Bede goes on:

This was the account he used to give of his experience: "A handsome

man in a shining robe was my guide, and we walked in

silence in what appeared to be a northeasterly direction. As we traveled

onward, we came to a very broad and deep valley of infinite

length... He soon brought me out of darkness into an atmosphere

of clear light, and as he led me forward in bright light, I saw before

us a tremendous wall which seemed to be of infinite length and

height in all directions. As I could see no gate, window, or entrance

in it, I began to wonder why we went up to the wall. But when we

reached it, all at once—/ know not by what means—we were on

top of it Within lay a very broad and pleasant meadow... Such

was the light flooding all this place that it seemed greater than the

brightness of daylight or of the sun's rays at noon...

"(The guide said) 'You must now return to your body and live

among men once more; but, if you will weigh your actions with

greater care and study to keep your words and ways virtuous and

simple, then when you die, you too will win a home among these

happy spirits that you see. For, when I left you for a while, I did

so in order to discover what your future would be.' When he told

me this I was most reluctant to return to my body; for I was

entranced by the pleasantness and beauty of the place I could see

and the company I saw there. But I did not dare to question my

guide, and meanwhile, I know not how, I suddenly found myself

alive among men once more."

Bede ends his account with these words:

This man of God would not discuss these and other things he had

seen with any apathetic or careless-living people, but only with

those who were ... willing to take his words to heart and grow in

holiness. 1

The skill of modern medical technology has added a new

and exciting dimension to the extent of the near-death experience;

many people have now been revived from "death," for

example, after accidents, heart attack, or serious illness, or in

operations or combat. The near-death experience has been the

subject of a great deal of scientific research and philosophical

speculation. According to an authoritative 1982 Gallup poll, an

extraordinary number of Americans—up to 8 million, or one

in twenty in the population—have had at least one near-death

experience. 2

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