On each of the three mornings of the 3rd, 4th and 5th February 1651 John Reeve heard Jesus speak to him in an audible voice.
The message on the first morning was that:
"I have given thee understanding of my mind in the Scriptures, above all men in the world. Look into thine own body ; there thou shalt see the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of hell. I have chosen thee my last messenger for a great work, unto this bloody unbelieving world; and I have given thee Lodowick Muggleton to be thy mouth. I have put the two-edged sword of my Spirit into thy mouth, that whoever I pronounce blessed through thy mouth, is blessed to eternity ; and whoever I pronounce cursed through thy mouth, is cursed to eternity. If thou dost not obey my voice, and go wherever I send thee, to deliver my message, thy body shall be thy hell, and thy spirit shall be the devil that shall torment thee to eternity."
The message on the second morning was:
Go thou unto Lodowick Muggleton, and with him go unto Thomas Turner, and he shall bring you to one John Tane, and do thou deliver my message when thou comest there ; and if Lodowick Muggleton deny to go with thee, then do thou from me pronounce him cursed to eternity.
On the third morning the message was:
"Go thou unto Lodowick Muggleton, and take such a woman along with thee; and then go thou unto one John Robins, a prisoner in New Bridewell, and do thou deliver my message to him when thou comest there."
Muggleton went with Reeve and from that moment they received revelations such that they declared themselves the Two Witnesses as spoken of in the eleventh chapter of the book of Revelation.
The two prophets slowly gathered a following, and became sworn enemies of the Quakers whose doctrines they found to be abhorrent. The Muggletonians did not believe that spirit could be separated from the body, God was as a man in size and features and heaven was six miles above the earth. The sun and moon were no bigger than they looked from earth. Jesus was the man God, who left Moses and Elijah in charge of Heaven when he came to Earth. God takes no immediate notice of man, prayers and religious services being merely superstition. Reeve's first book "A Transcendent Spiritual Treatise" was published in 1652 followed by "A General Epistle from the Holy Spirit" in 1653, declaring the Commission and instructing all ministers to cease preaching on pain of damnation (as they did not hold a proper commission).
Both the Prophets were jailed for six months in 1654. During this ordeal "A Remonstrance From The Eternal God " was published. Reeve continued his writing and "The Divine Looking Glass" was published in 1656, shortly afterward Reeve fell sick and suffered a prolonged illness, however even in his ill health he continued to write both books and letters, publishing "Joyful News From Heaven" in 1658 shortly before his death in the same year. In 1706 many of Reeves unpublished works were published in the posthumous "Sacred Remains"
On the death of Reeve in 1658 Muggleton inherited the sole leadership of the movement and wrote several books setting out his message ("A True Interpretation of the Eleventh Chapter of the Revelation of Saint John" in 1662 and "A True interpretation of the Revelation of Saint John" in 1665) and in particular disputing with the Quakers ("The Neck of the Quakers Broken" in 1663), debating with both George Fox ("A Looking-Glass for George Fox" in 1668) and William Penn ("An Answer to William Penn" in 1673). Muggleton was especially active in writing letters to his disciples and the movement slowly grew, although its numbers never grew to number more than a few hundred at any one time.
Muggleton developed Muggletonian doctrine ("A True Interpretation of the Witch of Endor" in 1669 that courageously denounced the murderous pursuit of witches), he built on Reeve's proclamation that all ministers of religion were damned by including the three professions in such a verdict and developing a vitriolic hatred of the Scots. Muggleton's leading lieutenant (Clarkson) attempted to take control of the movement but was rebuffed and showed penitence to the end. A more serious revolt by Medgate and his (Scotch) allies was also crushed.
Muggleton was sent to the Stocks in 1676, a very disagreeable experience for someone in their mid 60's, but he continued to tend his flock with little desire to gain new converts, eventually departing this life in 1698 with his posthumous autobiography "The Acts of the Witnesses of the Spirit" being published in 1699. A further volume "An Answer to Isaac Pennington " written in 1669 was finally successfully published in 1719. The sect continued under the guidance of Muggletons disciples who took steps to republish the prophets writings in the following century with the letters of Muggleton and Reeve, collected with great care in by Alexander Delamaine being published in 1755 (As "A Volume of Spiritual Epistles") and a few further letters being published in "A Stream from the Tree of Life" in 1758. The membership was now largely located in the independent centers of London and Derby, the London Church being revitalised by the migration of the Frosts from Derby to London where the wealth created by their Brass Foundry bankrolled a huge republishing effort in the mid 19th century, including the publication of the prophets letters that were as yet still unpublished in a "Supplement to the Book of Letters" in 1831.
The vast efforts put into modernising the Church failed to expand membership and the sect shrank into obscurity, Alexander Gordon (a prominent Unitarian minister and academic) uncovered and wrote about the sect in 1869 and 1870 with sporadic further interest being shown into the early years of the 20th century. The London meeting room was destroyed in the blitz and the movement began to fade away, with the last known Muggletonian passing away in 1979. Luckily this was not before the archives of the Church (which he had rescued from the bombed out ruins of the meeting room) had been located and presented to the British Museum.
It was the hope of the Muggletonians that their doctrines would survive in print, and this aim has been achieved.
The Muggletonians were not orthodox Christians and cannot claim to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ. While it is true that there is no salvation outside the Church we all rest on the mercy of God for our salvation through the blood of his son Jesus Christ, a salvation that we do not earn or deserve by either works or doctrine.