Hugh Martin D.D. presents The Atonement: In Its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession of Our Lord as the revealed reality of the actual sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary, and not as an abstract or philosophical theory of the atonement. For Martin the doctrine of the atonement rests on understanding Covenant and Priesthood. In keeping with the theology of John Calvin, Martin lays out a theology of atonement that was prearranged with God the Father to bless those who were to benefit; the ultimate aim being union with Christ.
Originally written in 1882 The Atonement: in its Relations to the Covenant, the Priesthood, the Intercession of Our Lord is ten chapters of thought provoking and simply stated atonement theology. In Martin's own words,
. . . I have attempted to set aloft, in the intelligent and adoring admiration of Christian men, the thorough efficaciousness and boundless glory of the propitiatory sacrifice of Calvary . . . .
Martin's work is unsurpassed as a synthesis of orthodoxy and originality. It sets forth the same doctrine as Hodge, yet the atmosphere is completely different. It scintillates and soars and sets standards of brilliance all its own.
Hugh Martin (1821–1885) was one of the young men training for the ministry of the Church of Scotland who, in 1843, cast in their lot with the Free Church of Scotland. In 1844 he became the first Free Church minister of Panbride where he remained for 14 years, and where his son, Alexander (the future Principal of New College) was born in 1857. In 1858 Hugh Martin became minister of Greyfriars Free Church, Edinburgh. Owing to ill-health, he retired from the pastorate in 1863, but followed an itinerant ministry, at home and abroad, until within a short time of his death. At a time when the Calvinism of the Reformed Church in Scotland was discarded in favor of rationalistic Modernism, he edited The British and Foreign Evangelical Review, and The Watchword, thereby rendering invaluable service to Reformed evangelicalism. But he was a preacher by predilection, and a controversialist by constraint of circumstances.