"AND so you mean to follow the sea?" said old Dr. Williams to Ned.

"Yes. Father says I may sail with 'The Osprey ' on her next voyage," answered Ned, with a pleased look.

"And you sail your yacht, meanwhile, to keep your hand in?" said the doctor, looking at the toy he had taken from Ned. "It's a pretty little craft, and well put together; but it lacks a rudder, Ned."

"I know that, but it is going to have one all right. You don't suppose I'd put to sea without a rudder, do you? The yacht is not furnished yet, sir."

Ned looked at the doctor with a very confident air, as of one who knew quite well what he was about; and the doctor looked back at him with a grave smile:

"I see you understand what your boat needs, my boy. I wonder if you know as well what your own outfit should be?"

"Well, I guess I do;" and Ned rattled over a list of things that belong to a seaman's chest. The doctor listened to him attentively.

"There's a rudder lacking, I'm afraid," he said, when Ned had finished.

"A rudder! How can you carry a rudder in your kit?"

"What is the use of a rudder?" asked the doctor.

"Why, to steer by, of course."

"Just so. And a man wants something to steer by as well as a ship. The Bible is a rudder, Ned, and chart and compass besides. It's an anchor, too, of hope and dependence. They that go down to the sea in ships and see the wonders of the great deep, can the very least of all afford to do without it."

Ned looked down and blushed a little. "I s'pose I can take a Bible along," he said rather uneasily.

"I thought I would bring you one," said the doctor, taking out a neat pocket-Bible. "I've put your name in it, and I want you to promise me that you'll steer by your rudder. The ship that doesn't mind her helm is in a bad way; but the boy that drifts about here and there, with nothing to shape his course, is in a much worse one. Remember that, Ned."

It was a word in season, fitly spoken. 

The boy had heard the same before, but it reached his heart now with a different meaning. He took the doctor's Bible and gave his promise; kept it, too, in spite of many a sneer and many a temptation. "The Osprey" went on a long voyage. She met storm and disaster, and often, in the face of hardship and danger, Ned's "rudder" served him well strengthened his courage, renewed his hope, led him to believe that all would be well, since God was at the helm.

On land or on sea, there is no soul that can keep in the right track without the same blessed guide. 

The Little Sower.