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Muggleton, Lodowicke

Lodowicke Muggleton, 1609–98, English religious leader, a journeyman tailor. With his cousin John Reeve, also a tailor, he founded a new sect, whose adherents were known as Muggletonians. In 1652, Muggleton and Reeve claimed to have been appointed by revelation as the two witnesses of Rev. 11.3, Reeve as the messenger and Muggleton as his mouthpiece in declaring a new spiritual dispensation. They denied the doctrine of the Trinity, teaching that God came on earth to die and left Elijah to be his vice regent in heaven. They held that God had a human body, that Eve was the incarnation of the evil spirit, and that the sun travels around the earth. Both Reeve and Muggleton were imprisoned (1653) for blasphemy; the former died in 1658. Their doctrines gained a number of adherents, and the sect did not die out until about the middle of the 19th cent. An autobiography of Muggleton is included in the posthumously published Acts of the Witnesses (1699).

See The Works of J. Reeve and L. Muggleton (ed. by J. Frost and I. Frost, 3 vol., 1832).

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Muggletonians

Muggletonians, or ‘believers in the third commission’, were the followers of Ludowicke Muggleton (1609–98) and his cousin John Reeve (1608–58), the recipients in 1651–2 of revelations for which Reeve was to be the messenger and Muggleton the mouthpiece. Their denial of the Trinity, their claim to be the two witnesses of Revelation 11, and such beliefs as that heaven's government was left to Elijah during the incarnation led to Muggleton's conviction for blasphemy in 1653–4 and again in 1677, and to the controversies with quakers reflected in William Penn's New Witnesses Proved Old Heretics (1672). Their followers survived into the 19th cent. with a reading room in London, but neither preaching nor worship except readings of the founder's writings.

Clyde Binfield

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Muggletonian

Muggletonian a member of a small Christian sect founded in England c.1651 by Lodowicke Muggleton (1609–98) and John Reeve (1608–58), who claimed to be the two witnesses mentioned in the book of Revelation (Revelations 11:3–6).

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