The Life of St. Augustine continues, as Augustine confronts Donatists, Manichaeans, and Arians in public debate, and is led by the Holy Spirit to mess up a sermon.
There’s a lot that’s not pretty in these two parts. Clearly, there seems to have been some outrageous and dangerous stuff going on; but equally clearly, there’s something creepy about state prosecution of religious dissent. As Augustine found out, the hand of the state can also chill free discussion and thus stand in the way of changing people’s minds with argument. So there’s a lot to think about here.
On the other hand, the story of Augustine’s digression is very comforting. In the end, you really don’t have any idea how other people are going to take things; and the effect you have on people is not really under your control. However, God is quite capable of putting all kinds of stuff to use; and if you offer yourself to serve Him, He may very well put you to use in some very odd ways.