The maxim that I quoted on the homepage, “Principle is not limited by Precedent,” is taken from Judge Troward’s book The Law and the Word (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1917), p. 82. Immediately after stating the maxim, Troward goes on to write,
When we spread the wings of thought and speculate as to future possibilities, our conventionally-minded friends may say we are talking bosh; but if you ask them why they say so, they can only reply that the past experience of the whole human race is against you. They do not speak like this in the matter of flying-machines or carriages that go without horses; they say these are scientific discoveries. But when it comes to the possibilities of our own souls, they at once set a limit to the expansion of ideas, and do not see that the scientific principle of discovery is not confined to laboratory experiments. Therefore, we must not let ourselves be discouraged by such arguments. If our friends doubt our sanity, let them doubt it. The sanity of such men as Galileo and George Stephenson was doubted by their contemporaries, so we are in good company. At the same time we must not neglect to look after our own sanity. We must know some intelligible reason for our conclusions, and realize that however unexpected, they are the logical carrying out of principles which we can recognize in the Creation around us.
Ibid., pp. 82-83. Along similar lines, Troward also writes,
[T]he old ship-builders thought that ships were bound to be built of wood and not of iron, because wood floats in water and iron sinks; but now nearly all ships are made of iron. Yet the specific gravities of wood and iron have not altered, and a log of wood floats while a lump of iron sinks, just the same as they did in the days of Drake and Frobisher. The only difference is, that people thought out the underlying principle of the law of flotation, and reduced it to the generalized statement that anything will float, the weight of which is less than that of the mass displaced by it, whether it be an iron ship floating in water, or a balloon floating in air. So long as we restrict ourselves to the mere recollection of observed facts, we shall make no progress; but by carefully considering why any force acted in the way it did, under the particular conditions observed, we arrive at a generalization of principle, showing that the force in question is capable of hitherto unexpected applications if we provide the necessary conditions. This is the way in which all advances have been made on the material side, and on the principle of Continuity we may reasonably infer that the same applies to the spiritual side also.
We may generalize the whole position thus. When we first observe the working of the Law under the conditions spontaneously provided by Nature, it appears to limit us; but by seeking the reason of the action exhibited under these limited conditions, we discover the principle, and true nature, of the Law in question, and we then learn from the Law itself, what conditions to supply in order to give it more extended scope, and direct its energy to the accomplishment of definite purposes. The maxim we have to learn is that “Every Law contains in itself the principle of its own Expansion,” which will set us free from the limitation which that Law at first appeared to impose upon us. The limitation was never in the Law, but in the conditions under which it was working, and our power of selection and volition enables us to provide new conditions, not spontaneously provided by Nature, and thus to specialize the Law, and disclose immense powers which had always been latent in it, but which would for ever remain hidden unless brought to light by the co-operation of the Personal Factor. The Law itself never changes, but we can specialize it by realizing the principle involved and providing the conditions thus indicated. This is our place in the Order of the Universe. We give definite direction to the action of the Law, and in this way our Personal Factor is always acting upon the Law, whether we know it or not; and the Law, under the influence thus impressed upon it, is all the time re-acting upon us.
Ibid., pp. 66-68; the italics are Troward’s.