John G. Lake’s Reading List

The following are snippets from Lake’s sermons and writings, each one pointing to a particular book or author.

If you got here by mistake, our more concise list of Lake’s reading list is available here.

Sadhu Sundar Singh: Called of God, by (Mrs. Arthur) Rebecca Jane Parker

“I have been reading one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. It is written by an English lady, Mrs. Parker, a missionary to India, and describes the life and teaching and mission of one Sadhu Sundar Singh, an Indian Sadhu.” —John G. Lake

John Alexander Dowie

Concerning John Alexander Dowie, he says: “Personally, I received my ministry in the gospel of healing through John Alexander Dowie, a man whom I have loved with all my soul. And though in his later life he became broken in mind and committed many foolish things, so that discredit for a time was brought upon his work, I knew him from the beginning until the day of his death. I have gone to his grave since I have returned to this land, and as I have thought over that wonderful life, I have prayed in the silence of the night time, “Lord God endue me with the Spirit of God in the measure that you did that life.” —John G. Lake

George B. Watson

“Later in my life I came under the ministry of George B. Watson, of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, who taught with more clearness and better distinction between the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and sanctification, and I entered into a richer life and a better experience. A beautiful anointing of the Spirit was upon my life.” —John G. Lake

Maria Woodworth-Etter

Maria Woodworth-Etter is mentioned copiously throughout the sermons of Lake, kindly referred to as “Mother Etter.” We do not quote Lake in this instance, as he mentioned Mother Etter and her ministry multiple times.

Frank N. Riale and S. L. Brengle

“Frank N. Riale, a secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Education of New York, with sixty-three universities and colleges under his control and supervision, is the author of a remarkable book, The Sinless, Sickless, Deathless Life, in which he recounts in a chapter entitled “How the Light and the Fire Fell” the marvelous story of his own conversion. He was a minister of the Gospel and a graduate of Harvard. He found his Lord at the hands of an Indian in Dakota. He tells of the light of God that came to his soul in sanctifying power through the ministry of a Salvation Army officer, Colonel Brengle. He related his marvelous healing, when a diseased and dying wreck, through the reading of a religious tract on healing and his experience in seeing many healed of all manner of diseases by the power of God. You are a Presbyterian, my Brother. You need not go out of your own Church for the truth of God concerning healing.” —John G. Lake

William Seymour

“I do not believe that any other man in modern times had a more wonderful deluge of God in his life that God gave to that dear fellow. Brother William Seymour preached to my congregation, to ten thousand people, when the glory and power of God was upon his spirit, when men shook and trembled and cried to God. God was in him.” —John G. Lake

Henry Drummond

“Henry Drummond, I believe it is, in his Greatest Thing in the World gives an illustration that is so fitting. He says that he visits at a friend’s home. He finds that he and his wife have lived together in the most beautiful unity for many years. But a friend of his is still anxious that he shall be a strict observer of the law, and he sits down and writes a code of rules for the government of this man and wife who have always lived together in unity. He says, “Thou shalt not kill her. Thou shalt not bear false witness against her. Thou shalt not steal from her” and so on through the other commandments. He takes it up and laughs. Of what value is such a code to him? Has he not for all the years past been giving to his wife his heart’s affection that makes it impossible for such things to enter his soul? And there is just that much difference between the Christian standard and the standard of the law.” —John G. Lake

Brother Lawrence

“I want to read a series of portions of Scriptures this morning, with this one general thought in view, the presence of Christ. Some of you may have read a little booklet by an old monk, whose name was Brother Lawrence, It is called ‘Practicing the Presence of Christ.'” —John G. Lake

David Wesley Myland

“There are times when it seems to me it is not fitting even to pray. There is a life of praise. Once while in conversation with Dr. Myland, the pastor of the Christian and Missionary Alliance Church at Columbus, Ohio, I happened to mention the fact that I had not prayed concerning a certain personal matter. Turning to me he said. ‘I have not prayed for myself for four years.’ That sounded very strange to me at the time. I did not understand. He said, ‘No, I passed beyond the place of praying, brother, into the place where I am ready to accept what the Lord Jesus Christ has wrought and to receive the power of His Spirit in my life so that the thing that He has wrought for me should become evident through me.’ And that man had walked for four years in the conscious victory.” —John G. Lake

Mrs. C. L. Goodenough

Upon our arrival, as we stepped ashore, observed a little woman bustling up, whom I instantly recognized to be an American. She stepped up to Tom and said, “You are an American missionary party?”

