergo speciem præbet Christianismi (X enim est prima litera nominis
Irenæus gives it as his opinion that the number of Antichrist was prefigured by the age of Noah at the deluge, connected with the height and width of Nebuchadnezzar's image. “For,” says he," that image which was erected by Nabuchodonosor had indeed the height of sixty, and the width of six cubits, which image Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, refused to worship, and were consequently cast into a furnace of fire, prophesying, by what happened to them, the burning of the saints which is to take place towards the end of the world. For the whole of this image was a prototype of the coming of him who should command himself to be worshipped by all. The six hundred years, therefore, of Noah, in whose time the deluge happened because of apostasy, and the number of the cubits of that image through which the just were thrown into a furnace of fire, point out the number of the name of that man in whose person will be concentrated all the apostasy, injustice, wickedness, falseprophecy, and deceit, of six thousand years; and
Christi, et s est ultima ejus litera, vel, si mavis, s et prima litera secundæ syllabæ nominis Christi,) et vult haberi pro Duce Ecclesiæ Christianæ, seque jactat esse Vicarium Christi ; verum latet anguis in herba, h. e. in medio; et quasi in ventre suo, sive intus et in cute habet tò Ę, quæ est figura Serpentis, i. e. Dia. boli, Apocalyps. xii. 9. et xx. 2. Serpens igitur, sive Diabolus, animat eum, et gubernat, per eumque loquitur et Sanctos occidit. See Wolfius in Apoc. xjii. 18. and Biblioth. Bremense, Class I. pp. 864, 869.
on account of which impieties the fire shall succeed the deluge.” *
M. Testard, of Blois in France, entertained the following opinion of the number 666 ; viz. “That the number of 666 ariseth from the multiplication of 3 unites joyned together, making up the number of III. That these three unites set forth the three offices of Christ, which pertain to him incommunicably, and distributively, and conjoyntly considered: in' which consists particularly his Antichristianism. And this multiplication produceth the number of 666; as also the multiplication of
* Illa enim quæ fuit à Nabuchodonosor instituta imago, altitudinem quidem habuit cubitorum sexaginta, latitudinem autem cubitorum sex: propter quam et Ananias, et Azarias, et Misael, non adorantes eam, in caminum missi sunt ignis, per id quod eis evenit, prophetantes eam, quæ in finem futura est justorum succensio. Universa enim imago illa præfiguratio fuit hujus adventûs, ab omnibus omnino hominibus ipsum solum decernens ado. rari. Sexcenti itaque anni Noë, sub quo fuit diluvium propter apostasiam, et numerus cubitorum imaginis, propter quam justi in caminum ignis missi sunt, numerum nominis significat illius, in quem recapitulatur sex millium annorum omnis apostasia, et injustitia, et nequitia, et pseudoprophetia, et dolus : propter quæ et diluvium superveniet ignis.
The Greek of the preceding translation, which is extant, is as follows: Μέχρις ου και του Ναζεχοδονόσωρ αναςαθείσα είκων, ήτις ύψος μέν είχε πηχών εξήκοντα, εύρος δε πηχών 5 --ολη γαρ η εικών εκείνη προτύπωσις ήν της του αντιχρίσε παρεσίας:
- τα ούν χ έτη του Νώε, εφ' ου κατακλυσμός εγένετο δια την αποφασίαν, και ο πηχισμός της εικόνος, - -- τον αριθμών, ως είρηται, σημαίνεσι, του ονόματος, εις ον συγκεφαλαιούται των ς', ετών πάσα αποφασία - και αδικία, και πονηρία, --
Iren. adv. Hæreses, Lib. v. cap. 29, pp. 446, 447.
12 by 12, which is the apostolical number, produceth the 144000.” *
Some authors, among whom Francis Potter, B.D. is chiefly conspicuous, have offered a very ingenious interpretation of the number 666. The foundation upon which it is laid is, that the number of the Beast is an artigobyíc to the number of the virgin company and New Jerusalem, which represent the true and apostolic church, whose number is always derived from twelve. As this interpretation has been so highly esteemed by the greatest divines of the seventeenth century, I shall, therefore, examine Dr. Potter's dissertation upon it in very minute detail, as it is the most elaborate yet given upon the number of the Beast. This author maintains, that as the number 144 mystically designates the church and kingdom of Jesus Christ, and is sacred and mysterious only in its reference to the number twelve, which is the square root of it, and upon which it is founded; so, likewise, the number 666 is only mysterious (reasoning ex adverso respondentia) in its reference to 25, the greatest whole number contained in its root. This being allowed, he goes on to inform us, that as 144, the square of 12, represents the whole church founded upon the holy hierarchy of the Twelve Apostles ; so also, 666 represents the whole Antichristian empire of the Papacy founded upon the Antichristian hierarchy. To make good
* Mede's Works, pp. 792, 793, Edit. Lond. 1662.