Muggletonians a sect that arose in England about the year 1651, and of which the founders were John Reeve and Ludovic Muggleton (the latter born 1607, died March 14, 1697), both until 1651 obscure men. The former's profession is not at all known, and he lived but a little while after their public declaration as religionists. Muggleton was a journeyman tailor, and is depicted by his contemporaries with long, thin hair, low forehead, protruding brow, broad high cheek-bones, and what physiognomists would call the aggressive nose. These men claimed to have the spirit of prophecy, and that they had been appointed by an audible voice from God as the last and greatest prophets of Jesus Christ, and affirmed themselves to be the two witnesses of Revelation 11. Muggleton professed to be the "mouth" of Reeve, as Aaron was of Moses. They asserted a right to bless all who favored and to curse all who opposed them, and did not hesitate to declare eternal damnation against their adversaries. They favored the world with a number of publications. In 1650 Muggleton published his first paper, in which it was asserted "that he was the chief judge in the world in passing sentence of eternal death and damnation upon the souls and bodies of men; that in obedience to his commission he had already cursed and damned many hundreds to all eternity; that in doing this he went by as certain a rule as the judges of the land do when they pass sentence according to law; and that no infinite Spirit of Christ, nor any God, could or should be able to deliver from his sentence and curse." In another paper, published later, he insisted "that he was as true an ambassador of God, and judge of all men's spiritual estate, as any ever was since the creation of the world." He also declared himself above ordinances of every kind, not excepting prayer and preaching, rejecting all creeds and Church discipline and authority. The most remarkable of his papers is the one particularly directed to the Parliament and commonwealth of England, and to his excellency the lord general Cromwell, which was entitled A Remonstrance From the Eternal God. The consequence was that the prophets were declared " nuisances," and imprisoned in "Old Bridewell." Another remarkable publication was A General Epistle From the Holy Spirit, dated from "Great Trinity Lane, at a chandler's shop, over against one Mr. Millis, a brown baker, near Bow Lane End, London." A pretty full exposition of their doctrines they furnished in 1656 in their publication entitled The divine Looking-glass of the Third Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ, which makes the chief articles of their creed to have been confused notions of Gnostic heresies. Thus they taught that God has the real body of a man; that the Trinity is only a variety of names of God; that God himself came down to earth, and was born as a man and suffered death; and that during this time Elias as s his representative in heaven. They also held very singular and not very intelligible doctrines concerning angels and devils. The Evil One, they taught, became incarnate in Eve, and there is no devil at all without the body of man or woman; and that the devil is man's spirit of unclean reason and cursed imagination, and that this is the only devil we have now to fear. According to them the soul of man is inseparably united with the body, with which it dies and will rise again. The works of Ludovic Muggleton, with his portrait prefixed, were published in 1756, and A complete Collection of the Works of Reeve and Muggleton, together with other Muggletonian Tracts, was published by some of their modern followers in 1832 (3 volumes, 4to). A list of books and general index to Reeve's and Muggleton's works was published in 1846, royal 8vo. Among the works written against them are the following: The New Witnesses proved Old Heretics, by William Penn (1672, 4to); A true Representation of the absurd and mischievous Principles of the Sect commonly known by the
Name of Muggletonians (Lond. 1694, 4to). Muggleton succeeded in gathering a large number of followers, and at the time of his death (1697) the Muggletonians, as they called themselves, were largely scattered all over England. They subsisted in good numbers until the end of the first quarter of this century; but the census of 1851 showed no trace of them, and they are supposed to be now wellnigh extinct. In 1868 one of the most eminent of the sect in modern times, Mr. Joseph Gander, died, and the London papers then announced that with him expired the Muggletonians. He had sustained a place of worship for a few of like mind with himself. Mr. Gander is spoken of as a "sincere member of the sect called Muggletonians for upwards of sixty years." Muggleton himself lies buried in Spinningwheel Alley, Moorfields, with the following inscription over his tomb:
"While mausoleums and large inscriptions give Might, splendor, and past death make potents live, It is enough briefly to write thy name. Succeeding times by that will read thy fame; Thy deeds, thy acts, around the world resound, No foreign soil where Muggleton's not found." See Chamberlain, Present State of England (1702), page 258; Transact. of the Liverpool Lit. and Phil. Society, 1868-70; Stoughton, Ecclesiastes Hist. of England (Ch. of the Restor.), 2:208; Evans, Dict. of Sects, etc.; Hunt, Religious Thought of England, 1:241.