Martin, Hugh. The Atonement in its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession of our Lord. Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2013. 236 pp. $26.00 Purchase at Amazon and Kindle or at Westminster for less.
Hugh Martin (1822 – 1885) was called “one of the most outstanding men in that ‘galaxy of gifted and devoted ministers of the gospel’ in Scotland during the second half of the nineteenth century.” As with his other writings, he is deep theologically and long on practical application for today’s saints.
Each of the 10 chapters in this tome consist of various aspects and perspectives of the atonement of Christ. The first chapter looks at the atonement in the context of the covenant of grace. The second chapter offers a look at federal theology. He spends two chapters dealing with the important topic of Christ’s atonement and His intercession. The final chapter offers a look at the “distinctive peculiarity of moral law” in the context of Christ’s atonement.
Sometimes you come across a book that is extremely difficult to read though you know that if you read it you will be the better for persevering. The Atonement by Hugh Martin is one such book. Sadly, we do not see many books written or published today that attempt to do what Martin’s did.
At only 236 pages and 10 chapters, this work is both deep and accessible – if one perseveres. To read this book is to introduce to the reader many aspects of Christ’s atonement that are not discussed very often today. This work offers a smorgasbord of topics showing the tip of the iceberg to our understanding of the extent of the atonement of Jesus Christ as well as how much it impacts the life of every Christian. Many have talked of Christ as Prophet, Priest, and King, but few have sought to explore the depths of His fulfillment of these offices in His act of atoning.
Each chapter offers an excellent starting point to further research the topic. This work is meant to be read cover to cover but also serves as a resource book as each chapter can be read independent of the others (except the two chapters on atonement and intercession). This work is not easy to read, but then again, an extensive work on the atonement of Jesus Christ should not be an “easy read.”
On the one hand, this book is not the first place one should begin when wanting to read on the atonement of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, I cannot think of any other treatment of the subject that is more in depth than The Atonement by Hugh Martin. I do recommend this to all Christians with the caveat that you read with an open Bible and a theological dictionary as there are many subjects that are not discussed in many of today’s churches to our great detriment. May reading this work rectify that deficiency.