In connection with what has been said in relation to this interesting trait in the Savior, we may remark here, that nature teaches us, or rather the God of nature, that increased and special love, other things being equal, may properly flow in the channel of the domestic affections. And also that it is entirely consistent with holiness, and not only consistent but a duty, to exercise special love towards those, whether we are naturally related to them or not, with whom we are intimately connected in life, and whose characters are truly lovely.
As Christians, therefore, as those who have experienced or who aim at experiencing the sanctifying graces of the Spirit, we may regard ourselves as permitted, both on natural principles and in imitation of the Savior, to form such personal friendships and attachments as the Providence of God may favor and his holiness approve. Intimacies and friendships, formed on purely worldly principles, have no religious value, and are often positively evil. It is important, therefore, to remember, that all such friendships should be entirely subordinated, as they were in the case of the Savior, to the will of our heavenly Father. If, through the influence of the life of nature, they become inordinate, they are no better than any other idols. It is certain there is much in them that is amiable and pleasant, that they are authorized by the example of the Savior, and that they seem to be even necessary in our present situation; but like every thing else they must receive the signature of the divine approbation, and must be sustained or abandoned at the call of religious duty.
— edited from The Interior or Hidden Life (1844) Part 2, Chapter 13.