Christmas Evans … there was in this eminent preacher a strong tendency to light humour. He often sent his audience into convulsions of laughter, which bordered at times on indecorum in the house of God. It is a question of interest how far this is allowable in the pulpit. There is a quiet kind of humour which is perfectly becoming with the sublimest and loftiest themes. But the droll and the laughable are certainly unbecoming, and unworthy the dignity of the high message of God to man. John Elias never was known to say anything with such a tendency in the pulpit, and he condemned it severely. Henry Rees was the same. Daniel Rowlands and Robert Roberts, Clynnog, never descended to anything bordering on the comic before the congregation. Williams, of Wern, was somewhat inclined to it in the first year of his ministry, but soon abandoned it for ever. John Jones, Talsarn, gave reins to his humour at times when preaching. But Christmas Evans did so more than any other. It is possible that Christmas Evans had a greater natural tendency to this, arising from a keener sense of the ludicrous; and that it required a greater solemnity and a greater insight into the purposes of God in order to hold it in check. We believe that this was the case with him. When God is present there is nothing more discordant than frivolity of whatever degree. They repel each other. Think of the great sermons of the New Testament; the atmosphere around them is so fine and attenuated that these cannot exist therein. …
John Elias was wanting in humour. At least, we have been able to see in him but few traces of that noble quality. His mind was altogether bent to the solemn aspects of truth; his eyes were turned to the stern realities of the other world; with difficulty could he turn his eyes to the imperfections of this earth. He was like another John the Baptist, who had spent his time in the wilderness without having seen much of the beauty of nature. He was as if he had spent much of his life on the rugged sides of Snowdon, or under the overhanging rocks of Eryri; as if he had been cradled and nurtured on the slopes of the everlasting mountains, without ever having seen the lovely glens and valleys, the green fields and the lilies. But, if he had not seen these, he had seen the great ocean, and delighted to look at the mighty billows that wash the feet of these everlasting mountains; and he often left the rugged slopes for the level shore and the loud sounding sea. It was the great and grand, the awful and sublime, that he made his home with; the pleasant, the delightful, and the lovely he had no eye for. His house was built on the rocks of law, justice, and eternity, in sight of the ocean of everlasting love. But, if he did not delight his hearers with his humour, &c., he brought into their bosoms joy unspeakable and the peace of God, which passeth all understanding. There was abundantly more of the pleasant and delightful in Christmas Evans and Williams Wern; and they were greatly his superior in the possession of the quality of humour.
In 1814 Henry Rees visited Bala to seek the Geiriadur Ysgrythyrol from Thomas Charles. Who should be in Thomas Charles's house at that time but John Elias. This was the only occasion on which these three great leaders of Calvinistic Methodism met.