He replied, “Yes.”

“How many are there in your party?”


“No,” she said, “you are not the family. Is there any other?”

He said, “Yes. Mr. Lake.”

Turning to me, she said, “How many are in your, family?”

I answered, “My wife, myself, and seven children only.”

“Oh,” she said, “you are the family.”

“What is it, madam?”

“While in prayer last night, God told me to meet, this boat, and there would be upon it an American missionary with a family of nine, consisting of two adults and seven children, and that I was to give them a home.”

At 3 o’clock that same afternoon, we were in a furnished cottage in Johannesburg. God had provided the home for us.

Our beloved benefactor was an American missionary, Mrs. C. L. Goodenough. She remained our beloved friend and fellow worker in the Lord.

And that is how we got to Africa.

Thomas à Kempis, William Law, and John and Charles Wesley

At one time in the world’s history ethics was exalted above inward experience as though purity of heart was caused by holy living. This has been the great error. At another time inward experience was exalted above ethics as though purity of heart existed independent of holy living. For two hundred years the pendulum has swung, first to the one extreme, then to the other. Both of these theories come of limited one-sided views of Christianity; the former obtained before the Wesleyan reformation. Thomas à Kempis in his book, “The Imitation of Christ,” was the first great teacher of holy living. Excepting the Bible, this book is declared to have been translated more often and more widely read than any other book. It is said to have reached five hundred editions. This book was published in the latter half of the Fourteenth century. In 1650, Bishop Jeremy Taylor published his “Holy Living and Dying.” This followed in the line of “The Imitation of Christ.”

Following Jeremy Taylor’s “Holy Living and Dying,” seventy-five years later, came William Law’s “Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life,” and his “Practical Treatise Upon Christian Perfection.”

These books are the foundation of the teaching of holy living and are written from the standpoint of Christian ethics. They emphasize purity of heart, but fail to particularize the act of faith by which the heart is cleansed from sin…

They bent their force upon holy living and this left the impression that purity of heart would result from holy living. Influenced by these books, John and Charles Wesley in 1729 followed after holiness and incited others to do so.

In 1737 they saw likewise that men are justified before they are sanctified (Methodist Discipline, page 13). Here it appears that John Wesley aimed at holy living for eight years before he ever saw that he must be first sanctified by the blood of Jesus before he could be holy either in heart or life. How many of us have made the same error? How many of us have tried and tried to live a holy life with the old nature of sin still in our breast. When the heart is purified from all sin then the outer life will manifest it.

Is it any wonder that people failed when the author of “Holy Living and Dying” did not even profess justification. He says on pages 292-293, “A true penitent must all the days of his life pray for pardon and never think the work completed until he dies…and whether God hath forgiven us of no, we know not.” In the face of this teaching, the clear cut teaching of John Wesley on the nature of entire sanctification wrought in an instant by a divine act conditioned alone upon a specific act of sanctifying faith in the Blood of Christ, followed by endless growth in holiness of heart and life, stands forth in marvelous grandeur. In fact, for putting the clear evenly balanced, well-rounded, all-including, ever-abounding scriptural holiness, John Wesley has no equal. With him as with us, holiness was “having the mind of Christ” and walking as Christ also walked, even having not some part only but all the mind which was in him and walking as he walked, not only in many or most respects, but in all things, so that the purpose of God is really made a fact in our lives (see Ephesians 1:4).