Risk, Wesley (1822-1848)

Transcription of obituary published in the Primitive Methodist Magazine by William Clemitson

WESLEY RISK was born at Paisley, in Scotland, in the year 1822. Early in life his mind was much impressed with Divine things, and occasionally he poured out his soul to God in prayer, before he had passed from death unto life. On one occasion, when his mother and he were confined at home through domestic affliction, and his father and brother were in a public place of worship, he said, “Mother, the Lord can bless us here while he is blessing those who are assembled in his house;” then he bowed his knees, earnestly prayed that God would comfort his mother and himself, and the Divine presence was sweetly experienced. From those snares which: entangle most of the youth who are without religious training, he was happily preserved; but, convinced that his nature was depraved, and that it must be changed before he could enjoy the felicities of heaven, he penitently and believingly sought the Saviour, and was rendered happy in the assurance that God had forgiven his transgressions, and made him “a new creature.” This change was effected through the agency of the Primitive Methodists, and its genuineness was evinced by his exemplary life. Though he had to work with ungodly men, he refused to participate in their follies, and was enabled to let his Christian light shine brightly before them. Their wrongs he reproved meekly, their jeers he patiently bore, and, by singing hymns, reading the Scriptures and other good books, and uplifting his heart to the throne of grace in prayer, he testified that his “life was hid with Christ in God.” Sabbath-schools generally held a high place in his estimation, but the scholars and teachers of the school to which he belonged shared largely in his affection.

In December, 1839, he received appointments on the preachers’ plan of his circuit, and acceptably and usefully he pointed sinners to the Saviour until the year 1841, when he was called to the itinerancy in the Hexham circuit. Afterwards he laboured in the Ripon, Whitehaven, and Durham circuits; and the Lord rendered him useful in the conversion of souls in each station. Believing that his physical power was insufficient for the work of a Primitive Methodist Travelling Preacher, he located, in the year 1844, and his preaching efforts were afterwards confined to the Sunderland and Durham circuits. The doctrines of the fall, of general redemption, of repentance and faith in Christ, and of regeneration, had a prominent share of his pulpit attention; and the solemn and impressive manner in which he enforced them, rendered him generally useful. Against the neglect of appointments he had a strong aversion, and tried to convince others of its deep culpability. Partial indisposition and inclemency of weather were trifling considerations with him when viewed in contrast with the worth of souls and the consequences that might depend on the delivery or neglect of a single sermon. To our Connexional institutions he was much attached; especially did he love our liberal polity, which is, in his view, well prepared to meet the improved condition which society will ere long attain.

His last sermon was preached at Chester-le-Street, on November 5th, 1848, from the text, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” and unusual power accompanied his word. On the morning of the 6th, he was remarkably happy and cheerful, and sung several hymns. Business required him to take a journey into the country; and being rather late in leaving home, he incautiously attempted to step upon a moving coal-waggon, on the Stanhope Railway, and was precipitated under the wheels, and instantly killed. Thus, he who had healthily left his wife and home but a few minutes previously, was borne back a corpse. How important the injunction of the Saviour—“Be ye therefore also ready; for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh!” This solemn event was improved at Chester-le-Street by brother William Brining, and at Paisley by brother Loxton; and at the latter place two souls were brought to God. May the widow of the deceased be comforted under her heavy bereavement!


Wesley was born in 1822 at Paisley, Scotland.

The 1841 census return records Wesley as a local preacher at Hexham, Northumberland.

He married Sarah Maude in the spring of 1845 at Chester le Street, Co. Durham. They had a child born in the summer of 1849 that died within 3 months.

Wesley died on 6 November 1848 at Chester le Street, Co. Durham.


  • 1841 Ripon
  • 1842 Penrith
  • 1843 Whitehaven
  • 1844 Durham
  • 1845 ceased


Primitive Methodist Magazine 1849/449

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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