The Romans held off Hannibal in three battles, but then Hannibal smashed a succession of Roman consular armies. By this time Hannibal's brother Hasdrubal Barca sought to cross the Alps into Italy and join his brother with a second army. Hasdrubal managed to break through into Italy only to be defeated decisively on the Metaurus River .  Unable to defeat Hannibal on Italian soil, the Romans boldly sent an army to Africa under Scipio Africanus to threaten the Carthaginian capital. Hannibal was recalled to Africa, and defeated at the Battle of Zama .
So the preliminary question is this: Why should we think that bosom-burning is a reliable way of determining truth? We can’t use bosom-burning to answer this question, because that would just beg the question (. assume precisely what it is we are trying to determine). The evidence suggests that bosom-burning is affected greatly by the power of suggestion. When Mormons come to the door and suggest bosom-burning as a means of determining whether Mormonism is true, a higher percentage of persons will bosom-burn in the Mormon direction. But when other sects come to the door and use the same method (even if not the same terminology), a higher percentage of person will ‘feel led by God’ to join those other [non-Mormon] sects. All this implies that the method itself is a not a reliable way of determining truth, but is a psychological tool to get people to follow their own feelings while making them believe that it is not their own feelings that they are following but the leading of the Spirit. (They don’t stop to ask, “If this were just my feelings, and not the Spirit, how would I know?” They can’t answer that question, because the method prevents the person using it from discovering his error.)
The rulings (‘canons’) of the first council of Christian leaders to survive provide more insight into the Christianity of this period. Held in the obscure Andalusian town of Elvira, the council shows us a world in which the gathered church leaders found it necessary to legislate against a large number of mundane activities that they determined were prejudicial to Christian wellbeing. The council decided, for instance, to forbid the holding of certain kinds of public office (such as the office of duumvir , effectively the local mayor, as the role might require inflicting punishment or abusing other Christians). What this tells us is that Christians were integrated into the fabric of social and political life, serving in public office, and so forth. Clearly, both Christians and non-Christians found that integration quite normal – Christians had come a long way since the days of the last persecution.