XXIII. (112) These, then, are the ordinances which were established respecting marriage, and respecting what greatly resembles marriage, the procreation of children. But since destruction follows creation, Moses also gave the priests laws relating to death, {12}{#le 23:1.} commanding them not to permit themselves to be defiled in respect of all people whatsoever, who might happen to die, and who might be connected with them through some bond of friendship, or distant relationship: but allowing them to mourn for six classes only, their fathers or their mothers, their sons of their daughters, their brothers or their sisters, provided that these last were virgins; (113) but the high priest he absolutely forbade to mourn in any case whatever; and may we not say that this was rightly done? For as to the ministrations which belong to the other priests, one individual can perform them instead of another, so that, even if some be in mourning, still none of the usual observances need be omitted; but there is no one besides the high priest himself, who is permitted to perform his duties instead of him; for which reason, he must always be kept free from all defilement, never touching any dead body, in order that, being always ready to offer up prayers and sacrifices on behalf of the whole world at suitable seasons, he may continue to fulfil the duties of his office without hindrance. (114) And otherwise too, besides this consideration, the man who has been assigned to God, and who has become the leader of his sacred band of worshippers, ought to be disconnected with, and alienated from, all things of creation, not being so much the slave of the love of either parents, or children, or brothers, as either to omit or to delay any one of those holy actions, which it is by all means better should be done at once; (115) and God commands the high priest neither to rend his clothes over his very nearest relations when they die, nor to take from his head the ensign of the priesthood, nor in short to depart from the holy place on any plea of mourning, that, showing proper respect to the place, and to the sacred ornaments with which he himself is crowned, he may show himself superior to pity, and pass the whole of his life exempt from all sorrow. (116) For the law designs that he should be the partaker of a nature superior to that of man; inasmuch as he approaches more nearly to that of the Deity; being, if one must say the plain truth, on the borders between the two, in order that men may propitiate God by some mediator, and that God may have some subordinate minister by whom he may offer and give his mercies and kindnesses to mankind.