The movement, in the actual origination of which he had had no share, came to bear his name: it was popularly known as Puseyism and its adherents as Puseyites. His activity, both public and private, as leader of the movement was enormous. He was not only on the stage but also behind the scenes of every important controversy, whether theological or academic. In the Gorham controversy of 1850, in the question of Oxford reform in 1854, in the prosecution of some of the writers of Essays and Reviews, especially of Benjamin Jowett, in 1863, in the question as to the reform of the marriage laws from 1849 to the end of his life, in the Farrar controversy as to the meaning of everlasting punishment in 1877, he was always busy with articles, letters, treatises and sermons.
The occasions on which, in his turn, he preached before his university were all memorable; and some of the sermons were manifestoes which mark distinct stages in the history of the High Church party of which he was the leader. The practice of confession in the Church of England practically dates from his two sermons on The Entire Absolution of the Penitent, in 1846, in which the revival of high sacramental doctrine is complemented by the advocacy of a revival of the penitential system which medieval theologians had appended to it. The sermon on The Presence of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, in 1853, first formulated the doctrine round which almost all the subsequent theology of his followers revolved, and which revolutionized the practices of Anglican worship. Of his larger works the most important are his two books on the Eucharist—The Doctrine of the Real Presence (1855) and The Real Presence the Doctrine of the English Church (1857); Daniel the Prophet in which he endeavours to maintain the traditional date of that book; The Minor Prophets, with Commentary, his chief contribution to the study of which he was the professor; and the Eirenicon, in which he endeavoured to find a basis of union between the Church of England and the Church of Rome.