He said unto them, have ye received the Holy Ghost
Meaning, not the special regenerating and sanctifying grace of the Holy Ghost, for that is supposed in their being disciples and believers, but the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, for it follows,
since ye believed?
that is, in Christ; which is taking it for granted, that they had received the special grace of the Spirit of God; for this believing is to be understood of true, spiritual, special faith in Christ:
and they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there
be any Holy Ghost;
by which they could not mean the person of the Holy Ghost: for they must have known that there was such a divine person as the Holy Ghost, from the writings of the Old Testament, with which they were conversant: and from the ministry of John, into whose baptism they were baptized; who saw the Spirit of God descend on Jesus, and bore witness of it; and declared, that Christ who was to come after him, would baptize with the Holy Ghost: nor could they mean the special grace of the Spirit, which they themselves had received; but the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit of God, which they at present knew nothing of, and which were afterwards bestowed upon them: they knew that there were prophecies in the Old Testament, concerning the effusion of the Spirit in the last days, in the days of the Messiah; but they had not heard that these had had their accomplishment; they had heard nothing of the day of Pentecost, and of the pouring out of the Spirit upon the apostles then, nor of any instance of this kind since; they did not know that the Holy Ghost was yet, ( John 7:39 ) they knew he was promised, but not that he was given; the Ethiopic version, to avoid the difficulty of the text, renders it, "we have only heard that there was an Holy Ghost".