Faith… has, doubtless, its use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished. But I wish it were more productive of good works than I have generally seen it, I mean real good works -- works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit; not holiday keeping, sermon reading or hearing, performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments, despised even by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The worship of God is a duty; the hearing and reading of sermons may be useful; but if men rest in hearing and praying, as too many do, it is as if a tree should value itself on being watered and putting forth leaves, though it never produced any fruit. Your great master thought much less of these outward appearances and professions than many of his modern disciples. He preferred the doers of the word to the mere hearers;… those who gave food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, raiment to the naked, entertainment to the stranger, and relief to the sick.
--Benjamin Franklin, Letters, Philadelphia, June 6, 1753