Her Hebrew motto[1] in her closet for many years was


i.e. Thou LORD seest me,[2] plainly intimating her awful adoration of God’s omniscience, and that her eye of faith should be always upon him; and that she would ever act under the influence of that persuasion that God was present, whether in reading, praying, meditating, examining or recording the solemn transactions that passed betwixt him and her soul[3] in that closet.[4]

She always had this before her, that as oft as she entered in, and as long as she continued there, and in every duty she performed, it might be a memorial that every sin and folly and instance of her departure from God was perfectly known to him; and every penitent confession, tear and groan was in his sight and under the hearing of an omnipresent God; and every prayer and purpose and vow and solemn obligation made and renewed and ratified there was sacred and awful, as under the eye and notice of an all-seeing and heart-searching God. And this she often found had greatly restrained her from sin and excited her to duty, and disposed her for comfortable communion with God, and kept her heart from trifling in her closet.

[1] The characters are a facsimile from the second and third editions, 1721.

[2] Genesis 16:13 And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?

[3]Cf. Joseph Alleine, Alarme to Unconverted Sinners: ‘This covenant I advise you to make…Keep it as a memorial of the solemn transactions that have passed between God and you.’

[4] Matthew Henry’s sister Sarah was aware of Elizabeth Bury’s closet motto, for on February 4, 1727 she writes, ‘I read a sermon of my dear father’s concerning the last judgment. Many things in it very awful; but that which, especially, affected me was this, “Things done in the closet shall be proclaimed”. This should excite me to seriousness. The motto good Mrs Bury had written in her closet was – Thou God seest me. I praise my God that this thought yields me some comfort. My dear and kind heavenly Father sees some secret transactions between him and me, which I trust he will accept only, only for Christ’s sake’ – Diary of Mrs Sarah Savage (1664–1752).

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