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[276] As for the priests, he prescribed to them a double degree of purity 1 for he restrained them in the instances above, and moreover forbade them to marry harlots. He also forbade them to marry a slave, or a captive, and such as got their living by cheating trades, and by keeping inns; as also a woman parted from her husband, on any account whatsoever. Nay, he did not think it proper for the high priest to marry even the widow of one that was dead, though he allowed that to the priests; but he permitted him only to marry a virgin, and to retain her. Whence it is that the high priest is not to come near to one that is dead, although the rest are not prohibited from coming near to their brethren, or parents, or children, when they are dead; but they are to be unblemished in all respects. He ordered that the priest who had any blemish, should have his portion indeed among the priests, but he forbade him to ascend the altar, or to enter into the holy house. He also enjoined them, not only to observe purity in their sacred ministrations, but in their daily conversation, that it might be unblamable also. And on this account it is that those who wear the sacerdotal garments are without spot, and eminent for their purity and sobriety: nor are they permitted to drink wine so long as they wear those garments. 2 Moreover, they offer sacrifices that are entire, and have no defect whatsoever.

1 These words of Josephus are remarkable, that the lawgiver of the Jews required of the priests a double degree of parity, in comparison of that required of the people, of which he gives several instances immediately. It was for certain the case also among the first Christians, of the clergy, in comparison of the laity, as the Apostolical Constitutions and Canons every where inform us,

2 We must here note with Reland, that the precept given to the priests of not drinking wine while they wore the sacred garments, is equivalent; to their abstinence from it all the while they ministered in the temple; because they then always, and then only, wore those sacred garments, which were laid up there from one time of ministration to another.

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