Miniature Volcanoes

Miniature Volcanoes


There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting (Acts 2:2). The same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up (Genesis 7:11).

Purpose of the Illustration

  1. To show that individuals carry within them volcanic capacities for either good or evil.

  2. To point out that the power of the Holy Spirit is able to start movements that will sweep the world.

  3. To prove that the weakest person, under the Spirit's volcanic power, may start a movement whose results will reach eternity itself.


  1. An old bread board, or a board or pan of similar

  2. A smaller board or pane of glass, and  a bottle
    or rolling pin with which to pulverize sugar and the


  1. Two heaping teaspoonfuls of granulated sugar.

  2. Two heaping teaspoonfuls of potassium chlorate.

  3. A few drops of concentrated sulphuric acid.

  4. A large pan full of dirt.

Method of Procedure

  1. On the board or pan build a large cone of dirt, about a foot in diameter at the base, and nine or ten inches high.

  2. At the top of the cone make a hole about an inch in diameter and two inches deep.

  3. Mix two teaspoonfuls each of the pulverized sugar and potassium chlorate.

  4. Pour this into the hole in the cone.

  5. Drop one or two drops of concentrated sulphuric acid into the sugar and potassium chlorate which fill the crater. If no acid is available you may light the mixture with a match.

Chemical Reactions

  1. This makes a beautiful display. The resultant chemical combination flows out of the crater, and down the sides of the miniature volcano.


  1. Pulverize the sugar and the potassium chlorate separately, and then mix. It is better to buy the chemical already pulverized, or have the druggist pulverize the crystals for you, since they may explode in the process.

  2. Be very careful with the sulphuric acid. A drop will burn your flesh or clothes quickly and deeply. A safe rule to follow in handling acids is to keep them off skin, clothes, etc. This applies whether acids are weak or strong, concentrated or diluted.

  3. Be sure that the board you use for the mound is large enough to catch all the chemical overflow or "lava" which is generated. If your cone is large enough the material thus created will be caught and held by it.

  4. Let me warn you that the dirt pile, if spilled, is very difficult to remove from carpets and floors. Care should always be taken with chemicals and other materials that they do not get out of hand and ruin furniture, floors, etc.

People are endowed with abilities of tremendous volcanic power. There is no measuring of the power that is latent in children, youths and adults. Capacities for reaching high fields of service if lives are given to Christ, or of descending to the dregs of iniquity if lives are given over to sin, are held in each personality. Build your mound. When a child starts out in life, no one knows whether this indwelling power will assert itself for good or evil.

As you talk proceed with the experiment step by step, but save the eruption until the end.

As an illustration let me tell you a story about a little Scottish girl who was forced to work in the mills. Her tasks were hard and she worked daily from ten to twelve hours. At night she would drag herself home, too exhausted to desire to eat the warm but plain food which her mother prepared. Her father was a drunkard and often when under the influence of liquor would beat her. Would anyone believe there was volcanic power for good in this meager life?

One day Christ entered this girl's life, saved her from her sins, and she became a diligent Christian. At first she worked in a small mission Sunday school in the vilest section of her city. As she grew older, her mill work became heavier, and her strength waned. However, she continued to dream of someday becoming a missionary to Africa. The Holy Spirit seemed to indicate that she should go to the West Coast, where the tribes were the most savage.

Finally through prayer and sacrifice the day arrived when the frail Scottish girl, Mary Slessor, was permitted to fulfill her childhood ambition, and she sailed for an out-of-the-way place called Okoyong. Here as the years passed, she yearned in her heart to go into the interior of Africa where the cannibals lived.

God granted this desire, and the woman who was afraid even of a mouse in Scotland, found herself surrounded with cannibals and the lowest type of savages. She was all alone, save for the presence of Him who said "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end . . ."

The capacities buried in her childhood heart burst forth into tremendous power, and in the end, Mary Slessor won the cannibals, tribe after tribe, until they departed from their evil ways and lived Christian lives. It was the power of Christ through the Holy Spirit that enabled Mary to win these heathen tribes.

Illustrations abound of insignificant people who have thus been empowered by the Holy Spirit for some noble achievement. God has great things for each of us to accomplish, if we will only give ourselves into His hands.

In England during the last century a young girl was born into a wealthy home. She had everything her heart could desire, was a friend of the queen and very illustrious people came to her father's home.

But from her earliest childhood, this girl wanted to be a nurse, and to give herself to the cause of making nursing a worthy profession for women. Her friends thought she was near insanity and her parents denounced her harshly. "I'd rather see you dead than be a nurse," her father said angrily.

But finally the girl, charged by Christ and urged by the Spirit, entered a small Christian hospital in Germany for a short training period. When the Crimean War broke out between England and Russia, no preparation had been made to care for the sick and wounded.

"Send Florence Nightingale!" cried the whole nation. "She is a woman nurse."

Florence wrote the minister of war, saying, "I am willing and ready to go."

She was sent with twenty or more nurses, and so volcanic her ability and so great the work she accomplished there that in the end she was asked to return to England and establish a nurse's training institute. This she did and it became the impetus for all the wonderful nurses' training work now carried on throughout the world. She was also a leading spirit in the formation of the Red Cross.

Today the world blesses the memory of Florence Nightingale, the little rich girl who wanted to be a nurse.

Your experiment is now ready for the eruption. Put the drops of concentrated sulphuric acid into the crater, or light the mixture with a match. As this small amount of sugar and potassium chlorate, set on fire by the acid, forms this beautiful and powerful volcanic action, so you have within your hearts, children and young people, capacities which the Holy Spirit can use to such an ex­tent that you will achieve for God what is called impossible.

The Holy Spirit takes a tiny amount of your character (illustrated by the sugar potassium chlorate) and by His power it bursts into such mighty action that you are able to achieve for God.  It has always been so.

On the other hand, if these capabilities are given over to sin and are charged by the power of evil, they are liable to send you to the dregs of perdition. That is the way criminals are made. Al Capone, the gangster of prohibition days, at one time was a Sunday school pupil in an Indiana town. But his abilities were given over to sin and he became the nation's leading criminal. His indwelling power, which the Holy Spirit could have used for God's glory, burst forth into all manner of evil.

Now is the day of salvation and this is the acceptable hour to let the Spirit come in, control your future, and make of you the man or woman God would have you to be. You can never measure the results of an insignificant life, if it is controlled, moved, charged, cleansed and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

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