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[p. 13] active service in the Christian ministry was an even fifty years, to twenty-three churches. As the ‘time limit’ was extended to three and again to five years, we find his terms three and four years, one a return to a former charge, and his last a four-year one. This certainly proves his ability and effectiveness. At the conference of 1901 he took a retired relation, making his home among his latest parishioners of the Linden church of Malden. He is now the oldest member of the New England Conference and was present and participated in the exercises of laying the corner-stone when the Medford church he served fifty years before erected their fourth house of worship in 1905. During his second year at Medford, after some improvements in the second house, efforts were made to procure an organ. The indefatigable Ladies' Aid Society sponsored the enterprise (see Register, Vol. XII, p. 91) by holding a ‘Fair and Levee’ in Town Hall December 30, 1856, and secured an excellent pipe organ that served till the larger new building was erected in 1873. But one of the witty speakers at the ‘Levee’ still insisted that the Best organ was at the other end of the meeting house. When, during the Civil war, Mr. Best was stationed at Milford, Mass., an incident occurred which must have been a happy surprise to him: While making a call on one of his aged parishioners, the good lady asked of the country of his birth, and he replied, ‘Yes, I am—or was —an Irishman, born in 1824 in Newry, near Belfast. Four of us became ministers, three Methodists, one of the Church of Engand.’ Then he added that he was now ‘an American of the Americans,’ and happy in his work. Then she said, ‘God bless thee, I have something for thee,’ and placed in his hands a little book she had long highly prized, and told its story. It was a Bible once owned and used by Reverend John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist Church. During his first visit to Ireland a young man there became interested in personal religion and later himself preached the gospel.
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