Death is often thought of as the inescapable terminus of life—something which, in the end, overpowers and conquers us. But in Christian theology, the death of Christ has central significance for our salvation. Christ died victoriously, conquering death and triumphing over his and our enemies. His death is our life.
This glorious truth occupied a large place in the thinking of Scottish theologian Hugh Martin (1822–85). Martin is best known for his mind-stretching books such as The Atonementand The Shadow of Calvary, and for his insightful character study of Simon Peter. But there exists a significant corpus of largely forgotten shorter writings from his pen which major on the significance of the cross of Christ.
This volume brings together a number of Martin’s sermons, essays and letters, many of which have not been published since the nineteenth century. Like his other titles, the pieces selected for this volume reveal an important theological thinker, one who is well able to guide his readers through various aspects of Christ’s atoning work. Yet Martin also writes with the heart of a pastor: his goal is always to lead his readers to a greater understanding of the truth, to a more complete trust in the Saviour, and to a more sincere worship of God.
The contents of this book demonstrate the veracity of the late Professor John Murray’s assessment of Martin , that ‘his writings exhibit an unexcelled warmth and fervour. No one could scale greater heights of sanctified eloquence.’
Our blessed Lord was not brought to death by him that had the power of death. Vanquishing and overthrowing Satan’s power, he went voluntarily to death. Christ did not meet death passively—with any one overpoweringly pressing death upon him as a doom which he could not evade—exercising over him the power of death. But he met death voluntarily, actively, by his own positive deed. This great truth has of late almost lapsed out of our theology, insomuch that not a few are quite conscious of the feeling of novelty and astonishment when it is vigorously put before their minds… All Gospel divine dealings with your soul for its salvation point first of all, and last of all, and throughout all, to Christ and him crucified. He deals with you, chiefest of all, exactly anent his crucifixion and his death. He will have you meet him and strike hands with him exactly here—at his Cross—or not at all.
Hugh Martin (1822-85) combined a brilliant analytical and mathematical mind with a child-like heart which rested in Christ and his atoning work, as revealed in the Scriptures. Born and brought up in Aberdeen, he gained the top prizes in mathematics at the University there, before going on to study for the ministry. He cast in his lot with those who left the Established Church at the Disruption and served at Panbride (Carnoustie) and Free Greyfriars, Edinburgh, until illness forced his retirement from the ministry at the age of 42.
"Hugh Martin’s writings should be in the hands of every Christian — and certainly of every preacher — who appreciates the importance of thoughtful biblical exposition. His penetration into the theology and internal logic of the gospel is virtually unrivalled today. This new selection of his sermons, essays and letters will stimulate a fresh appreciation of the wonder of the gospel. But, in addition, it will encourage and challenge a new generation of preachers to engage in deeper and richer biblical-theological exposition. Christ Victorious is a treasure-trove that, once discovered, will bring lasting enrichment." —Sinclair B. Ferguson